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

Crane # 310 (10-03)

Date Hatched




Date Arrived in Wisconsin


Permanent Leg Bands
W/G/R (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: Aggression issues with #311. Separated upon arrival at Necedah so they could socialize through a fence without harming each other. Despite initial aggression problems with #311, the two now hang together and #310 is torn between following the aircraft and staying with #311, who is aloof and standoffish to the costumed handlers. By October, this bird was beating up on everybody, and might be the top bird (or close to top) in the flock. He is always in the training group that's flying without problems turning back or dropping out.
First Migration South: Turned back and landed at Necedah on day 1 of the migration along with 302, 311 and 313. Crated and transported to first stopover. Flew all but about 33.1 miles of the migration, missing a leg (a day's flight) in TN.

Acquired adult voice week in Jan., 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 into 3 groups. #313 and #310 were later found by a pond in a s. Georgia pasture--within 3 miles of the southward migration route! Cranes 310 and 313 were not tracked on Apr. 10 or 11. Next reported in Illinois on April 16 and at a small pond in northwest Iowa on April 17. Arrived at Necedah NWR with #313 on April 19.
Fall 2004: #310 and 313 began migration from Juneau County, WI on Nov 7 and flew to Kankankee Cty., IL. They were next tracked on Nov. 15 in Nelson County, Kentucky where they remained at least through December 5. They were no longer at this site when it was checked on Dec. 15.
Next located with #302 and #313 during an aerial survey by Lara Fondow on January 18, 2005 in a managed wetland in Colleton County, South Carolina.
Spring 2005:
Began migration March 20 together with #302 and #313.
Reported wandering in Michigan with #313 the first half of April. Joe Duff says, "They are far enough south that they could circumnavigate Lake Michigan and make it home, but none of us holds out much hope." They were last detected in flight in southeastern MI from tracking aircraft on the west side of Lake Michigan on 14 April. Finally, the best news of all: the wandering #310 and #313 arrived on Necedah National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) on May 21!Moved from Necedah October 16 to nearby Mill Bluff State Park, often seen with other whooping cranes in the area.
Fall 2005: Began migration on November 21. He was reported several times in Colleton County, South Carolina, where he spent last winter.

Spring 2006: Departed South Carolina March 9. Back at Necedah NWR in Wisconsin by March 31.

Fall 2006: Departed Wisconsin on Nov. 19 (with #402, #403 and #412) and made it that night to NE Illinois. Successfully migrated to his winter territory in Colleton County, South Carolina.

Spring 2007: Left SC winter home on March 9 and arrived on Necedah NWR by 19 March 19. His nonfunctional transmitter was replaced on August 30, 2007.

Fall 2007: Crane #310 and female #501 left Necedah NWR on migration November 22 and made it to Jasper-Pulaski wildlife area in Indiana that day. They continued
into Kentucky on 23 November 23. The next day they migrated through northern Georgia. They were found on their old territory in Colleton County, South Carolina, on November 30.

Spring 2008: Confirmed back at Necedah NWR March 29, 2008 with mate #501. On April 4, their pair bond was broken by DAR #27-06 (DAR male). Crane #310 was determined not to be alone. He displaced #307, who had just paired with W1-06, and now #310 and W1-06 are together on what was #101's territory until #307 and W1-06 drove him away! (Confused? Everyone else is, too — but such antics are normal for a crane's first few years.)

April 9, 2008: Male #310 and wild-born female W1-06 built a nest together. Female W1-06 is too young to lay eggs, but building a nest together signifies a strong bond. They visit cornfields off the refuge, but they always return to the refuge at night. Maybe they'll become parents in another year or two.
Photos Richard Urbanek, ICF
August 2008: Wild-hatched female #W1-06 and ultralight-led male #310 are a pair.
Photo Operation Migraiton

Male 310 and female #W1-06 liked to hang around the training strip as the class of 2008 was learning to fly with the ultralight plane.


Fall 2008: Began migration from Wisconsin on November 17, along with mate W1-06 and 12 other Whooping cranes.They were detected in flight while migrating over Perry County, Indiana, on December 7. The pair arrived on #310's previous wintering area in Colleton County, Georgia on December 17.

