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

Crane # 318 (18-03)

Date Hatched




Date Arrived in Wisconsin


Permanent Leg Bands
G/R/W (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: This may be the dominant bird in the cohort and is a good follower--if pilots can keep his attention. They have used the Swamp Monster to convince 310 not to venture off into the marsh; it seemed to work. Good sized, aggressive and dominant, even though he's a younger bird in this flock.
Migration South: Flew all but 68.3 miles with the ultralight.

Attained his adult voice Feb. 1-7, 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). (Follow the group's progress to April 9 in the entry for 301.) On April 9 the group separated south of Celina, Ohio. The group of five (301, 305, 309, 318, and 319) was stymied by being on an unfamiliar side of Lake Michigan. (Again see Crane #301 for updates on this group that stayed in Michigan.)

Fall 2004:
Began fall migration from Mason County, Michigan, on Nov. 7. with #305, 309 and 301. Perhaps spooked by witnessing the death of their flock mate, #305 on Nov. 13/14, this crane together with #301 and #309 moved northward the next day to Tom Yawkey Wildlife Center in Georgetown County, South Carolina. After several short northward flights, the three began moving south. Found in Jones County, NC.

Spring 2005:
Departed Jones County, NC on migration March 30 with #301 and #309. Seen April 6 with #301 and #309 in western New York state, just across the Penn. border. They apparently followed the Lake Michigan lakeshore NE. Unconfirmed sightings and PTT readings put them on the east side of Lake Huron on April 13. This would mean they would have to somehow get around two of the Great Lakes to make it home. The Tracking team may need to capture and relocate the birds back to Wisconsin in an effort to reorient them. On April 15 the three were confirmed in Ontario, east of Lake Huron. They will most likely be returned to Wisconsin in an attempt to reorient them. With two of the Great Lakes separating them from the core introduction area, there is little likelihood they would make it back on their own. For now, they need to be in proximity to the rest of the population. The more opportunity they have to mingle, the greater the chance of proper mate selection and eventually breeding. Still with #301 on April 16 when a PTT reading indicated that #301 roosted in Algonquin Provincial Park near the Quebec border and then left the following morning. Low-quality readings for #301 on April 17-20 showed movement southbound to near the northern shore of Lake Ontario. The next reported sighting of #301 and #318 was on April 22 in a harvested cornfield on the southern shore of Georgian Bay. The two were still there
on 25 April. (No reports of the third crane, #309, being with them since 14 April.) On April 27, #301 and #318 left Owen Sound and were seen near Tobermory (northern tip of the Bruce Peninsula, Ontario). Next confirmed in Chippewa Cty. on April 29. Then poor quality PTT readings in mid May indicate they had flown southward into the north-central Lower Peninsula of Michigan. Sure enough, 301 and 318 were finally confirmed by a citizen sighting 22 May in central Missaukee Co, MI. On the evening of June 30, #301 and #318 were successfully captured in Michigan by WCEP trackers. They were flown by aircraft to the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge and released. Both birds appear to be well. Hooray!

Fall 2005:
Began migration on November 21. Reported wintering in North Carolina's
Columbus County and also Reeve County.The team is concerned about his welfare at this location because he seems to be getting used to local vehicular traffic and nearness of humans.

Spring 2006: Departed on migration April 1 or 2. Seen in Montcalm County, Michigan in March. retrieved from Mason County in spring 2005 and spent that summer in the
Necedah NWR area.

Fall 2006: #318 was reported Oct. 20 with a small number of sandhill cranes in Mason County, Michigan. He was seen in early December and not again until Feb. 2. On that date a Whooping crane believed to be #318 was reported in South Carolina in the same wintering area he occupied last year.

Spring 2007: He apparently began migration from South Carolina on March 19 or 20. A whooping crane reportedin Kalamazoo County, Michigan, on March 21 may have been #318. In April he was in a wetlands area in Oceana County, MI, sometimes with Sandhill Cranes. On May 8 he was on farmlands and small wetlands in Mason County, Michigan, but was gone when that area was next checked on 14 May 14. He returned to Necedah NWR on May 27 — his first ever successfully completed, unassisted spring migration in four years of migrating! He had apparently finally been able to navigate his way around Lake Michigan. HOORAY!

Fall 2007: Male #318 left Wisconsin on migration on November 22 with female 313. They were reported with #506 in Alabama on December 27-30. They arrived at their old Florida pen site at Chass on January 5 and roosted there along with #309 and #403. The group of five moved the next day to Sumter County and moved again on January 7, when they separated in flight. Cranes #313 and #318 were tracked to Putnam County, Florida, but they continued wandering.

