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

Crane # 316 (16-03)

Date Hatched




Date Arrived in Wisconsin


Permanent Leg Bands
R/G/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: Originally a bit aggressive toward the others. Separated upon release at West site training area to avoid issues. Able to socialize through fence until aggressive tendencies subsided. All of the birds from cohort three are going through their independent stage and often ignore the aircraft and handlers. #316 is among the worst. At times reluctant to come out of pen for training, but he follows well once out of the pen. Got a cut on his foot and had to be kept out of water for a time due to infection. The cut healed well with medicine.
Migration South: Flew all but 33.1 miles (TN).

Attained adult voice in Jan., 2004.
Spring 2004:
Began first migration north at 9:33 a.m. March 30, 2004 in a group of eight 2003 flock mates (301, 303, 305, 309, 312, 316, 318, 319). On April 9 the group separated south of Celina, Ohio. Birds 303, 312 & 316 retreated eastward, toward the location they had just left. On April 11 Cranes 303, 312 & 316 were observed feeding in a cornfield in west-central Ohio. They remained until April 24, when the three headed north. On April 25th they continued northwest and encountered Lake Michigan on an unfamiliar side at exactly the same point that the group of five had two weeks earlier. Cranes 303, 312 & 316 remained together in Michigan until they finally figured out how to get around the huge obstacle of Lake Michigan. Crane #316 later split off in SW Michigan, but later completed his interrupted migration and returned to Necedah NWR on July 28 along with #312 and #316.

Fall 2004:
Cranes 303, 312 and 316 left Necedah Nov. 20 and flew to Jefferson Cty., WI. On Nov 22 they were in Cook County, IL. Stayed in LaPorte County, Indiana from Nov. 22 until resuming migration on Dec. 18-20. They roosted in or near Fairfield County, South Carolina, on Dec. 22nd, then moved to Marion County, FL. for several days. They arrived at the Chassahowitzka pen site at midday on Jan. 2nd, roosting that night near the constructed oyster bar in the pen. They were the first HY2003 whooping cranes to return to the Chassahowitzka pen site after fall migration. Spent much of the winter on a horse farm in central FL.

Spring 2005: 303, 312 & 316 departed on migration from Marion County, FL on March 20. Will they go back to MI or WI? PTT readings for #312 showed the group roosted in southern IN--on the correct migration route--on March 20! The three were reported back in the Necedah area March 30, and #316 continued to hang out with #312.

Fall 2005: He and #312 were not found in their usual area on Nov. 17, a day when 18 whoopers began migration from the area. They showed up with sandhill cranes at other spots in the next few days and likely began migration on Nov. 24. On Dec. 1 they arrived and stayed in Marion County on Florida's Gulf Coast north of the pen for ultralight-led chicks at Chassahowitzka NWR!

Spring 2006: He and #312 began migration from Marion County, FL on March 1. No further reports until March 17, when #316 was home, near Necedah NWR in Wisconsin.

Click for larger view of adult pair #312 and #316 on Dec. 2, 2006 in Illinois with DAR #27-06 and #32-06

Fall 2006: Began fall migration from the Wisconsin summer home on Nov. 30 with #312 and young DAR (Direct Autumn Release) cranes #27-06 and #32-06. An ICF tracking intern tracked the four cranes to Kendall County, Illinois that night. These birds were one of the last groups to leave Necedah NWR. Cranes #316 and #312 have been together ever since they were chicks and migrated north together in spring 2004.
They were in Alachua County, FL in December.

Spring 2007: Began migration March 5 (with mate #312 and pair #303 and #317). Detected (with mate #312) in flight in Wisconsin on March 23. They apparently arrived home in
Juneau County later that day.

#316 #511 in spring 2008
Photo Eva Szyszkoski, ICF

Fall 2007: Began migration on November 12 with mate #312. They were tracked into northeastern Illinois before the ground tracker lost signals. A pair of unidentified whooping cranes, which may have been this pair, was reported in Colleton County, South Carolina, since November 16, but #316 and #511 were later on territory in Marion County, Florida.

Spring 2008: Began migration from Marion County,
Florida, on February 24, 25, or 26.
Confirmed back on Necedah NWR by March 30.

Fall 2008: Still in WI as of Nov. 26 but observed at Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge in Tennessee Nov. 27-29, and still there Dec. 19. His transmitter does not work so he cannot be tracked.

Spring 2009: Reported at Goose Pond FWA in Greene County, Indiana March 10 through 15. He has a nonfunctional transmitter. On May 6, ICF's Sara Zimorski and Eva Szyszkoski were thrilled to discover that #316 was back in Wisconsin — and he was the "mystery bird" they'd often seen flying with DAR #42-07 since mid-April, but they'd they'd been unable to identify it. When the two birds moved onto a private cranberry farm, Eva and Sara got permission to come onto the farm when the owner called to report the birds were standing in one of the cranberry beds. Eva got a perfect view to observe the birds from a distance and read the color bands on the mystery bird to learn that it's #316. Sara said, "We're also excited for #316 to have a new mate; he lost his mate (#312) two years ago after #311 lost his mate and proceeded to steal #312 away from #316." In late September #316 paired with female #501 (who had just left male #105). It didn't last long, as they separated on Oct. 24. (#501 was back with her old mate, #105, two days later.)

Fall 2009: #316 was reported with sandhill cranes in Marquette County, WI on November 5-7. He moved to the Lewiston area by November 16 for several days but migrated south. Last observed in Meigs County, Tennessee on January 7, 2010.

Spring 2010: He was reported in Jackson County, Indiana, on February 26 and 28. He had reached Greene County, Indiana, on March 6 and remained there until some time between March 18-22. He was reported back on Necedah NWR by March 28 and observed with female #716.

Fall 2010: He was last observed on Sprague Pool, Necedah NWR, on May 6, 2010. He has a nonfunctional transmitter and cannot be tracked.

Spring 2011: (See above.) After being missing for so long, in February 2012 he was considered dead and removed from the population total of the Eastern flock.

Fall 2011/Winter 2012:

Last updated: 2/20/12

Back to "Meet the Flock 2003"

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