Meet the New 2006 Whooping Crane Chicks!
Hatch-year 2006 of the Eastern Flock

Crane # 611

Date Hatched

May 18 , 2006



Date of Photo: May 28, 2006

Egg Source: Audubon Species Survival Center, New Orleans

Permanent Leg Bands

Weight 9/06/06: 5.4 kg
  • 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

Migration Training: Chick #611 was the first bird to come from the Audubon Species Survival Center in New Orleans. She came to Wisconsin for flight school on July 6 in cohort two, the 5 chicks in the middle of the birth order. Very hot, dry weather meant days off with no training, and #611 wanted to stay in the pen when they trained again on July 18. Finally 611 out by herself to stand on the runway south of the pen. But she also wanting to go to the swamp like a few of the other chicks did! Later, thanks to treats of grapes tossed by the puppet, the pilots were able to get all five chicks to follow. When they got back to the pen, all the chicks copied #611 and tried to go into the swamp!

On July 28, #611 was flapping hot on the heels of the trike as always. A great follower, it looks like she'll soon be a great flyer too. But she's still too fond of the swamp by the pen. Sometimes she escapes to spend some of her training time in the swamp. Then she comes back and follows for only a half circle. By mid August she was taking much more interest in the trike (ultralight plane) because she had figured out SHE could fly, to—and it was FUN!

The scary part for #611 was the stampede to the gate when the chicks heard the trike comingto pick them up for training. She stayed in the corner away from the gate, afraid to join the birds waiting eagerly for the gate to open. She's very submissive. Laurie saw the problem. Like #611, Laurie remembered feeling left out and rushed as a school girl. She wanted to help the scared chick. Day after day, Laurie (always in costume) used her puppet (and treats!) to coax #6ll to come nearer the gate and join group.

October 4 bought a new kind of lesson. The pilots took the birds to a travel pen on they'd set up on another part of the refuge. They wanted to give the cranes a practice session going in and out of the travel pen, just like they'll do on migration. But #611 would NOT go into the pen, despite a mountain of grapes to bribe her. She liked the runway though. The team worries about getting this very submissive chick to be a good follower of the plane during migration.

Marie says, "You you can rest assured that if one of the chicks is pecking at a costume or a boot, it is this little girl." Will she become less submissive during migration?

First Migration South
: Chick #611 left Wisconsin for her first migration on October 5th, 2006. She was one of the 17 birds who flew the whole first leg of the journey and landed safely at Stopover #1! Read day-by-day news about the flock's migration to see what happens.

Oct. 23: After 7 days of being penned, #611 flew with Richard's trike and and 3 other cranes. A mile from Stopover #4, she decided to land on her own. Richard landed with the other three, walked them to their travel pen, and then returned for the wayward #611. See More.

Nov. 17: They'd been penned for When today's lead pilot, Chris, swooped in and did an air pick up, #611 hung back. The trike and the rest of the chicks were half way along the runway before she scurried to catch up.

January 12, 2007: Moving day! Chick #611 followed the ultralight planes Jan. 11 when the pilots tried to move the 18 chicks from the layover site to "Chass." She was one of only 6 birds that cooperated! Hooray! Migration complete.

Feb. 2, 2006: Crane 611 died when violent storms moved through central Florida during the night, killing all 17 chicks in the pen at Chass. Only #615 somehow managed to escape.

Last updated: 2/4/07


Back to "Meet the Flock 2006"

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