May 6: nest and eggs abandoned
Photo Richard Urbanek, ICF

Spring 2008: Male #318 and his mate (#313) began migration March 10 and were tracked to their first overnight migration stop in Madison County, Florida. The pair completed migration back to their territory on Necedah NWR April 3. They built a nest and began incubation on April 13 or 14. On May 6 they abandoned their nest, leaving 2 fertile eggs. The eggs were collected and taken to ICF in hopes they can hatch.

Fall 2008: Began migration from Wisconsin on November 17, along with mate 313 and 12 other Whooping cranes. He and mate 313 were found in good crane habitat in Bradley County, Tennessee on January 11, 2009.

Spring 2009: Began migration from Bradley County, Tennessee, after March 8. At Green County, Indiana stopover March 10-15. Confirmed back in Wisconsin March 23 with mate #313. ICF's Eva confirmed #313 and 318 incubating on a nest on April 7 or before! The nest failed April 19. They re-nested but that nest also failed (May 17). The pair remained together in the area all summer.

Fall 2009: #318 and mate #313 began migration on November 2 or 3. By Nov. 4 they were reported at a previously used migration stop in Greene County, Indiana. They ended up at their previous wintering area in Bradley County, Tennessee where they were reported last on Feb. 13.

Spring 2010: Crane 313 and mate 318 began migration sometime after Feb. 13, as they were were reported back at a previously used migration stop in Greene County, Indiana, on February 26. They remained there until departure some time between March 18-22. The pair was reported back on Necedah NWR by March 24 and were observed on a nest during an aerial survey on April 5, but the nest failed a week later. They did not try again, and her mate began also spending time with female #509. However, the pair was consistently together again by mid July.

Fall 2010: Crane #318 (hereafter to be knowna as #18-03) and mate #313 (hereafter to be known as #13-03) remained on Goose Pond FWA, Greene County, Indiana, at least through the morning of December 22. A pair of Whooping cranes seen in flight just to the south of Goose Pond on the morning of December 25 were likely these birds. They were next reported on their usual wintering territory in Bradley County, Tennessee, on December 30.

Spring 2011: Migrating pair #3-18 (formerly #318 and #318 were reported in Greene County, Indiana, on February 24. They stayed there at least through March 4. (Compare this with their timing last spring, above!) On March 21 they were in Stephenson Cty, IL. They completed migration to Necedah NWR on March 25. They did not stay togeher! Instead, each paired with another crane. Male #318 started associating with #36-09 DAR.

Fall 2011: #318 wintered in Greene Count, Indiana, with his new mate #36-09 DAR.

Spring 2012: Returned to Necedah NWR with his new mate #36-09 DAR. They were nesting in April! On the April 26 survey flight, it appeared from photos that the nest was empty. There were no chicks for this pair in summer 2012.

Fall/Winter 2012-2013: Pair #18-03 and #36-09 DAR wintered on the Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area Greene County, Indiana.

Female 36-09 DAR and mate #318 forage in an Indiana field.
Photos Stephen Smith

Spring 2013: #18-03 (318) and his new mate #36-09 DAR completed migration March 30. By late April or early May they were reported nesting but the nest failed in early May, along with many other nests when an outbreak of black flies may have tormented the pairs off their nests.

Fall 2013: Male #18-03 and #36-09 migrated to Greene County, Indiana, where they were last reported on January 26.

Spring 2014: #18-03 and mate #36-09 DAR completed migration to Necedah NWR by 4 April. The pair nested, but the nest became flooded and failed.

Fall 2014: Male #18-03 and #36-09 DAR departed the Necedah area most likely on Oct. 18 on migration. They wintered again in Greene County, Indiana.

Spring 2015: #18-03 and mate #36-09 DAR successfully migrated back to Wisconsin and nested early. By mid May they were parents of a new chick, named W5-15! Look closely and you'll see the chick: Unfortunately, the chick did not survive.

Pair #18-03 and 36-09 with their chick in May 2015.Photo Beverly Paulan, Wisconsin DNR

Fall 2015: Pair #18-03 and #36-09 DAR were confirmed in Greene County, Indiana by November 13, having migrated from Wisconsin sometime in the previous two weeks. Several other whoopers from the eastern flock were also there.

Spring 2016: Pair #18-03 and #36-09 DAR returned to Wisconsin and nested but the first nest failed. They were observed on a renest on May 6 and chick W15-16 hatched May 28. The chick did not survive the summer.

Fall 2016: According to the legbands reported October 11, pair #36-09 DAR and mate #18-03 are the first pair confirmed on their winter territory: Greene County, Indiana. This is the earliest report of Whooping Cranes in Greene County since the beginning of the reintroduction.

Spring 2017: Male #18-03 and his mate #36-09 DAR returned to their Wisconsin territory on Necedah NWR in early April and nested right away. They re-nested and were incubating their second nest when seen on Bev Paulan's May 12 flight. W6-17 hatched about May 23 but the chick was discoved dead, likely of predation, on June12.

Last updated: 7/3/17

Back to "Meet the Flock 2003"

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