Personality and History
Migration Training:Despite starting out as a "pee-wee," 707 became a big strapping (and dominant) adolescent. He came to Wisconsin for flight school on June 19 in cohort one, the 8 oldest chicks. By July 24 he was flying at least part of the length of the grass runway, with just four birds flying stronger and longer than him. By SEptember he was doing great and was way ahead of the other chicks in a surprising way: his voice started changing! His voice is getting deeper, and he is making fewer "chick cheeps." Instead, he "purrs" like the crane contact call that he hears from the puppets and the loudspeaker on the ultralight plane.
Crane 707 is the first of the 17 chicks to start getting his adult voice. His voice began changing from a peep to a honk at the second stop of the migration! He has been a good flyer and follower, doing no mischief and being just a great bird.
In December on a no-fly day, Megan had the birds out when an animal came over (we'll say it was a turkey). The rest of the group started walking towards it, but 707 was separated from the group. He started alarm calling and came over to her. She thinks he wanted to help Megan bring the others away from "danger." Megan said, "I could see right down his throat, which was pretty neat."
Crane 707 has completed every single flight without dropping out. Arrived on the wintering grounds January 28, 2008 after the longest migration in the UL flock's history.
Spring 2008, First Journey North: Began migration from Florida March 25 in a group of six flockmates and made it to Worth County Georgia. Four of the six stayed together (#707, #703, #709 and #714) and resumed northward migration on March 26, to Bledsoe County, Tennessee. On March 28, #707 left the group and joined up with #710 and 722. The three migrated to Morgan County, Indiana on April 8. On April 9 they were migrating, and by April 10 they arrived in Jasper County, Indiana. On April 12, PTT data indicated they were in Lake County, Illinois. On April 13 they moved to McHenry County, Illinois, 30 miles west of their previous roost. They remained there through April 19. The group resumed migration on April 20 or 21. On April 21 they passed east of Necedah NWR and roosted that night in Waupaca County, Wisconsin. At 9:30 a.m. on April 23 they headed towards Necedah NWR, landing in nearby Jackson County at approximately 4:30p.m.: MIGRATION COMPLETE! He wandered all summer, and spent time in southeastern Minnesota. PTT readings in September showed he was still there with #703, 39-07 (DAR), and 42-07 (DAR).
Fall 2008: #707'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. The group wintered in Lowndes County, Georgia.
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 of March 22 as they migrated north. Confirmed
back on Necedah NWR in Wisconsin by March 26-27. On
April 22 nest building was confirmed for #707 and
DAR 39-07. This is a good sign, but they are still
too young to lay eggs. Next they wandered back
into southeastern Minnesota, where they spent much
of last summer and fall — but they returned
to the core area in Wisconsin between wanderings.
Fall 2009: Male 707, along with female DAR 39-07, was reported in Waseca County, MN in early October. Based on PTT readings for DAR 39-07, they remained there throughout the month; however, no visual sightings of the pair were reported. Further PTT readings for DAR 39-07* indicated that she and #707 were still present in Steele County, Minnesota, on the night of November 24, but that migration had begun by November 30, when they were at an overnight stop in McLean County, Illinois. They continued migration on December 3 and roosted that night in Greene County, Indiana. They departed on Dec. 4 and completed migration to their previous wintering grounds in Lowndes County, Georgia, on December 7.
Spring 2010: PTT readings from March 30 indicate that female #39-07 DAR, the mate of #707 (hereafter to be known as #7-07 according to WCEP naming convention), is back in the area of Necedah NWR in Wisconsin and trackers assume male #7-07 is still with her. By April 20 the pair had moved back to Minnesota. They came back to Wisconsin by the end of April but continued to wander back to Minnesota. They were reported in Minnesota's Goodhue County on September 13 and were later observed in flight headed SW.
Fall 2010: Male 7-07 and female #39-07 (DAR) were seen in Minnesota's Le Sueur County on Nov. 12. By Nov. 29 they had completed migration to Lowndes County, Georgia. Here they are in the same location as #3-07) and #38-08 (DAR). The landowner sent this photo to Operation Migration:
Spring 2011: Began migration from Georgia March 8. Male #7-07 was reported back in the Necedah NWR area by March 21 with mate 39-07 (DAR). They soon built their very first nest and began incubating two eggs April 25. Their nest and eggs failed May 4.
In September the pair was again reported in Rice County, Minnesota. They have a history of moving into Minnesota in the summer or fall every year (except for last 2010 when they molted and were unable to fly for about 6 weeks). Tracker Eva says: "They will most likely begin migration south from Minnesota and will not return to Wisconsin before then." Sure enough, they were reported in Le Sueur County, Minnesota, on October 2-5.
Fall 2011: Male #7-07 and his mate #39-07 (DAR) were on their winter territory by December 4, according to the Georgia landowners who have hosted them for the past four years. The pair usually shows up just before Thanksgiving. This year, due to drought conditons, they have started staying at a nearby pond. The landwowner wrote: "In the four years that they have been coming, we have worked hard to maintain and encorage 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 haven''t seen them this year." Also sharing this territory are Cranes #39-07 and 7-07. The femail "adopted the Sandhills and it was fascinating to watch her 'mother' them," said the landowner. By early February, the two pairs of Whooping cranes had come back from the neighboring pond, much to the delight of the landowner.
Spring 2012: Male #7-07 and his mate #39-07 (DAR) were detected on March 11 on Necedah NWR, migration complete! On April 15 tracker Eva observed one bird standing and preening on what looked like a nest platform while the other bird foraged nearby. Their nest with two eggs was confirmed on April 17! The eggs should have hatched on May 16. On May 21, trackers reported that one of the two eggs was brought back to ICF where the egg was found to be infertile. The pair continued to incubeate the other egg but it never hatched and the pair left the nest: No chicks this summer.
Fall 2012: Pair #7-07 and #39-07 (DAR) arrived about 4 pm on November 29, reported the thrilled landowner on whose farm they spends winters in Georgia. They hang around the pasture most of the time. The pals that arrived with them, pair #3-07 and #38-08 (DAR), come and go from the pasture. After Dec. 17, the group was missing male #7-07 (his fate is unknown) but his mate remained with pair 7-07/39-07 (January photo below, right).
Spring 2013: Male #7-07 and his mate #39-07 (DAR) were spotted March 19 near Pecatonica, IL. on their spring migation north! They left Georgia the previous week, and were reported back at Necedah NWR on March 29! Female #38-08 (DAR) was migrating with them and likely returned with them too. The pair was late in nesting but did not hatch out any chicks. Two eggs were recovered from their nest after they incubated them for a full five days beyond the expected hatch date, but eggs were not viable.
Fall 2013: Male #7-07 and his mate #39-07 (DAR) were "home for Thanksgiving," reported the Georgia landowner on whose land the crane pair has a winter territory. The pair arrived Nov. 20. "We have made sure they will be happy on the pasture and won't feel the need to investigate elsewhere this year. One area is very marshy, with deep enough water in another part and plenty of high-and-dry areas in between."
Last updated: 2/19/14
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Journey North is pleased to feature this educational adventure made possible by the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).