Photo M. Wellington, ICF
Meet the 2006 Whooping Crane Chicks!
Hatch-year 2006 of the Eastern Flock

Crane # 26-06 DAR

Date Hatched

May 25, 2006



Date of Photo:

Egg Source: ICF

Permanent Leg Bands Left Leg:

Right Leg:
  • Read about the naming system, hatch place in Maryland, release site in Wisconsin, over-wintering site in Florida, and leg-band codes.

Personality and History

Before Release
Chick #26-06 began flying in the middle of August. How old was he then? This chick is the Top Crane in the pecking order among his DAR flock mates. He is the leader of the pack, but he doesn’t use force very often. (It is fairly normal for the second in command to be more active and tough in keeping everyone else in line.) 

The DAR chicks had their health checks on October 4. In addition, #26-06 got a temporary radio transmitter/band placed on his leg in case he flies from his pen site and trackers don't know his whereabouts.

Oct. 17, 2006: Dr. Richard Urbanek said the DAR birds received their permanent leg bands. Chick #26-06 and the other four will be released as soon as they get usedd to their new leg bands and transmitters. Their freedom is near! Will they hang out with, and then follow, the older whooping and sandhill cranes to learn their migration route?

October 21: Chick #26-06 (with #28-06) was set free on the Wisconsin refuge where it spent its first months of life. The two newly released chicks quickly returned to the pool in their rearing area, and remained there to roost. The next day they visited with the First Family, also at home on the refuge (until fall migration).

Fall 2006 First Migration:
On October 28, DAR chick #26-06 left Wisconsin with #28-06 on their first migration — moving too fast for the ground tracker! PTT readings from #28-06 for Oct. 29 and 30 showed him in southern Indiana! A roost check on t October 30 confirmed that #26-06 and #28-06 stayed together. They were seen Oct. 31 and again Nov. 25 in Indiana, feeding mainly in harvested cornfields with hundreds of sandhill cranes. On December 4 they continued migration to Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge, in Tennessee.

They left Hiwassee December 7 and were detected Dec. 8 in FLORIDA. They are moving around a bit, but staying in areas where the new Eastern flock spends the winter. (All four 2006 DAR chicks arrived in Florida on the same day!)

DAR chicks 26-06 and 28-06 were with wintering sandhill cranes in Pasco County, FL at the end of December. On Jan. 12 they flew to the Chass pen site for a quick visit before flying off to a Lake in Hernando County.

Spring 2007: Began migration (with #28-06) from Pasco County, FL on March 24.
They flew to Thomas County, Georgia that day. They roosted in Tennessee on the nights of March 25 and 26. They were grounded by rain and poor migrating conditions in Davies County, Indiana for the rest of the week. On April 1 the two separated. DAR 26-06 remained behind while DAR 28-06 continued migration to Pulaski County, IN.

Sad news came 12 days later. DAR #26-06 was found dead at the edge of a lake in Daviess County, Indiana, on April 13. He apparently died from a neck wound inflicted by a predator. He had last been observed alive at the same site on the previous afternoon. The carcass was sent to the National Wildlife Health Center, Madison, Wisconsin, for necropsy.


Last updated: 4/17/07

Back to "Meet the Flock 2006"

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