hatching at ICF, this chick was nicknamed "Wingnut" by
caretakers, but her real and only official name is DAR 39-07. DAR
had some damage to her bill from running into the fence when
she was afraid.
and DAR 43-07 were released together October 30, 2007 on Necedah
NWR with adult Whooping Crane #102. That night she roosted
in the day pen marsh. She later joined five other DAR chicks
that were still on the refuge. These six stayed together the
rest of the week. They roosted each night at Site 3 with adult
female #102. This DAR group moved around to other ponds on
or near the refuge during the day. They associated with adult
pairs #211/217 and #309*/403 sometimes. Other times they were
with Sandhills, or alone.
chicks #39-07, 37-07,
and 44-07 roosted
with adult #102 on the night of Nov. 5. That's a good
sign that maybe they'll follow her south!
29 in Illinois. Click to enlarge.
Photo Richard Urbanek ICF Tracking Team
Migration South: Nov.
6, 2007: The group of 6 DAR chicks joined
Cranes #309 and 403 and sandhill cranes at
another spot on Necedah NWR. Several other adult Whooping
about 200 sandhill cranes were also nearby. And then the
6 young DAR birds did a surprising thing: they began migration,
all by themselves and with no adult whooper or sandhill crane
to lead the way! The chicks took off in 20 mph NNW winds
partly cloudy skies. They flew south 214 miles and landed
to roost in a small pond in a harvested cornfield in Peoria
Illinois. They resumed migration Dec. 5 after their roost
pond became frozen. With tailwinds, they flew 167 miles and
landed to roost in Clinton County, Illinois. (See
December 11, 2007, the six off-course cranes were captured
and moved to Tennessee by the ICF tracking team so they could
easily find cranes to follow south. But on December 17, DAR
females 39-07 and 43-07 flew to Alabama. They stayed until
December 23, when they returned and wandered around the Hiwassee
area for the rest of December and into January.
2008 and First Unassisted Migration North: Began
migration March 16 from her wintering grounds in Meigs Co,
Tennessee along with DAR 37-07, 42-07, 43-07, 44-07, and
46-07. They made good progress, roosting for one night in
Adair County, Kentucky and then resuming migration the next
day to Clark County, Indiana. On March 21st, they continued
migration to Fayette County, Indiana. PTT
data (satellite data) for DAR 39-07, 44-07, and 46-07 indicated
they finally moved again on April 16. The group proceeded
to Tuscola County, Michigan. They were were stil there as of
mid May, despite some spring wandering. (On May 14 PTT readings
indicated that 39-07 moved to Gladwin County, Michigan. She
returned to the Tuscola County site by May 16 and so
had the other wanderers.) On June 2 trackers traveled
to the cranes' location to try to capture them all and bring
them back to Wisconsin. Only one crane, #37-07, was successfully
captured and returned. The tracking team returned June 10
and caught 39-07 and 2 others and brought them back to Wisconsin!
She wandered at first and then spent most of the summer
in southwestern Minnesota.
PTT readings in September showed
she was still there, along with males #703 and
707, and female 42-07 (DAR).
2008: A high-precision PTT reading for female #39-07
(still in the Minnesota group with #703, 707 and DAR 42-07)
indicated a migration stop near St. Clair County, Illinois,
on the night
16. The group wintered in Lowndes County, Georgia.
Spring 2009: PTT
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. She
was confirmed back in Wisconsin by March 26-27. On
April 22 nest building was confirmed for
DAR 39-07 and crane #707.
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.
2009: DAR 39-07 was reported in Waseca County,
MN, along with #707 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. Later PTT readings
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
in Lowndes County,
Georgia, on December 7.
2010: PTT readings for #39-07 DAR from March 30 indicate that she
is back in the area of Necedah NWR in Wisconsin. Trackers assumed
(hereafter known as #7-07, per WCEP naming conventions) was still with her and by April 20 the pair had moved
back to Minnesota—but then later came back to Wisconsin.
In July the tracking team captured her and removed her PTT. Sara
said, "Now instead of that white PTT she has WGW on her
on her right leg." Cranes #7-07 and #39-07* (DAR) were reported
in Minnesota's Goodhue County on September 13
and were later observed in flight headed SW.
2010: Female #39-07 (DAR) and her mate #7-07 were
seen in Minnesota's Le Sueur County on Nov. 12. By Nov. 29
they had migrated to Lowndes County, Georgia. Here they are
in the same location as 3-07 (formerly #703) and #38-08 (DAR). The
landowner sent this photo to Operation Migration:
2011: Began migration
from Georgia starting March 8. Female 39-07 (DAR) was reported back
in the Necedah NWR area by March 21 with male #7-07. They soon
built their very first nest and began incubating two eggs April
and eggs failed May 4.
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.
2011: Female #39-07 (DAR) and her mate #7-07
were on their winter territory in Lowndes County, Georgia by December 4, according to the Georgia landowners who host them and also pair #703 (or
3-07) #38-08 (DAR) on their property each winter. They wrote: "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 haven''t seen them this year. Cranes #39-07 and 7-07 adopted them and it was fascinating to watch #39-07 'mother' them."
#39-07 (DAR) and #7-07
Photo Susan Braun
7-07 & 39-07 (DAR) and 3-07 & 38-08 (DAR) in Feb. 2012
Photo Susan Braun
#39-07 (DAR) and #7-07
Photo Susan Braun
2012: Female #39-07 (DAR) and mate #7-07 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. The pair continued to incubeate the other egg but it never hatched and the pair left the nest: No chicks this summer.
2012: She arrived about 4 pm on November 29, reported the thrilled Georgia landowner on whose farm she spends winters with her mate #7-07. 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. The male (3-07) went missing in mid December but his mate remained with this pair, as shown in the third photo, below.
#39-07 (DAR) and #7-07
Photos Susan Braun
39-07 (DAR) on Dec 1. 2012
|Jan. 2013: Female 38-08 (DAR) (center) remained with the pair after her mate vanished.
2013: Female #39-07 (DAR) and mate #7-07, still in the company of female #38-08 (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 still with them. The pair was late in nesting, but were incubating an active nest on June 4, and still incubating on June 11! The pair did not hatch out any chicks but two eggs were recovered from their nest after they incubated them for a full five days beyond the expected hatch date. The eggs were not viable.
2013: Female #39-07 (DAR) and mate #7-07 were "home for Thanksgiving," reported the Georgia landowner on whose land the pair resides in winter. 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."
2014: Female #39-07 (DAR) and mate #7-07 migrated back to Wisconsin and nested in Juneau County. The nest was still active as of April 30 but abandandoned in May.
2014: Female #39-07 (DAR) and her mate #7-07 migrated to their wintering home and were once again "home for Thanksgiving," reported the Georgia landowners who welcomed these cranes back to their property for the 8th year. With the cranes on arrival Nov. 23 was their adopted juvenile female #19-14, a chick from the parent-reared (PR) program. PR chicks are hatched and raised initially by their captive parents and then later released in the wild near adult pairs in hopes they will be adopted by them and learn the eastern flock's migration route. Chick #19-14 was released near this reliable pair before fall migration. They did indeed adopt her and lead her south to their winter territory. Well done, crane family! "They seem to be awesome parents," observed the landowners.
2015: Female #39-07 (DAR) and mate #7-07 were observed back on territory in Wisconsin by the March 25 aerial survey.