Wandering, Nesting

Whooping crane uses her bill to turn an egg in her nest.

This female is turning an egg in the nest that she and her mate are incubating.
Klaus Nigge

April 25, 2016

Young cranes wander, and the four young aircraft-led flock mates are in Marquette County, WI. Female #1-15 is hanging out in Columbia County, WI., and #2-15 is still in Door County, WI.

It's important for young whoopers to spend summer in the core release area so they can find and pair up with other Whooping cranes when they are old enough to raise babies.

Every egg is precious to this endangered species. Several adult pairs in the eastern migratory flock (EMP) had nests with eggs, but in last week's warm weather the staff at Necedah NWR were busy collecting eggs from abandoned Whooping crane nests.

Hot weather brings hatches of biting Black Flies, and torment adult cranes right off their nests. All nests were abandoned except for one, the nest of female #13-03 and male #9-05, who have been a nesting pair since spring 2011. Many of the other pairs could re-nest and hatch baby cranes.

Sixteen eggs were rescued and transported to incubators at the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, WI. Any babies that hatch will be used for release in the EMP come fall.

Meanwhile, wild cranes in the main Flock just reaching Canada's far north are about to nest, too.

See why crane parents have much to do during nesting season and the short northern summer: