the New 2007 Whooping Crane Chicks!
2007 of the
of Photo: June 17, 2006
Source: Calgary Zoo
Weight 05/08/07: 278 grams
09/05/07: 6.2 kilograms
about the naming system, hatch place in
Maryland, release site in Wisconsin, over-wintering
site in Florida, and leg-band codes.
was an eagle-eye from the start, able to pick up the tiniest
morsels of food from the carpet. He went on his first walk on May
10 with #702 and 703 tried as hard as he could to be taller than
#702—a funny sight! On May 29 he didn't like it when
706 cuddled up to "his" mama (Bev in her costume). He ran
over and drove 706 back in the water and away from Mama with a sharp
to the head! He
came to Wisconsin for flight school on June 19 in
cohort one, the 8 oldest chicks. By July 24 he was flying
strongly beneath the wing of the trike for the entire length of the
grass runway, with a few others keeping up with him.
31 the oldest birds of Cohort 1 flew two circuits with pilot
Chris, with 703 locked right on the wing. Chris said, "I
could have probably taken him
flight." He made steady progress all summer. The oldest chick
in the flock is a good, strong flyer!
Not only is he the strongest, but he's often in first position off the wing of
the plane during training. He can fly farther and longer than any
of the other birds.
day (September 24, when #703's cohort joined with the other two
land. He kept flying! He’d break for home again every time
Joe or Chris managed to get him close to the new pen site. The
two pilots chased #703
back and forth about three times. The bird had been airborne for
41 minutes by the time he finally
landed at his new home. He's got the endurance for migration!
First Migration and Winter South: Chick #703 left Wisconsin for his
on October 13th, 2007. He is the the
oldest, the fastest, and the strongest flier in this
group of 17 young cranes. Find day-by-day
news about the flock's migration and read more details about #703 below.
28, Day 16: During
today's flight, #703 decided
he wanted to lead. Pilot
Richard said, "Pulling
in the bar, I attempted
The other five, not wanting
to be left behind, kept
up. Eventually the trike
and six birds were
fifty miles an hour air
3, Day 22: #703
once again charged ahead of the ultralight in what
his signature move. Today pilot Brook claimed #703
looked back at him with that "Make
My Day" grin on his face as he took over the
lead from the plane. Brooke rose to the challenge,
but #703 seems
to like challenging his human leaders.
4, Day 53: #703's wish to be Top Bird
gave Joe some challenges in today's flight.
Joe said, "Several times during today’s
flight, #703 and I did battle. I bumped him
times, cut in behind him and once even pushed
up hard when he was above the wing. I could
see his shadow flat on the upper surface as
I pancaked him. He slid off the tip and into
the number 3 position, and for the next 20
minutes my job was easier." Joe tells more
bird will drive
you crazy. I’ve never met a more aggressive
Whooping crane. As soon as I walk into the
pen, he begins
stalking me. . .Twice now I have used my
height to back #703 down and then chased
with the beak of my puppet nipping at his
back. His reaction is to poke at some lesser
in a simple case of displaced aggression.
"In the air, 703 is aggressive to the aircraft.
To them we are just another bird. In their formation
flight, the leader is the most aggressive member
who pushes his way
to the front. Most of the birds are content
to hang behind the wing and take advantage
free ride, but #703 can only do that for a few
minutes. Then his rebellious nature takes over
and he begins to fly above, below or in front
of the wing. He calls to the rest of the flock
and leads them off in other directions. If number
#703 is leading, the pilot must work a lot harder
than if any other bird is up front."
12, Day 61: It was a no-fly day, but
a day for exercise. After flying in the misty
air and runiing
around in the rain, it was time for the birds
to go back into the pen. Walt got 13 chicks back
in the pen, including 703, but they didn't want
to be there. #703, being
cleverest, hassled Walt (in costume) while the
others kept sneaking out the door. It was
as if #703 was saying to the rest of the chicks, “I’ll
distract him, you guys go for it!”
17, Day 66: Cranes have good eyesight.
During today's attempt to cross the mountain
"surfing my left leading edge and kept looking
down at the assembly of people, or more likely
the semi-trucks passing by 500 feet below us."
29, Day 68: Crossing the Cumberland
Ridge today, #703 decided to take over the lead
from Brooke— just as he's done on every
flight the two of them have made together! Brooke
"It’s just his thing, I guess, but
he’s good at it. He can maintain
his position with relation to the trike within an inch or two. I only allow him
this privilege when it’s glassy calm. as rough air is too risky. . .He
looked back at me occasionally as if for assurance that he was doing it right,
but of course there’s no need, because he was. Millions of years of evolution
have seen to that. It is I who is the ground-bound student and I am only the
feeblest of visitors in his world. I’m not about to tell him that, however.
At least not until migration is over."
17-18; Days 86 & 87: The birds must
be getting cranky. They were picking on 703 in
be a few scrapes, so the team separated 703
until everyone calmed
down. On the 18th, the thrid no-fly day in a
row, they took pity and let him out first to
happened. Said Bev, "In other words,
he was a good boy."
97: Crane #703 did not make
the final flight (to the Chass pen) today. He
a minor injury a
few days ago and the pilots worried whether he
would be able to fly the distance.
(He probably picked on one or more of his pen
mates once too often and they fought back, or
maybe he ran
the fence in an attempt to get out.) An injured
crane, even though it's the biggest in the flock,
becomes a target for aggression
by the other cranes. They picked on him so much
that the team was afraid for his life. So, after
the Health Team completes the health checks of
2007 at Chass, #703 will be checked. If he gets
the okay, he will be transported to join his
flock mates at
winter home in the space of the larger release
pen — where there should be enough space for
him to avoid the aggression — and, if he
in the dominance structure, at least he can be
accepted back in.
2, 2008: #703 was moved
to the Chass pen site. The team crated
him, moved him in the van to Crystal River, transferred
him to an airboat, and placed him in a pen separate
from his flock mates. Eventually he will be released
with the rest of the birds. After he has recovered
the team hopes he will regain some of his natural
again find a place in the flock. There should be
enough space in the release pen for him to avoid
the birds that pick on him the most, but the winter
monitoring team will watch him closely to keep him
5: #703 rejoined the flock.
he now ranks low in the social hierarchy,
#703 has healed from
his earlier wing and chest injury. "He can
fly quite well now," says Sara. "He flies every
day as he gets
chased out of the pen (usually by #721) and then
spends time outside before either flying back
in or being put back in by the caretakers. He
is bigger than some of the other birds, including
#721, but he no longer has the spirit to fight
back or defend himself. He is very wary around
the other birds. Sometimes
he can be around them without a problem, but
they ofen displace him from
the feeders and the water guzzler."
"#703 is easy to identify by the one loose
feather on his
said caretaker Sara Zimorski. Click on photo
for a larger view. Do you see the feather?
Photo Sara Zimorski
13: "Crane #703 seems to be fitting in better
with the rest of the flock," reports Sara from
the pen site. "He still gets picked on, but it
seems to have decreased. We
find him outside by himself much anymore. He’s
more often in with a small group of birds — or
at least closer to them. Finally, I even saw him
a jab at a bird the other day; he wasn’t
being particularly mean but it was nice to see
a little bit of "attitude" out of him!"
2008, First Journey North: Began
migration from Florida March
25 in a group of six flockmates
and made it to Worth County
Four of the six stayed together
(#703, #707, #709 and #714)
and #710 and #722 flew off
nearby. All six resumed
30, #703 was found alone,
still in Bledsoe County,
Tennessee, but about 5 miles
away from where one of his
group (#714) had
been killed by a predator.
On April 11 #703 continued
his northward migration to
Macon County, TN, where he
was forced to land due to
rain. One night he roosted
in a flock of Canada Geese!
On April 15 Eva tracked him
to Montgomery County,
continued to move April 16
but his signal was lost in
the Chicago area.
Photo Anna Fasoli, ICF Tracking Crew Chief
monitored #703 in
TN April 10.
Eva Szyszkoski, ICF
#703 in Wisconsin!
Photo Anna Fasoli
was next reported in Monroe
County, Wisconsin, on April
He remained at this location
until April 23, when
he flew just southwest of
the refuge. Tracking interns
Eva and Colleen tracked him
throughout the day, and passed
him over to Anna at 1:30 pm.
He continued southeast, and
ended up in Columbia County.
