Photo: Operation Migration
Meet the New 2003 Whooping Crane Chicks!
Hatch-year 2003 of the Eastern Flock

Crane # 304

Date Hatched




Date Arrived in Wisconsin


Permanent Leg Bands
R/W (left)
G/R  (right) 
  • Read about the naming system, birth place in Maryland, release site in Wisconsin, over-wintering site in Florida and leg-band codes.

Personality and History

Personality Characteristics: Average bird with no bad habits. Sara says it is the MOST IMPROVED bird and seems to have recovered from initial shyness. This is the bird that often stands outside the pen while the others chase after the aircraft. Then it seems to realize it can’t get back inside the pen so it flies after them and joins the training.
First Migration South: Flew every mile!
History: Attained adult voice end of March 2004.
Spring 2004:
Left Chassahowitzka together with the other 7 remaining chicks on April 7 at 9:10 a.m. They flew until rain stopped them, landing in Jefferson Cty., FL at 3:35 where they roosted that night. Took off April 8 in the group of 8 but a thunderstorm separated the cranes. #304, 306 and 317 stayed together, but flying southward. They landed in a north Florida wetland at 4:40 p.m. Cranes #304, 306 & 317 were detected inflight in northwestern Georgia or northeastern Alabama in late afternoon April 10 and in central IL on April 16. On April 17, #304, 306 and 317 were airborne at 9:40 a.m. Flying for almost 11 hours and well after darkness fell, they landed in southeast Minnesota, approximately 65 miles southwest of the Necedah NWR reintroduction site. They stayed in that MN location until April 23 and wandered until staying in LaCrosse County, WI. Crane #304 arrived at Necedah May 15, officially completing his migration.
Fall 2004: Left Necedah NWR on Nov. 5 with #311 and flew to Kankakee Cty., IL. Still together, 304 and 311 arrived late Nov. 10 in Washington County, Georgia.  On Nov. 18, they were found in Glynn County, Georgia. Verified near McIntosh, Liberty County, GA on November 24th. Next located on Dec. 18 during an aerial-radio search in an area about 14 miles south of crane #317 in Colleton County, SC. Remained there in a Wildlife Management area with #311. Spring 2005: Not at the roost site on March 30. May have begun migration with #311. Cranes #311 and #304 joined with chick #412 over Indiana on April 6th! They were tracked into WI, where they were in Sauk County on April 7--migration complete. He was on the refuge all summer, was seen quite frequently and acted totally normal till he was found dead on October 27, 2005, with no outward trauma signs. A necropsy is being performed at the National Wildlife Health Center at the University of Wisconsin (Madison) to determine the cause of death.

Last updated: 11/14/06

Back to "Meet the Flock 2003"

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