Meet the New 2005 Whooping Crane Chicks!
Hatch-year 2005 of the Eastern Flock

Crane # 512 (12-05)

Date Hatched

May 16 , 2005



Date Arrived in Wisconsin

July 6, 2005

Weight Aug. 31

Permanent Band Colors
Left Leg:

5.5 Kg

Right Leg:
G/W radio USFWS 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: Scroll Down for Most Current

Migration Training: This chick is small, feisty and mischievous. Arrived in Wisconsin on July 6 with the rest of Cohort 2. Trainer Mark Nipper said, "This little guy is only half the size of #508, but is all attitude. He seems to particularly enjoy running around and biting all the other birds' butts. He looks odd but proud when he stands tall with a mouth full of fluffy tail feathers from his bullying." In fact, Chick #512 seems to be the most dominant and aggressive bird of Cohort 2. He chases and pecks any bird that dares get near him. Chicks #511 and 514 are favorite targets.

By July 21, all the Cohort 2 birds followed the trike well. One of the birds even got off the ground for about 50-60 feet. Chicks #512 and #514 are the bullies, often pounding on the other chicks in their eagerness to exit the pen when the gates are opened for training. By August 1, #512 was airborne but not quite climbing high.

On Aug. 5 pilot Brooke decided that he was going to take off from the ground and see how many of the chicks would follow him for a few laps around the pen and runway areas. The birds scattered almost as soon as they were let out of the pen. Brooke quickly found one chick--#512--stuck on the other side of a water ditch. The chick was confused by how to get back to the runway. John
Thomton stood on the opposite bank of the ditch and motioned for #512 to follow, but he wouldn't come! The chick may have been intimidated by two adult whooping cranes on John's side of the water. Still, #512 refused to walk across the shallow water to John—very strange, since #512 practically lives in the wet side of his pen! Eventually, John had to wade over to the bird, flooding his boots and soaking his pants and white costume. No amount of coaxing could get #512 into the water. John said, "He didn't even take any of the yummy grapes I offered as motivation for crossing the ditch." Finally, Brooke landed his trike and came over. Brooke and John kept walking the long way around because today $512 apparently didn't want his feet wet! As the three costumed handlers neared the pen with #512, the bird saw Brooke's trike parked WAY down on the other side of the runway—and took off flying towards it! The trainers had to keep silent, but they wanted to scream with frustration. Finally, Brooke walked down there and taxied the trike back over to the pen. After an hour, #512 followed and the episode was finally over.

On August 28, the first day Cohort 2 and Cohort 3 birds were at the same pen site, #512 went through a gap in the fence that divided the two cohorts. He was stuck with the younger birds in their pen while his own cohort was let out for training with the ultralight. Both groups were let out to mix with each other for the first time later that day. What did #512 do? He took off alone and flew in a big circle, landing back on the grass runway with the group!

After the health exams, #512 started struggling to keep up with the group. He would often fly back to the runway and miss out on over half the training flight. But on September 9, Cohort 2 had a great day. All 8 birds took off from the runway on the first try and never looked back. They flew for about 15 minutes, and stayed with the pilot for the entire flight.

He is about mid-level in dominance, and a good flyer. He can be a character. He often ignores costumed handlers and refuses to go back into the pen after training.

First Migration South
: Chick #511 left Wisconsin for his first migration on October 14th, 2005. Read day-by-day news about the flock's migration to see what happens.

Here's extra news about Chick #511's first migration:

On day 2 of the migration, #512 (and #507) turned back to the launch area. They were crated and traveled by van to the new stopover site in Juneau County (17.1 miles). Again on Nov. 30 he wouldn't follow the ultralight. He kept turning back to Hiwassee with a small group of other cranes who didn't want to leave the nice marshes at Hiwassee. He was put in a crate and driven to the next stopover site. After that day, he followed the ultralight just fine.

On Dec. 13, #512 landed safely with the 19-bird flock at the holding pen at Halpata Preserve. The cranes will be moved 26 miles to their final release pen at Chassahowitzka NWR ("Chass") in mid-January after all the older cranes have dispersed from the release pen.

The pilots and ultralights tried to move the birds on January 9. Crane #512 made it to Chass on the third day of trying, January 11. HOME for the winter!

Spring 2006: Began first spring migration from the "Chass" pen site March 28 with all flock members except 520. This flock of 18 split at roost time on March 28, and fourteen juveniles (501, 502, 503, 505, 506, 507, 508, 509, 510, 512, 514, 519, 523, and 524) stayed together. They probably roosted near the confluence of Turner, Crisp and Wilcox Counties in Georgia. They didn't move the next day. On March 30 they resumed migration and roosted in Hamilton County, TN. The next roosting place was March 31 in Spence County, KY; April 1 in Jefferson County, IN; April 2 and 3 in DuPage County, IL; April 4 in McHenry County, IL. (past Chicago). They are determined to get back to Wisconsin! They flew two days in rain, and in stong headwinds on April 4. On April 5 they resumed migration, stopping in Sauk County, WI—just short of Necedah NWR! Tracker Richard Urbanek was monitoring them the morning of April 6 when they took off. They completed spring migration as they passed the SW corner of Necedah NWR just after noon. (They kept going! They landed, foraged, and roosted that night in nearby Trempealeau County, WI. and hung around the core reintroduction area all summer.)

Fall 2006: #512 (along with 510, 511, 519 and 307) began migration from Wisconsin's Necedah NW on November 9 and made it to northern Illinois that night. No further reports until January 2, when they were found in Levy County, FL!

