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

International Crane Foundation

 

Whooping Crane Eastern Population Update – November 2021

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Two adult Whooping Cranes stand in wetland at Horicon Marsh. Text: Mia Timlin

Whooping Crane pair 38-17 and 63-15 enjoy a sunny fall day at Horicon Marsh in Dodge County, Wisconsin.

Below is the most recent update for the Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes. In the last month, migration has begun! 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 November, there are at least 50 Whooping Cranes in Wisconsin, two in Michigan, six to seven in Illinois, four to five in Kentucky, and seven in Indiana. The remaining birds’ locations have not been confirmed in the last month. Their last known locations (in the past month) are on the map below.

Grey-scale map of the upper Midwest showing the current Whooping Crane locations. Text: Whooping Crane Locations 1 November 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) is still with parents 3-14 and 4-12 in Green Lake County, WI.

W10-21 (U) was last seen with parents 12-03 and 12-05 at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Juneau County, WI, in August. The parents showed up on the wintering grounds without their chick, so we assume W10-21 died sometime in September or October.

W11-21 (M) is still with parents 36-09 and 18-03 at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Juneau County, WI.

W14-21 (M) migrated with parents 25-09 and 2-04 to Hopkins County, KY.

83-21 (M) was found dead in Juneau County, WI, during October (see below).

84-21 (F) is still in Juneau County, WI, associating with Sandhill Cranes and possibly other Whooping Cranes.

85-21 (M) is still at White River Marsh in Green Lake County and is associating with 67-15 and 3-17 and sometimes other Whooping Cranes as well.

2020 Cohort

W3-20 (F) was last seen in Taylor Co, WI, in late May.

W13-20 (M) is still in Dodge Co, WI, sometimes with 74-18 (M), 16-11 (M) and 79-19 (F).

W14-20 (M) was 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 Hopkins Co, KY, and we assume W18-20 is still with her, but we have not been able to confirm.

2019 Cohort

W1-19 (F) is still in Portage Co, WI, with 1-17 (M).

W14-19 (F) was in Juneau Co, WI, at the end of September.

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

79-19 (F) is in Dodge County, WI, with 16-11 (M) and sometimes 74-18 (M) and W13-20 (M).

80-19 (F) is now in Hopkins Co, KY, and we assume W18-20 (F) is still with her although we have not been able to confirm.

Mortality

83-21 (M) was found dead in Juneau County, WI, during October. There were not enough remains to submit for necropsy, but he was found in a marsh that had dried up, so we assume he had been predated.

W10-21 (U) disappeared during September or October, but since no remains were found we do not know what happened. Their parents 12-03 and 12-05 showed up on their wintering grounds in Knox Co, IN, without their chick, so we assume W10-21 died sometime before or during migration.

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