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

Crane # 307

Date Hatched




Date Arrived in Wisconsin


Permanent Leg Bands
R/W/G (left)
  • 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: Wimpy and small and often cries to the puppet. "Follows and begs right next to you, nonstop." Clingy. This bird loves to investigate and peck at the aircraft and will not leave it alone. Often appears as if he plans on jumping in the pilot's seat. VERY curious! 6/23: Handlers watched him find a garter snake, then shake it until it was dead. Crane #311 then swiped the snake and swallowed it whole! Wasn't yet a strong flyer at beginning of August. Reminds Brian of Crane #9 from the 2002 flock.
First Migration South: Flew all but 33.1 miles
History: Last of the 2003 chicks to attain adult voice.
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 into 3 groups. Cranes #307, #302 and #311 --each now traveling solo--were located by radio signals April 9 in Georgia after each gained about another 100 miles. On April 10, #307 left the roost in Henry County, Georgia, at 9:29a.m. and was not tracked for several days. On April 16, several visual sightings of #307 in flight were made. On June 2 he arrived at Necedah NWR, HOME to roost!

Fall 2004: He departed Necedah NWR on migration, and guided the now-feathered youngster #418 along with him! The two landed to roost in west-central Indiana the first day out. Unfortunately, #307 took off again and flew about 60 miles farther, leaving untrained #418 behind. On Nov. 10, #307 roosted just shy of the southeast coast of Georgia in McIntosh County. He was found in Chatham County, Georgia, on Nov. 14-15th. By Nov. 17th, he had moved to Beaufort County, South Carolina. He remained in marsh and a harvested cornfields in southeast South Carolina, just north of the Georgia State line, through at least Feb. 7, 2005.
Spring 2005: On April 4 he spent time in Monroe County, WI and completed migration to Necedah NWR that evening. Later in the week he moved to an area south of Necedah NWR where he spent time in 2004, but returned to Necedah NWR in April. He apparently joined #303 (nonfunctional transmitter) on 17 April and both birds were later found near Paul J. Olson SWA, Portage and Wood Counties, where they stayed for several days. He was last seen August 4 on Necedah NWR with #402, 403, 412, 416 and 417. (He cannot be tracked because his transmitter no longer works.) He was seen often in summer and fall on Necedah NWR.

Fall 2005: Began migration November 17. Arrived at Jasper-Pulaski SWA, northwestern Indiana, in late afternoon. He was next reported on Nov. 29, alone in Jackson County, Alabama. He was still there in mid December. He did not reappear on his previous wintering site in Beaufort County, South Carolina.

Spring 2006: Has not been detected since Dec. 2 in Alabama. Arrived safely in WI.

Fall 2006: Began migration from Wisconsin's Necedah NWR on 9 November 9 along with #510, #511, #512 and #519. They made it to northern Illinois that night. No further reports
until January 2, when they were found in Levy County, FL!

Spring 2007: Departed Alachua County, FL on March 8. Back on the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin by March 12! Seen on March 26 unison calling and doing territorial behavior with #102. By April 5 he and W1-06 remained together and were no longer hanging out with several other whooping cranes there.

Fall 2007: Began migration from Wisconsin on November 21 along with 402, 412, 511, 514, and W601 (the flock's only wild-hatched chick so far). Last recorded with 402, 412, 511, 514 and W601 at a migration stop in northeastern Georgia on 30 November 30. He had separated from all of these cranes by Dec. 10 and wasn't recorded again until March in Minnesota (see below).

Male #307 trying to dance with W601.
Photo Sara Zimorski

Spring 2008: Male #307 (with #512) was confirmed back in Wisconsin at Necedah NWR on March 23. Before that, he and #512 were reported together in Houston County, Minnesota, on March 14 and 15! Both birds may have wintered together at an undetermined location in Florida. In early April, Sara Zimorski said, "We were excited to see 307 and female W601 hanging out together and hope they may become a pair." It did happen, but it didn't last, and #307 actually displaced #101 from his long-held territory on the refuge.

Fall 2008: Left Wisconsin on Nov. 17 in a large group of whooping cranes and migrated successfully to Alachua County, Florida by Dec. 31. His unofficial mate, female #721, migrated with him, but she was found dead in Putnam County, Florida on January 3, 2009. When #307 was no longer in the same location as #721, trackers began to suspect something was wrong. Eva Szyszkoski said that data from outside observers indicates that #307 may have stuck around for a few days after #721's death, and then moved west to Alachua County, Florida, where he was with #511, 512, 514, 716, 724, 408, 519, 10-08 (formerly 810) and DAR 37-08.

Spring 2009: Cranes #307, 408, and 514 began migration from Alachua County, Florida, on March 5 or 6. Reported in Greene County, Indiana during March 9-15. He was reported back at Necedah NWR in Wisconsin by March 19. Sara Zimorski reports, "Apparently #307 has been trying (and may have succeeded) to steal W601 away from #310. Last year #307 and W601 were hanging out together before #310 came along so we'll see what happens." It didn't last, but male #307 paired up with female #726 and remained in the core area all summer. The new pair staked out the pen site of one of the ultralight chick cohorts as their territory. They were very aggressive about it, especially at evening roost-check time.

Fall 2009: By December 7, all but 11 Whooping Cranes were gone from the new Eastern flock's summer home in Wisconsin. Those 11 included pair #307 and 726, two single males (#506 and #713) and seven of this year's nine DAR chicks. They surprised experts when they chose to begin migration on a very snowy December 11, after being content to roost on ice and standing in the brisk winter wind for the previous week. That day they reached Winnebago County, Illinois! The birds had moved on by the time trackers got there the next day. Eva said, "When we finally got a reading, we were all surprised to see that they had flown east of Indianapolis, Indiana, 240 miles southeast of their last location and right on track with the main migration route for Sandhill Cranes. I arrived at the location and heard all 11 signals coming from the same area. But I could not see them since it was dark outside." The next morning they made a couple of local movements before traveling only 50 miles to the Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge, near the Indiana/Kentucky Border. In the first three days of migration, which was the first-ever migration for the seven chicks, they flew a total of 430 miles! Pair 307 and 726 safely reached their winter home in Alachua County, Florida.

Photos Eva SzyszKoski, ICF

Spring 2010: Present (with #726) at Alachua County, Fl area on February 28 but no longer there by March 4. They were reported back on Necedah NWR by March 22.

Fall 2010: Pair #307 and #726 apparently began migration from Necedah NWR on November 23. They were next found during an aerial survey on 13 December 13 on their previous wintering territory in Alachua County, Florida.

Spring 2011: Pair #307 and #726 (7-03/26-07) were on their winter territory when checked on March 1, but they apparently began migration on/by March 8. They had arrived at their territory on Necedah NWR by March 25. These first-time nesters were incubating on April 10 but their first nest failed on May 4.

Sad news came in July: The carcass of male #307 was discovered and collected from his summering territory on Necedah NWR on July 21.

Last updated: 7/28/11

Back to "Meet the Flock 2003"

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