Spring 2009: #310 and mate W1=06 left their South Carolina winter territory during March 11-16. They were reported in Fountain County, Indiana, March 18-21. They completed migration to Necedah NWR in Wisconsin March 23. Sara Zimorski reported, "Apparently #307 has been trying (and may
have succeeded) to steal W601 away from #310. Last
year #307 and W1-06 were hanging out together before #310 came along so we'll see what happens." In April #310 and W1-06 built a nest. Nothing happened with it, and the pair remained together in the core area all summer.

Fall 2009: Male #310 and mate W1-06 began migration November 26 along with several other whoopers. These two were located at a previously used stopover on a reclaimed surface mine in Indiana, on November 28 for an extended stay. They were confirmed on their wintering territory in Colleton County, on January 5.

Spring 2010: Pair #310 and W1-06 were no longer detected on their wintering area after March 1. Male 310 was reported back on Necedah NWR on March 22, and W1-06 (later confirmed on March 28) presumably arrived with him. The pair were observed on a nest during an aerial survey on April 5! They ended up with two failed nests this season, but trackers rescued both eggs from nest #1. Both eggs hatched at Patuxent (MD) Wildlife Research Center.

#310 and #W1-06 alarm calling in fall, 2010
Photo Eva Szyszkoski

Fall 2010: Male #310 and female W1-06 began migration on November 20. They were found east of Terre Haute, Indiana on November 24 and stayed there at least through December 11. They were next reported on their usual wintering territory in Colleton County, South Carolina, on January 5.

Spring 2011: Last detected in Colleton County SC on Feb. 19, migrating pair #310 and W1-06 was in Parke County, IN at least through March 16. They completed migration to their territory on Necedah NWR, by March 25. By April 8 the pair was incubating on a nest and a chick was announced on May 9! Sadly, the chick went missing after a few days and may have been taken by a predator. The pair did not attempt a second nest this summer.

Fall 2011: #310 and W1-06 wintered in Clay and Vigo Counties, Indiana.

Spring 2012: ICF tracker Eva did not hear #310's signal when she heard the signal of his mate, W1-06, in flight over ICF in Baraboo, Wisconsin on March 15. She was concerned, especially when his mate W1-06 was seen on Necedah NWR in active flight with another female. It was a surprise and a big relief when #310 showed up on March 17; no one knows where he had been and why he wasn't with his mate. The pair had a nest together as of April 14! On the April 26 survey flight, they were off the nest and it appeared from photos that the nest was empty and had failed. No chicks for this pair in summer 2012.

Fall 2012: ICF tracker Eva detected Crane #3-10 (10-03) and mate W1-06 (#W601) at a migration stopover location in Vigo Co, Indiana on November 1.

Spring 2013:#3-10 (10-03) and mate W1-06 (#W601) completed spring migration March 30. By late April or early May they were reported nesting, but the nest soon failed and they did not attempt another nest this summer.

Fall 2013: ICF tracker Eva reported that two cranes, very likely #10-03 and mate #W1-06, were reported in Clay County, Indiana on November 16. They continued migration next from Vigo County, Indiana to Meigs County, Tennessee and arrived at a previous wintering location in Colleton County, South Carolina in early January.

Spring 2014: Pair #10-03 and W1-06 were last observed on their wintering territory in the ACE Basin of South Carolina on 21 February and had returned to Necedah NWR by March 31. However, everything changed after the return. Female W1-06 paired with a new mate, #1-10, while male #10-03 paired with #34-09 (1-10's former mate).

Fall 2014: ICF tracker Eva took this photo of #10-03's September 16 capture for transmitter replacement. It was a chance for biologists to perform a brief health exam, including checking the condition of the wing feathers. "This helps us get a better understanding if the bird has recently molted or not," explains Eva. "Birds with clean, intact feathers may have molted that year while birds with ratty, dirty feathers probably have not. Whooping cranes do a complete molt every 2-3 years, meaning that they lose all their flight feathers all at once. This is a dangerous time for them since they are completely flightless for about 6 weeks. They need to be in an area with stable water conditions so they can remain safe from predators."

Some birds also have abnormal bumps or leg thickenings due to the healing process from a previous injury." Captures help us keep records of these abnormalities and we are able to monitor them over time," explains Eva.

Unfortunately, crane #10-03 did not live to migrate this fall. His heavily scavenged remains were collected on his summering territory on Necedah NWR on October 24, 2014. The photos are now part of important health records kept over time by the WCEP experts.


#310's leg shows a thickening or bump

Last updated: 11/07/14

Back to "Meet the Flock 2003"



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