Photo: Operation Migration
Meet the Whooping Crane Class of 2004!
Hatch-year 2004 of the Eastern Flock

Crane # 412

Date Hatched

May 9 , 2004



Date Arrived in Wisconsin

June 30, 2004

Permanent Leg Bands



  • 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

Migration Training: Introduced to the trike at 9-days. Received 9 hrs & 5 min. of aircraft conditioning while at Patuxent WRC, where he did well with training from the beginning. Can be "a bit of a jerk" every now and then, but mostly is cooperative. Really scared of thunderstorms as a little chick. An insect bite on his face caused much swelling and he had to take medicine for weeks. Even so, his attitude and personality didn't waiver; he never became afraid of the costume, and continued as the best flyer and follower in cohort 2, the middle group in age.

First Migration South
: One of the seven who flew on day 1. Was crated to the next stop on day 22. On day 48, he dropped away just 10 miles from the destination. By himself, he flew 80 miles south, then 80 miles north, landing 8 miles east of the morning's departure site at the Hiwassee State Wildlife Refuge!

Spring 2005:
Stayed behind at the pen site when 11 flock mates left on migration 25 March. Began migration along with #204 and #105 on March 30. On April 3, the trio flew 13 hours, the final 3 hours in darkness, with #412 seeming in the lead. (Like Day 48 of the journey south!?) After those two older cranes left him on April 5, he joined up with older cranes #304 and #311 in flight over Indiana. The trio arrived in Wisconsin on or about April 6. They left their roost site in Sauk County, WI on April 7th and completed migration with a short flight to Necedah National Wildlife Refuge that afternoon. Crane 412 was the FIRST 2004 chick to officially arrive back at Necedah NWR! He separated from the two older birds and roosted that night very close to the training sites where he had "flight lessons," but for most of the summer, cranes #402, 403, 412, 416, and 417 roosted as a group, often with sandhill cranes. They spent time in Columbia and Marquette Counties, WI.

Fall 2005: Left Wisconsin on its first unaided fall migration on November 9, together with #402, 403, 416, and 417. They made it to Indiana the first day. On November 10th they were roosting at a central Tennessee location. On November 10th they were roosting at a central Tennessee location. According to tracker Lara Fondow, the five males landed at their former pen site in Florida at 2:05 November 17. They are the first Eastern flock whoopers to complete migration to the primary wintering area in west-central Florida this fall! With no free food at the pen, they wandered north the next day.

Spring 2006: Began migration on March 27 or 28 in a group with 402, 403, 416 and 417. They were reported in Dane County, WI on March 31. They moved up to Necedah NWR to complete their migration on April 6!

Fall 2006: Departed Wisconsin on Nov. 19 (with #310, #402 and #403) and made it that night to NE Illinois. They successfully migrated to Florida, where #412 was in Lafayette County with #403 and #402.

Spring 2007: Began migration March 18 (with #402 and #403). Crane #412 has a nonfunctional transmitter, but he made it home! He was observed the morning of March 27 on Necedah NWR (with #216). He was briefly captured on April 1 and his transmitter was replaced.

Fall 2007: #412 began migration from Wisconsin on November 21 along with 307, 402, 511, 514, and W601 (the flock's only wild-hatched chick at this time). He was found with #402 and wintering sandhill cranes in Lake County, Florida, on December 19.

Spring 2008: began spring migration on March 17 with #402. Back at Necedah NWR March 30!

Fall 2008: Left Wisconsin on Nov. 20 in a large group. Not all of them stayed together, but on Nov. 24, crane #412 was in a group of eight (including first-timers #10-08 and DAR #37-08) that reached the border of southern Illinois and southern Indiana. The group stayed together in Gibson County, Indiana until Dec. 21, when they moved to White County, Tennessee.

Photos Eva Szyszkoski, ICF

Crane #412 and DAR #46-07 separated from their group of 8 at a migration stop in Alabama. The two stayed and wintered in Alabama (Cherokee County) while the rest of the group continued to Florida.

Spring 2009: Crane #412 and DAR #46-07 began migration from Cherokee County, Alabama, on March 17 or 18. On March 19, DAR #46-07 was in Vermillion County, Indiana and trackers presume that #412 was still with her. The pair was confirmed back in Wisconsin by March 28 but then they separated. In June he was seen on the refuge with female DAR 27-05.

Fall 2009: Male #412 was seen in early October with female DAR 27-05 on Necedah NWR. She moved to Columbia/Sauk Counties, WI, where she was reported on November 26-27 and tehy wintered apart. He was reported in Jackson County, Indiana, on December 12 and was back on his previous wintering territory in Cherokee County, Alabama, on January 5.

Spring 2010: He was detected on or near Necedah NWR during an aerial survey on April 5. A week later he was seen hanging out with female #27-05 (DAR) south of the refuge. They reunited and it seems #412 finally won her over.

Pair #412 and #27-05 DAR with their new chick W6-10

Pair #412 and #27-05 DAR with their new chick W6-10 in June 2010
Photo Matt Strausser, ICF

It was an exciting discovery when the tracking team found that this pair began a nest south of Necedah May 17! They built a nest took turns incubating two fertile eggs. During a monitoring flight, an Operation Migration pilot and expert egg spotter saw that one of their eggs had fallen into the water. The tracking team sprung into action. Although the nesting adults had done their best to push the egg back into the nest, it was the tracking team that placed the egg back in the nest. However, it was too late; the next day, only one chick (W6-10) would hatch. The chick and parents were doing well but on June 30 mother DAR 27-05 DAR went missing. Father #412 and the chick stayed together. That's when chick W6-10, less than a month old, was called "super-chick" for its ability to cover ground with Dad #412. He and the chick often traveled back and forth between two ponds nearly a mile apart, perhaps looking for the female or avoiding a danger, and the little chick kept up. Sadly, the chick disappeared sometime between July 3-6. Since death of the chick, #412 has wandered on and off the territory. But his mate came back and reappeared with him on July 12.

Fall 2010: Male #412 and his mate again returned to Cherokee County in Alabama for the winter. His life was cut short by a gunman on January 28 when he was shot dead on his territory. An Alabama conservation officer discovered him. Federal wildlife officials are offering a A$6,000 reward for arrest and conviction of the person who killed this bird. He was the fourth endangered Whooping crane illegally shot within a two-month time span. The death was announced on Feb. 9.


Last updated: 2/9/11



Back to "Meet the Flock 2004"

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