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

Crane # 416 (16-04)

Date Hatched

May 17 , 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 8-days. Received 2 hrs & 57 min. of aircraft conditioning while at Patuxent WRC. Missed many days of training at Patuxent due to respiratory infection, bowed hocks, and then a broken toe or foot from being stepped on). A cast was applied and he missed taxi-training until the toe healed. Mark said, "The little guy still trucked right along with all the rest of them." Cast was removed mid-July at Necedah. Now Follows well. Good flyer and "just another great bird."

First Migration South: One of the seven who flew on day 1.

Spring 2005:
Left on first journey north with the group of 11 on 25 March, 2005 after 103 days on wintering grounds. After flying through Georgia and veering as far east as South Carolina, the flock corrected their course, stopping in Indiana before reaching Wisconsin. Stilll together, the group of 11 entered Wisconsin the evening of April 4. On April 6 the group of 11 split. Chick #416 stayed with 2, 3, 15, 17, 19 and 20 in Dane County, WI and they all finished their migration to Necedah NWR on May 3. During 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, 412, 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, 412, 403 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: Left Wisconsin on Nov. 19 (with female #209) and made it to NE Illinois or NW Indiana. Next reported in Newton County, IN, but had left (with #209) by Dec. 3. He remained with sandhill cranes in Jackson County, Indiana until the first week in February, 2007. He and the other 3 whoopers in Indiana moved on when the coldest arctic air mass of the season chilled the Midwest. No reports since.

Spring 2007: Crane #416 (and mate #209), who wintered in Indiana, were back in Wisconsin March 13-16 and building a nest! They didn't stick with this one, but later built another in which they laid an egg. Their active nest was confirmed in Monroe County on April 15, but the nest was not successful. The pair took off and has not been detected since May 27.

Photo Richard Urbanek, April 15, 2007

Fall 2007: Male #416 and mate (#209) migrated fom Wisconsin on November 22. They remained in Jackson County, Indiana through the end of December.

Spring 2008: Male #416 and mate #209 began migration from Carroll County, Georgia, on February 2. Two birds believed to be this pair were reported on their territory at Monroe County Flowage on March 30, and identification was confirmed on April 7. Soon they were nesting!

The first nesting attempt failed when a broken egg was found April 14, 2008. Will they nest again?
Photos Sara Zimorski

Fall 2008: Crane #416 was observed near the refuge on October 10, but he has a nonfunctional transmitter and cannot be tracked. There is no record of his fall migration.

Spring 2009: A lone crane reported at Necedah NWR on March 20 is presumed to be 416. He was on the territory that used to belong to him when his mate 209 was alive. He remained in the core area, unpaired, all summer.

Fall 2009: He was observed during migration in Jackson County, Indiana, on December 30. He was next found in Lafayette County, Florida (with pair #403 and #309) during an aerial survey flight on January 20. They were there on Feb. 16 but gone by March 4.

Spring 2010: Migrating Crane 416 was reported with #27-05 (DAR) in Newton County, Indiana, on March 15. A single bird with a nonfunctional transmitter was observed on his territory on Meadow Valley SWA in Juneau County, WI, during an aerial survey on April 5 and is probably #416. A single male, presumably #416, was heard alarm calling on that territory on April 19.

Fall 2010: Cranes #416 (now to be known as 16-04) and #904 (now to be known as 4-09) began migration December 1. They were the last to leave Neceah NWR, staying until the bitter, snowy end of November. They were likely the two reported reported in Shelby County, Illinois on Dec. 6 with cranes #712 (12-07), #717 (17-07) and 31-08 (DAR). Four of these cranes were detected together in flight through western Kentucky on that same day.

Spring 2011: Cranes #16-04 and #4-09 (formerly numbered 416 and 904) were photographed at a Lawrence County, IL migration stopover before they resumed migration (see photo). They were first to reach home! Cranes 416 and 904 (16-04 and 4-09) were seen at 2:10 on March 9 back on Necedah NWR. "They may have arrived yesterday before last night's snowstorm. Refuge pools remain frozen and snow-covered," reported biologist Richard Urbanek. (These two were the last to leave Necedah NWR last fall and they returned before the snows cleared in the spring!) The pair was observed nest building but without successfully nesting.

Fall 2011: Cranes #16-04 and #4-09 (formerly numbered 416 and 904) migrated to Parke and Vigo Counties, Indiana.

Spring 2012: Cranes #16-04 and #4-09 (formerly numbered 416 and 904) were detected on Necedah NWR on March 11, migration complete! They were on a nest by April 14 or 15. Aerial trackers next reported the pair was apparently provisioning at least one chick (this would be #W6-12). On a May 21 tracking flight, trackers saw the pair off nest and they appeared to be tending a chick, but it had disappeared by the June 15 nest check.

Fall 2012:

Spring 2013: Cranes #16-04 and 4-09 (formerly numbered 416 and 904) completed spring migration and were photographed walking along a still- frozen stream near their territory in central Wisconsin on March 27, 2013 by pilot Bev Paulan during an aerial flight:

Cranes 904 and 416 on March 27, 2013, newly arrived back in snowy Wisconsin.

By late April or early May they were reported nesting! This pair was among only three crane pairs still sitting on a nest on May 7 after a three-day span when all 17 other nests were abandoned, but they later abandoned their nest and did not hatch chicks this summer.

Fall 2013: Cranes #16-04 and #4-09 were likely the two cranes reported in Vermillion County, Indiana, on November 16. By January 4 they had moved to Knox County, Indiana and were still there on January 31.

Spring 2014: Pair 16-04/4-09 arrived back on territory in Monroe County, Wisconsin, by/on March 21. They nested and the nest was still active when checked on April 30! But sad news came on May 5, when the female was found dead. Her body showed no signs of predation, but the health lab said the cause of death was blunt trauma to the body. Will #16-04 take a new mate?

Fall 2014: Crane #16-04 left the Necedah area Oct. 24 and wintered in Gibson County, Indiana with #26-10 DAR and #7-09.

Spring 2015: Male #16-04 was seen back in the Necedah area during a March 25 aerial survey.

Fall 2015: Male #16-04 was first reported in Indiana on December 12, 2015. He spent the winter moving around quite a bit in southwestern Indiana and southeastern Illinois.

Spring 2016: Male #16-04 was first reported back on the breeding grounds on March 29th, 2016. He was back in the Necedah area, alone.

Fall 2016: In early September #16-04 was associating with #W18-15 at Necedah NWR. The young crane briefly went back to Juneau County to associate with its parents, but then returned to Necedah and #16-04 by the end of October. He and W18-15 left Juneau County, WI after Nov. 25 and migrated in December to wintering grounds in Knox County, IN and were still there as of March 1, 2017.

Spring 2017: Male #16-04 and W18-15 (gender still unknown) returned to Wisconsin and were seen at Neceah NWR by the end of March.  


Last updated: 4/3/17


Back to "Meet the Flock 2004"

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