Personality and History
Migration Training: From the start #733 was a bully, and quickly became the dominant bird in cohort 3 despite being smaller and having a leg problem. He pecked anyone who got in his way until they moved! When he met the other 3 chicks in his group, #733 quickly declared himself the new sheriff. He didn't seek anyone out to pick on, but if he wanted to go somewhere or do something and another chick was in her way, look out! He ignored little #735, which is a good thing as 735 is the smallest of all.
He came to Wisconsin in Cohort 3, the group of 4 youngest chicks that arrived July 18. Despite #733's spells of crankiness, training with Cohort 3 went well. He is one of the two youngest birds and by July 31 was still developing his primary flight feathers. He ran behind the trike with his heavy wings held out, but still unable to fly. (He'll be able to fly when his primary flight feathers grow in.) Chick 733 had foot/leg problems (rotated hocks) that were slow to improve. The team hoped that would change. Even though he and her young pal #735 can't keep up with the others in their group, the two youngsters always try. And they always come up to the trike at the end of the training session.
By mid-August, the team was still concerned over 733's rotated leg, but he was doing very well. Being able to fly relieved stress on the leg caused by running to keep up. By Aug. 22, #733 flew the length of the grass runway!
Chick 733 was not afraid to stand up to the two adults (pair 211 and 217) that visited the runway. He took courage from his bold pal #727. The adults showed aggressive displays, but chicks 733 and pal 727 were bold enough to fly at them with necks stretched out and beaks snapping. The adults got out of their way! (The pilots tried to get between the aggressors so the birds don't hurt one another.) By mid September his leg and foot were much better. He walked well and landed fine. He became one of the better followers, too, always right on the wing. He tried to keep up with the new combined group of nine chicks in all.
First Migration South: Chick #733 left Wisconsin for his first migration on October 13th, 2007. He flew the whole first leg of the journey and landed safely at Stopover #1! Find day-by-day news about the flock's migration and read more about #733 below.
Spring 2008, First Journey North: On April 1 the last five members (733, 713, 712, 706, and 727) of the Class of 2007 began migration from the release site in Florida. They encountered a thunderstorm in late afternoon, shifted westward, and landed to roost in Leon County, Florida on the first night of their journey north. They continued on April 2, and once again afternoon showers made them drop out early. Four of them, including 733, landed in Stewart County, Georgia. (Unfortunately, 727 dropped out about 6 miles south of the other four.) On April 3rd, the four males (706, 712, 713 and 733) continued migration to DeKalb County, Alabama. Rain kept them grounded for several days. On April 5, #733 separated from the group. He continued migration by himself on April 6 to Jackson County, TN and April 7 to Orange County, Indiana. The next day (April 8) he continued migrating north. His signal was lost as he neared Chicago and met with strong winds and rain. Just one day away from Necedah, he was likely to become the second ultralight (UL) bird to finish his spring migration — but trackers had no further signal or sign of him until May 6:
He was seen in Iowa County, Wisconsin in early June. A Whooping crane was spotted in Chippewa County, Wisconsin, in mid August and it turned out to be #733!
Fall 2008: On November 17 crane #733 was detected migrating in southern Wisconsin. He was in Illinois Nov. 17 but was not tracked. Did getting lost for five days in Kentucky last year confuse his memory? Maybe not: he was found in Polk County, Florida on December 31. He was not associating with the other three Whooping cranes at that location during that or later observations.
Spring 2009: Cranes 733, 706, 712, and 713 were still in Polk County, Florida through at least April 4. On April 29, crane 733 wasback in Wisconsin. His signal was heard as he flew in/over/around the refuge briefly. He spent the summer unpaired and was reported in Chippewa County, WI in September.
Fall 2009: 733 was staging with Sandhill cranes in Clark County, WI as of October 26. He was last reported on Jasper-Pulaski FWA, Indiana, on December 6. He was reported with non-migratory sandhills in Polk County, FL, on February 15.
Spring 2010: His nonfunctional transmitter was replaced on February 26 on his Florida wintering area. He remained there with non-migratory sandhill cranes until he apparently began migration on March 28. Aviculturists working in Crane City at International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin, were visited by 733 on April 4! He circled several times, landed in a prairie south of ICF’s breeding facility, circled again and landed right in Crane City right beside the pen of a Whooping crane pair. “He seemed a little too at home in Crane City,” Kim Boardman said. "Aviculturists had to finally