Sara, Eva, Colleen and Anna Report: Another Exciting Week!
April 18, 2008
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Dear Journey North,
We have more new arrivals in Wisconsin: Crane #509 (April 15) and the UL (ultralight-led) group of 716, 717, 721, 724, and 726 (April 16).

  • On April 15, crane #706, 712, and 713 arrived in Waukesha County, WI. But now they're lost, perhaps in Michigan.
  • PTT data for DAR 39-07, 44-07, and 46-07 indicate they finally moved again and ended up in Michigan. We're trying to find out if the group's other two DAR birds and #524 (see Sara's story) went with them or stayed behind. Stay tuned.
  • Everyone is still listening for #733's arrival, but his signal has not been heard since April 8 near rainy Chicago.
  • Cranes #707, 710 and 722 are in McHenry County, Illinois, and getting close!
  • Traveling alone and often in difficult weather conditions, #727 remains in Sullivan County, Indiana this week and Anna tells her story.
  • Male #703 is a solo traveler, too, and Eva tracked him to Montgomery County, IN on April 15. He continued to move April 16, says Eva. "However, I lost his signal in the Chicago area (I believe he was mostly past it and to the east) as I was beginning hour number 4 of searching."

The most exciting news at Necedah NWR is SIX nests, the most number of pairs on nests in a given year:

2005: 2 pairs incubated
2006: 5 pairs incubated
2007: 4 pairs incubated
2008: 6 pairs so far, and more possibilities!

Colleen explains, "Spring is a crazy time of year for Whooping Cranes. Many of the adult pairs are building nests and starting to incubate their eggs. And the single adults are moving around a lot, looking for a good place to spend the summer and maybe find a friend or two. I’ve driven to many places on and off the refuge to confirm which birds are back. Since we can’t use signals to detect the birds with non-functional transmitters, it’s important for us to see them so we know who is back and which birds are together. For example, "
On April 8, I was listening to #312 signal, hoping to see her and, especially, her mate, #311. He has a non-functional transmitter. As I was driving along the road, I saw what looked like a Whooping Crane, and then a second one. I took out my binoculars, and sure enough, they were two Whooping Cranes. Then I used my spotting scope to look at the leg bands. I was very excited to confirm #311 and #312 and to see that they were still together and safely back at Necedah."

Sara Zimorski, Aviculturalist
Eva Szyszkoski, Tracking Intern
Anna Fasoli, Tracking Crew Chief
Colleen Wisinski


Cranes #311 and #312 may become a pair!

Photo Colleen Wisinski, ICF