Personality and History
Characteristics: Somewhat shy and loves the wet pen
so much that he will not come out unless bribed with treats.
Seemed low on the pecking order but was more comfortable with
the group by end of August.
Fall 2005: After 4 tries, ICF's Sara Zimorski and Richard Urbanek finally caught this bird on November 11. They replaced his transmitter and broken antenna so he can still be radio-tracked. He began migration Nov. 17 with #203. They later joined in flight with #102 & #212, #301 & #311. The group roosted that night in Will County, IL. They flew Nov. 18 to SW of Indianapolis, Indiana. They were still at this Marion County stopover in mid-December. He landed at the Chassahowitzka NWR pen in Florida on Dec. 22, along with #203. They moved to Sumter County, FL the next day, but returned to check out the Chass pen on Dec. 24.
Spring 2006: #317 and mate #203 left Florida on Feb. 1 with pair #301 and #311. They were last tracked on 2 February, when they were in flight over northcentral Okefenokee Swamp. They were on course for the place in South Carolina where #317 had wintered one year earlier. They arrived back at Wisconsin's Necedah NWR on March 18 or 19. The pair built a nest in early April but the nest failed April 15 or 16 and the eggs were lost to a predator.
Fall 2006: Began migration Nov. 19 and (with #303) made it to NE Illinois that night. The pair was detected in Indiana Nov. 22. They successfully migrated to Florida, and were in Hernando County until Dec. 19 when they left that location. They visited the Chass pen but haven't been seen since they left there on Jan. 28.
Spring 2007: Began migration March 5 (with mate #303 and pair #312 and #316). Confirmed back on Necdedah NWR (with mate #303) during an aerial survey on 23 March. Their arrival date was later set at March 15, according to the refuge's automatic datalogger. They deserted their first nest, but nested again and began incubating around May 14. Because #303 and #317 came from the same parents, they are full siblings—brother and sister. To help ensure genetic diversity among the reintroduced wild flock, experts went to the nest about 3 weeks later to swap the egg with another egg. The male Whooping Crane (#317) was sitting on the nest. Both cranes flushed from the area, and ICF staff quickly switched the eggs. They discovered that the pair's egg was not a good one. After several hours had passed and the adults hadn’t returned to the nest, they removed the good captive-produced egg, which was due to hatch very soon. This time a plaster fake egg was placed in the nest in case the adults returned. The egg from ICF was brought back to ICF for incubation, where the chick will become part of the DAR (Direct Autumn Release) project.
Fall 2007: Crane Pair #317 and #303 joined up with #216 around Necedah NWR on Nov. 20 and they left together on migration on November 22. The pair (303 and 317) were stilll in Marion County, Indiana, at the end of December.
Spring 2008: Male #317 and female #303 left their territory in Marion County, Florida, on February 5 or 6 and moved to an undetermined location. They were back on their territory at Necedah NWR on March 30. Everyone was thrilled to see the pair incubating on a nest beginning on April 9 or 10. A nest check on May 19 found 1 broken fertile egg and 1 intact fertile egg. The good egg was brought to ICF for incubation.
Fall 2008: Male #317 and mate #303 were found in Jackson County, Indiana, on January 1, 2009. They were reported leaving that area on January 3. No further reports.
Spring 2009: Reported back at Necedah NWR in Wisconsin by March 19. He and mate #303 were found on a nest April 8! The nest failed but one rescued egg hatched May 8 into chick #909, which would have become a captive breeding bird if it had survived. By May 21 the pair was re-nesting but abandoned that nest June 7. A rescued egg was incubated in Maryland for the ultralight flock but the chick did not survive. The pair remained together in the area all summer.
Fall 2009: He and mate #303 began migration on November 15, a day with clear skies and north winds to help push them south. Ten whoopers began migration the same day. Pair 303 and 317 next appeared when they continued migration on November 30 and landed to roost in Knox County, Indiana, with 216 and 716, 512 and 722, and (DAR) 38-09.
Spring 2010: Pair #303 and #317 left their winter territory in Indiana on March 9 or 10. Male #317 has a nonfunctional transmitter, but the signal of his mate, #303, was detected on March 17 at Necedah NWR in Wisconsin. Even though they had not observed yet, it is likely that he and his mate were among the earliest arrivals for the new nesting season. They already had an active nest on April 1 or 2! The nest failed and a re-nest on May 3 also failed. Two of their eggs were rescued and hatched at ICF; the chicks were transferred to Patuxent WRC in Maryland. The pair later re-nested for a third time—the lucky one! Their late-season nest produced two chicks (W4-10 and W5-10)! By the end of June one chick had disappeared but W4-10 survived until July 14. The cause of death is being investigated. Cranes 303 and 317 make an unusual pair because they are full siblings.
Fall 2010: Crane names hereafter follow the naming conventions of WCEP: Male #17-03 (#317) and mate #3-03 (#303) began migration from Necedah NWR on November 17. They wintered in Knox County, Indiana, just as they have previously. The pair was there on Feb. 12 but not when the area was checked again on Feb. 17.
Spring 2011: Male #17-03 (#317) and his mate #3-03 (303) were recorded back on Necedah NWR by March 21. (His transmitter does not work.) The two were incubating on a nest by April 9 and hatched a chick (W2-11) on May 9! Their chick disappeared when a tornado passed through the area on May 22. They did not attempt another nest this spring. More bad luck followed: On August 16, his mate (#303) was observed injured near a refuge road bordering their territory. Examination by doctors at ICF showed she was emaciated with an infected left hock, and she was euthanized. Will male #17-03 (#317) now find a new mate?
Fall 2011: He migrated only as far as Lawrence County, Illinois.
Spring 2012: Male #17-03 (#317) arrived on the nesting grounds of Necedah NWR in Wisconsin on March 7 with Female #7-09 (#907)! This new pair was observed sitting on a nesting platform during one flight in May, but were not observed there again. No eggs were ever confirmed but perhaps next year they'll become parents!
Fall 2012: Male #17-03 wintered with his mate #7-09 (#907) first in Lawrence County, IL (their previous wintering location) before the pair moved to Knox County, Indiana, for the remainder or the winter. They began their journey north to Wisconsin on March 22 or 23.
Spring 2013: Male #17-03 (#317) and female #7-09 (#907) arrived March 29 on the nesting grounds of Necedah NWR in Wisconsin. They soon had a nest together but the nest faied early in May, along with the nests of several other crane pairs during an outbreak of black flies. This pair did not attempt to renest this summer.
Fall 2013: Male #17-03 migrated to the wintering grounds he shared last winter with mate #7-09 in Indiana/Illinois.
Spring 2014: He was last reported on the wintering grounds in Indiana/Illinois. His mate #7-09 returned to Necedah NWR this spring with another male crane. Male #17-03's status is unknown at this time.