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

Crane # 522

Date Hatched

June 1 , 2005



Date Arrived in Wisconsin

July 13

Weight Aug. 31

Permanent Band Colors
Left Leg:

5.9 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

Migration Training: During their first weeks, 519, 521, 522, and 523 trained well together at the circle pen. "These guys are hilarious," reported trainer Mark Nipper at Patuxent WRC. "They run in a tight little bunch in the circle. They are constantly knocking into each other and a couple of them really compete to be the closest to the trike. After a few minutes, they will start getting tired and hot, or just lazy, and break up a little. There is usually a bird in every group that will linger behind and forage on its own. Lately, however, each bird has been taking a turn at this "lagging" behavior." On July 10, Mark said, "Today we have had a breakthrough with these chicks out at the pond. We have not been able to leave the pen without them becoming highly stressed and pacing along the fences. This leads to banged up faces and raw spots on the body from rubbing. The birds will stick their heads through the fence if they can. All of this is pretty common for a while, but these guys seem particularly clingy. What we trainers usually do is take turns sitting in the pen with them. It is really pretty fun to hang out with the birds and just let them do their own thing in the water. They usually take baths and are running around all over the place trying to catch everything that moves. It is very important, though, that they be able to spend time away from us. Once we're all moved to the reintroduction site at Necedah NWR, we try to spend as little time as possible with the birds. That time becomes less and less as we get closer to migration. We hope this helps the chicks to be less attached to us and allows them to just be birds.

Chick #522 shipped to Wisconsin's Necedah NWR on July 13 with other cohort 3 (youngest) chicks, ready for flight school. All cohort 3 birds surprised the ultralight pilots by quickly coming out of their pen on their first day of training after arriving at Necedah NWR. They all ran after the trike, following closely. Hooray!

On July 19, Mark raised a concern: "This bird has had an odd gait since it was very young at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. It seemed to clear up some as it got older, but now that it is here in Wisconsin the gait looks just as bad as it did before. The bird is not necessarily lame or limping. It holds its body very oddly while running and kicks its legs high behind it making it lose balance often."

By mid-September, he still has a funny gait when he runs, but it doesn't cause problems for #522 or anyone around him. (Sometimes when a bird runs or flies oddly it can run into the others and be a burden or danger.) Chick #522 is a good flier. He has become a very independent bird, and he doesn't want to go back in the pen after training sessions.

First Migration South
: Chick #522 left Wisconsin for his first migration on October 14th, 2005. Read day-by-day news about the flock's migration to see what happen.

Here is more news about Chick #522's first migration:

On Day 13 (Oct. 26) #522 got tired and dropped out 12 miles from the destination. Luckily, one of the ultralights later turned back to pick him up and he flew to the new stopover site--60.6 miles from where they started.

He landed safely with the flock at the temporary holding site at Halpata Preserve in Marion County, FL on December 13. The 19 cranes will be moved to their final release pen in mid-January after all the older cranes have dispersed from the pen site.

On January 10, Crane #522 made it to the final pen site at Chassahowitzka NWR on day 2 of the pilots' attempts to move the flock.The birds slowly became familiar with the idea of again following the ultralight after a month's vacation. Richard and Brooke managed to get #522 but only 5 other birds far enough from the pen that they fell into line and followed the final 26 miles.


Spring 2006: Began migration March 28 in the flock of 18. They made it to Turner County, Georgia, but other flock members took off shortly after landing. Only cranes #516 and #522 stayed at this first stop to roost. They were in Meigs County, TN on Mar. 30 and 31. They migrated to Floyd County, IN on April 1. Location unknown April 2 and 3. On April 4 they resumed migration. They were hampered and blown eastward by a strong northwest wind and landed to roost in Decatur County, Indiana. They were seen together at this location on May 5. The next sighting of #516 was on May 13 in Eaton County, Michigan but #522 was NOT with him. Crane #522's location was confirmed in Montcalm County, MI on May 16. He stayed in Michigan with sandhill cranes during May and June, moving on to Oceana County, MI. He was last detected leaving there on 14 June when he flushed with sandhill cranes as WCEP trackers tried to capture him to relocate him to Wisconsin. He was not tracked further. He is the only HY05 bird that was NOT found during the summer.

October 28, 2006: Sad news. Male #522 has died. His remains were found in Mason County, Michigan during aerial radiotracking on October 25. The young male had probably died 2-4 months ago. As of Oct. 2006, #522 was the 16th from among 80 individuals so far released during the reintroduction (2001-06) and the first crane death from the HY2005 cohort.

Last updated: 11/01/06


Back to "Meet the Flock 2005"

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