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

Crane # 32-06 DAR

Date Hatched

June 16, 2006



Egg Source: ICF

Permanent Leg Bands
Left Leg:
Right Leg: PTT
  • 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

The youngest DAR chick, female #32-06 had some crooked toes when she came to Necedah. "She still has one toe we couldn’t correct," says Marianne. "She seemed to grow very quickly and is a slender female. This chick was exercised with #30 and #31 and we called them the trio. She often will rest beside a willow tree or the chick pens or in the night pen, where she hangs out by the post. I think this is mainly for shade, but it also it gives her cover to hide from the older ones who picked on her—especially #29. By the end of August, #32-06 was running and flapping her wings, but she was still a week away from flying. Somehow, she has the ability to get her flock mates to fly even though she's not top in the pecking order.

"Now that the chicks are all flying and are able to more easily get away from predators, we try to leave them in the marsh to forage on their own. This also helps them become more independent. Chick 32 has figured out that we are going to leave and she keeps a really close eye on us!"

Oct. 4, 2006: The DAR chicks had their pre-release health checks.

Oct. 17, 2006: Dr. Richard Urbanek said the DAR birds received their permanent leg bands. Chick #32-06 and the other four will be released as soon as they get used to their new leg bands and transmitters. Their freedom is near! Will they hang out with, and later follow, the older whooping and sandhill cranes to learn their migration route?

October 20: Chick #27-06 (with #32-06) was set free on the Wisconsin refuge where she spent her first months of life. The two newly released chicks didn't return to the pool where they grew up, and remained at the release site to roost. They were hanging out with the older whooping cranes (#311 and #301) who are also at that site. That's a good sign!


Click for larger view of DAR #27_06, DAR #32_06 and adult pair #312 and #316.

Fall 2006: Finally began fall migration on Nov. 30 with #27-06 and adults #316 and #312. An ICF tracking intern tracked the four cranes to Illinois that night. These birds were one of the last groups to leave Necedah NWR. If they stay together, the DAR chickswill have two migration veterans to show them the way! The photo shows them in Kankakee County, Illinois, on Dec. 2, 2006.

The two juveniles separated from the two adults between Illinois and Florida and joined migrating sandhills. The juveniles arrived in Lafayette County, Florida, on December 9. By late December the large sandhill flock left, but #27-06 and #32-06 remained. The two DAR birds completed their migration to Florida in just nine days!

DAR 32-06 apparently died after being seen Jan. 18 and before she was next checked by trackers on Jan. 22. They found her remains on Feb. 6. Bobcat predation is suspected. (DAR 27-06 currently remains alone at the same site.)

Last updated: 2/09/07

Back to "Meet the Flock 2006"

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