"He will likely remain
at this location for a few
then continue his period of
Anna. His migration is considered
complete, and he wandered in
Juneau County and neighboring
counties. In late May he was
with #412, 512, 627,
628, and 707. He departed this
location by May 26. He wandered
all summer, and spent time
in southeastern Minnesota.
PTT readings in September showed
he was still there with #707,
39-07 (DAR), and 42-07 (DAR).
2008: #703's group
headed south Nov. 15 from
Minnesota. A high-precision
PTT reading for female #39-07
(in the Minnesota group
with #707, 703 and DAR 42-07)
indicated a migration stop
near St. Clair County, Illinois,
on the night of November
16. This group wintered in Lowndes
data from DAR 39-07 (and
presumably her group with
#703, 707, and DAR 42-07)
put her (and probably the
others) in Madison County,
Alabama on the night of
March 19 and in Marshall
County, Kentucky on the night
March 22 as they migrated
north. Confirmed back on
Necedah NWR in Wisconsin
by March 26-27. A Whooping
crane reported in
Big Stone County, Minnesota,
on September 15 was photographed
on 22 September 22 and tentatively
idenfied as #703. He had
last been detected in Wood
County, Wisconsin, on
2009: #703 began
migration on November
3 and was
reported in northwest Indiana
on Nov. 5. A further report
of a single whooper at Hiwassee
Wildlife REfuge in Tennessee
on Nov. 9 was likely this
bird. He was reported
back on his former wintering
grounds in Lowndes
County, Georgia, on November
2010: Male #703 and female
38-08 (DAR) were found together
flooded cornfield in southern
Wood County, WI during an aerial
survey on April 5. In July they
were still together: "Hopefully
this will be a potential breeding
next year," said Eva.
2010: At the end of November,
male #703 was reported
on the same private lands in
Lowndes County, GA, where
he has spent much time in the past
couple of winters. Four
cranes have spent considerable
time on the property of this
landowner over the winter months.
The landowners sent this Thanksgiving
Day photo of #703
as 3-07) with #38-08 (DAR).
2011: Left Georgia
March 8 with #38-08 (DAR)
and they were back in the
WI area by March 21. They
built a nest and probably
April 12. Their nest failed on May
4 and they did not attempt
another nest this summer.
2011: Male #703 (or
3-07) and his mate #38-08 (DAR) were on their winter territory in Lowndes County, Georgia, by December 4! The Georgia landowners who host them and also pair #707 (or
7-07) & #39-07 (DAR) on their property each winter, said: "In the four years that they have been coming, we have worked hard to maintain and encourage an estuary in the back of our pasture and return the land the way it was before we ever moved here. We are now home to several varieties on waterfowl. Last year we even had 3 Sandhill cranes move in, but I havne't seen them this year."
#703, #707 and #39-07 (DAR)
Photo Susan Braun
707 & 39-07 (DAR) and 703 & 38-08 (DAR) in Feb. 2012
#703 and mate #38-08 (DAR)
Photo Susan Braun
2012: When #703's mate, female #38-08 (DAR), was detected the evening of March 11 on Necedah NWR, it was assumed that #703 was with her; he has a nonworking transmitter. Sure enough: This pair had the first confirmed Whooping crane nest of the season! Bev Paulan of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources conducted an aerial tracking flight on March 26 and located pair #703 (3-07) and #38-08 (DAR) incubating on the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, but they abandoned their nest on April 4. They began incubating a second nest April 23 and continued to incubate it past full term. The eggs never hatched and the pair left the nest.
2012: He was captured Oct. 23 and his transmitter replaced before migration. His original band colors remain the same. He and his mate #38-08 (DAR) completed migration about 4 pm on November 29, reported the Georgia landowner whose farm they visit in winters along with pair #707 and #39-07 (DAR).
Male #703 (3-07) disappeared on his wintering territory in Lowndes County, Georgia, after December 17, when he was last observed alive. On December 30, 2012, his mate (#38-08) was seen without him, and she has been regularly observed alone or with the second pair that is also wintering in the area. No remains have been found for #703, but by early January 2013, trackers suspected his death. ICF's Eva Szyszkoski noted, "There is no way he would just leave his mate like that," and he was removed him from the population total
to "Meet the
Journey North is pleased to feature this educational
adventure made possible by the Whooping
Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).