Meet the New 2002 Whooping Crane Chicks!
Hatch-year 2002 of the Eastern Flock

Crane # 208

Date Hatched

May 2 , 2002



Permanent Leg Bands

  • Read about the naming system, hatch place in Maryland, release site in Wisconsin, over-wintering site in Florida, and leg-band codes.
Crane #208 with PTT on his right leg and radio transmitter on the left leg (red/white).
Photo Sara Zimorski

Personality and History

Personality Characteristics: Large male, very spunky, with two little pink bald spots on his head. He was the most dominant bird in Cohort 1, the first group of chicks to arrive at Necedah for 2002 training.


Fall 2002: Successfully completed migration with the ultralight Class of 2002. During the first winter in Florida, aviculturalist Lara said, "He wants to be dominant. He acts tough toward the costume, often challenging and threatening us when we go in the pen, but is very often displaced by birds in the flock." Bullied by Yearling Crane #105 during the winter of 2002-03.

Spring 2003: Left Florida in the group of 15 (including one 2001 bird) and arrived home in Wisconsin April 13. He spent part of the summer in the southwest area of Wisconsin along with #205, and apparently chose to stay there even when #205 returned to the Refuge.

Fall 2003: Began migration on Nov. 13 with six flock mates and #102. This group of eight arrived at the Florida pen site at Chassahowitzka NWR on November 21, 2003. During their entire journey south, the group stayed together and was never seen migrating with sandhill cranes. This group moved to Pasco County shortly after arriving in FL. Five of them, including #208, split from the group and moved to the same area of Pasco County that #101 and #102 occupied in winter 2002.

Spring 2004: Left on spring migration around March 13, together with #101, 102, 205, 216, and 217. PTT readings indicated the group roosted in SW Indiana on March 22, but moved to DeKalb County, Illinois March 23. The group arrived back at Necedah NWR on April 1, 2004.

Fall 2004: The pair #102 and #208 began migration from Necedah NWR on Dec. 1. Checked and confirmed in Illinois on Dec. 14. Detected in flight just east of Decatur, Alabama on the afternoon of Dec. 23. They arrived at the Florida winter pen site on the afternoon of Dec. 30 and later moved on to other territory.

Spring 2005: #208 and #102 departed on migration from Pasco County, Florida on March 19 and were back at Necedah on March 31! He often intruded on the territory of pair #101 and #202 and was chased off by #101. He was seen several times with #313 during the summer. In the fall, #208 often aggravated and challenged #101 on #101's territory.

Fall 2005: #208 began migration November 17 with #101 and #202. They roosted on a pond in Will County, Illinois. The group continued Nov. 18 and stoped near Indianapolis, Indiana. On Dec. 22, #208 arrived at the Chassahowitzka NWR pen site in Florida . He left the next day for a cattle ranch in Pasco County, FL. where several other whoopers and many sandhill cranes spent the winter.

Spring 2006: Crane #208 (together with #212 and #102) began migration from Pasco County, Florida on February 28. He was with the pair in Greene County, Indiana, March 7-12. He arrived back at Wisconsin's Necedah NWR March 18 or 19.

Fall 2006: Crane #208 and his mate (#313) were among the last Whooping Cranes to leave Wisconsin's Necedah NWR in November. Since Dec. 4 the pair had been at a migration stopover in Indiana. On Dec. 23, #208 was discovered (still alive but in shock (PHOTOS) under a power line there. He was retrieved and transported to the Indianapolis Zoo hospital for intensive care. An injury to his right leg later became apparent. The facilities were excellent and suitable for maintaining the costume/isolation protocol. He died suddenly on Dec. 27, 2006 following tube feeding. Project biologist Dr. Richard Urbanek said, "#208 was a model bird and was expected to nest this coming spring on his territory on Necedah NWR. " It is a sad loss.

Last updated: 12/18/07

Back to "Meet the Flock 2002"


Journey North is pleased to feature this educational adventure made possible by the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).