Whooping Crane Eastern Population Update – December 2021 - International Crane Foundation

International Crane Foundation

 

Whooping Crane Eastern Population Update – December 2021

Two Whooping Cranes stand in a flock of Sandhill Cranes in a harvested corn field. Text: Photo by Jim Brown

Two Whooping Cranes feed among a flock of Sandhill Cranes on their wintering grounds in Greene County, Indiana.

Below is the most recent update for the Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes. In the last month, all Whooping Cranes have migrated! A huge thank you to the staff of the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Departments of Natural Resources of flyway states, the International Crane Foundation, and all the volunteers who help us keep track of the cranes throughout the year. We appreciate your contribution to the recovery of the Whooping Crane Eastern Migratory Population. This report is produced by the International Crane Foundation.

Population Estimate

The current estimated population size is 79 (38 F, 38 M, 3 U). Eighteen of these 79 individuals are wild-hatched and the rest are captive-reared. To the best of our knowledge, as of 1 December, there are 5 Whooping Cranes last reported in Wisconsin that have likely migrated but have not yet been detected further south. There are 1-2 possibly still in Michigan, 16 in Illinois, 33 in Indiana, 8 in Kentucky, 1 in Tennessee, 11-12 in Alabama and 1 in Florida. The remaining birds’ locations have not been confirmed in the last month. It is also mid-migration, so some birds still may be on the move and have not yet been detected further south. Their last known locations (in the past month) are on the map below.

Map of the eastern U.S. showing locations of Whooping Cranes. Text: Whooping Crane Locations 1 December 2021, Legend, 2021 Cohort, 2020 Cohort, 2019 Cohort, Adult WHCR, Map by International Crane Foundation

Click here to view our interactive “Where are the Whoopers” map for more details, including bios on each of the cranes.

2021 Cohort

W2-21 (U) and parents 3-14 and 4-12 left Green Lake County, WI, arrived at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge in Alabama.

W11-21 (M) and parents 36-09 and 18-03 left Necedah National Wildlife Refuge and arrived at the wintering grounds in Greene County, IN.

W14-21 (M) is still with parents 25-09 and 2-04 in Hopkins County, KY.

84-21 (F) left Juneau Co, WI, and arrived in Gibson Co, IN, where she is with 4-5 other Whooping Cranes. We believe she migrated with 6-15 and 37-07.

85-21 (M) left White River Marsh with 67-15 and 3-17 and is on his way south, currently in DeKalb Co, IL.

2020 Cohort

W3-20 (F) showed up in Jackson Co, IN, with W14-19 (F) during November, then moved over to Lawrence Co, IL, by the end of the month

W13-20 (M) and 74-18 (M) left Horicon but have not yet been detected further south.

W14-20 (M) was last seen in Juneau Co, WI, at the end of September.

W18-20 (F) was last seen with 80-19 (F) in LaSalle County, IL. 80-19 has moved to Morgan Co, AL, and we assume W18-20 is still with her, but we have not been able to confirm.

2019 Cohort

W1-19 (F) and 1-17 (M) left Portage Co, WI, and showed up in Greene Co, IN.

W14-19 (F) showed up in Jackson Co, IN, with W3-20 (F) then moved over to Lawrence Co, IL.

W19-19 (U) was last seen in Juneau Co, WI, with W10-18 (U) during July.

79-19 (F) and 16-11 (M) left Horicon and arrived in Jasper Co, IN.

80-19 (F) moved to Morgan Co, AL, and we assume W18-20 (F) is still with her although we have not been able to confirm.

Mortality

None known.

Story submitted by Hillary Thompson, North America Program Crane Analyst. Click here to learn more about our work in North America.