Spring 2007: Began migration from Florida's Alachua County on March 27 with #510 and #511. They arrived together at Necedah NWR, on April 1.

Fall 2007: Left Wisconsin on migration on November 27 with #505. They migrated together at least as far as central Indiana on November 27. (Crane #505 was found without #512 at Hiwassee WR in Tennessee on December 1.) Crane 512 (along with 408 and 519) completed migration and arrived in Florida on December 4.

Spring 2008: Male #512 (with #307) was confirmed back in Wisconsin at Necedah NWR on March 23. He and #307 were reported together in Houston County, Minnesota, on March 14 and 15! Both birds may have wintered together at an undetermined location in Florida. This was the first time #512's signal had been detected since December 29 (in Florida).

Fall 2008: Left Wisconsin on Nov. 20 in a large group. Not all of them stayed together, but on Nov. 24, crane #512 was in a group of eight (including #10-08, who was removed from the ultalight cohort) 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. On Dec. 22 he resumed migration from White County, TN and arrived in Cherokee County, Alabama with #511, 716, 724, DAR 46-07 and DAR 37-08. Completed migration sometime Dec. 28-31, where he was at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park in Alachua County, Florida. With him were first-timers #10-08 and DAR 37-08 and #511, 716 and 724.

Spring 2009: #512 separated from DAR 37-08 and began migration from Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park by March 25. Confirmed back in Wisconsin at Necedah NWR by early April. He was detected near Sprague Pool on April 4 and 5. (His transmitter was again functioning after failing to produce a signal during the final weeks in Florida.)

Fall 2009: He was captured on October 28 to replace his transmitter, and then released. He began migration Nov. 26 with #722 and several other Whooping cranes that migrated as a group before landing to roost at an undetermined location(s) in Illinois. He and 722, now traveling just with #216/716 and DAR 38-09 were next located by aerial survey while flying over Clark County, Illinois, on Nov. 27. They landed to roost in Lawrence County, Illinois, and continued about 20 miles SE to Knox County, Indiana, on November 28. They were still there Feb. 6.

Spring 2010: Crane pair 216/716, pair 512/722, and 38-09 (DAR) remained along the Wabash River, in Knox County, Indiana until they began migration on March 17. A low precision PTT reading for #722 indicated a roost location in Dane County, Wisconsin, on the night of March 20. Female 722 was detected back on Necedah NWR on March 22. Male 512 was not reported until 24 March, but both were likely together on March 22.

Fall 2010: Crane names hereafter follow the naming conventions of WCEP: Crane #512 and mate #722 (hereafter #12-05 and #22-07) were reported in Gibson County, Indiana, on December 9. They arrived at Paynes Prairie Preserve SP, Alachua County, Florida, by December 30.

Spring 2011: Crane pair #12-05 and #22-07 were on their winter territory in Alachua County, FL when checked on February 24 but they were no longer detected during a check on the afternoon of 1 March 1. Reported back at Necedah NWR by March 21. They had two nesting attempts this summer, begun on April 20 and again on May 18. The second nest failed May 22nd when a tornado passed through. The nest was found abandoned the next day and no eggs or shell fragments were found.

Fall 2011: Crane #12-05 and mate #22-07 migrated to Gibson County, Indiana, for the winter.

Spring 2012: Crane #12-05 and mate #22-07 were detected in flight March 16 south of Necedah NWR and headed north. They're back! They were on a nest as of April 4. That nest failed on April 26 but they were incubating on nest #2 by May 21. These eggs were due to hatch June 17-19, but the nest had failed by June 15.

Fall 2012: On Nov. 21 male #12-05 and mate #22-07 were discovered in Gibson County, Indiana, where they remained throughout the winter. Also present there were pair #16-02/16-07 and males #19-09 and #25-10 DAR.

Spring 2013: Crane #12-05 and mate #22-07 completed spring migration on March 30. By late April or early May they were reported nesting but the nest failed, along with nests of many other crane pairs, during a black fly outbreak in early May. The pair did not re-nest this summer.

Fall 2013: Male #12-05 migrated to Knox County, Indiana, apparently re-paired with female #7-09, and they remain there as of January 31.

Spring 2014: Crane #12-05, who joined up on migration with female #7-09 during the winter on the knox County, Indiana territory she had shared with her now-missing mate, had not yet been confirmed back at Necedah NWR when #7-09 got back March 28. He has a nonfunctional transmitter and remote territory, and is probably no longer with female #7-09 because she was seen with other males, said tracker Eva Szyszkoski. By early May, Eva thought#12-05 was probably paired with 12-03. Sure enough, the pair was later observed with a nest. However, they abandoned their nest (with two eggs) sometime in May.

Fall 2014: Male #12-05 and mate #12-03 likely departed Necedah on Oct. 31 and migrated south. They wintered in Knox County, Indiana, where this photo was taken by Mark Crowley on February 25, 2015:

Crane pair #5-12 and #3-12 in Knox County, Kentucky on Feb. 25, 2015

Spring 2015: Male #12-05 arrived back at Necedah by March 30 with female #12-03.

Fall 2015: Male #12-05 (with Female#12-03) was was confirmed in Knox County, Indiana by November 13.

Spring 2016: Male #12-05 migrated back to Necedah NWR and was mostly by himself until summer, when he started associateing with female 19-14.

Fall 2016: Male #12-05 was reported with female PR #19-14 in Gibson County, IN in November and then Knox County, Indiana in December.

Spring 2017: Male #12-05 migrated back to Juneau County, Wisconsin with mate PR #19-14. The pair built a nest together, but the nest failed.


Last updated: 6/09/2017

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