Meet the 2008 Whooping Crane Chicks!
Hatch-year 2008 of the Eastern Flock

Crane # 805

Date Hatched

May 9 , 2008



Necedah NWR (egg from the abandoned nest of wild parents # 213 and #218)

Leg Bands

(Attached after reaching St. Marks)

Left Leg Right Leg
  radio antenna
  • Read about the naming system, hatch place in Maryland, release site in Wisconsin, over-wintering site in Florida, and leg-band codes.
    *Scroll to bottom for most recent history.*

Personality and Training:

Notes from the captive breeding "hatchery" at Patuxent WRC in Maryland:
Crane 805 hatched from an egg taken from the deserted nest of the eastern flock's pair #213 and #218, who have never raised a chick but laid eggs that became #602 and #717). He was timid at first. In the few days prior to being shipped to Necedah, #805 started to become a little meanie to #807, 809, 811 and his early pal, #804. This cohort, including the oldest and most unruly of the 2008 chicks, was delivered to Wisconsin on June 25 with lots of warnings to the team that awaited them.



Notes from "flight school in Wisconsin:
Arrived at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge June 25 in cohort 1, the oldest group in age in the Class of 2008.

By mid July he and 803 and 804 were starting to fly in ground effect. On Aug. 15th, pilot Richard reported that new flier #805 took his first first full circuit with the trike! He weighed 6.6 kg at the pre-migration health check on Sept. 2.

On Sept. 25, #805 dropped out of the training flight and soon returned to the runway. In the swamp monster suite, Bev tried to chase the dropout back in the air. After much running, flapping and panting by Swamp Monster Bev, the chick landed in the marsh. He had defeated the swamp monster, who crawled back into the shed! Chick #805 was put in the pen while the other three birds continued to fly. He just wasn't interested in staying with his flock mates that day.

He is a strong flier and ready for migration. On Oct. 8, a day after cohort-mate #810 was removed because of aggressive behavior, the team let 803, 804 and 805 keep #810 company in his pen for the morning and all went well.

#805 in October, 2008

Photo Bev Paulan, Operation Migration

First Migration South: Chick #805 left Necedah NWR for his first migration on October 17, 2008. Find day-by-day news about the flock's migration and read more about #805 below.

Oct. 17, Day 1: After a good take-off, cranes #803, 804 and 805 turned back to familiar territory and dropped out. The ground crew found these three, crated them, and drove them to Stop #1 in the tracking van!

Photo Operation Migration

October 28, Day 12: Male #805 became a good follower. Most days all 14 birds took off. The pilots were very pleased about this!

Photo Heather Ray, Operation Migration

November 21, Day 36: Crane #805 and 12 others flew with Brooke over the Twin Groves wind farm with no problems at 2,000 feet altitude. They flew 114 miles! Today's lead pilot Brooke summed it up: "I don’t know if it was my imagination or what, but I swear our birds looked as proud of themselves as we were of them. They had been in the air 2 hours and 20 minutes, withstood teen temperatures the whole flight, and performed beyond our greatest expectations."
Photo Joe Duff, Operation Migration

At the end of December, Heather reported that 805 and 814 are getting their adult voices. "When they try to squeak they sound like a honky, raspy goose!"

January 9, Day 74: After being grounded for 9 days in a row, #805 was one of the seven dropouts when they left Chilton County, Alabama. He was crated and driven for the second time during this migration.

January 17, Day 82: Migration to St. Marks NWR Complete (cranes 805, 812, 813, 826, 828, 829 and 830)!

Winter at St. Marks: #805 still loves the costume! Bev said he's first in line to greet them when she and Brooke go into the pen at night to check the birds. "He rarely leaves our side. This is a mixed blessing in that we can really give him a good look over, but we are trying to break all the chicks' dependency on us. He also is very curious, always pecking at our costume, boots, and puppet, and he is tall enough to peck at our helmets. He is a very active bird too, always running around When not at our side he is running or jumping around, throwing things into the air, chasing 812, and generally acting like the teen-ager he is." It is hard for him to settle down at night! ( Read Bev's story. >>)

Photo Mark Chenoweth

Spring 2009 First Unaided Migration North: All seven juveniles in the St. Marks cohort started their migration north on March 30! Second-hand reports say that the group took to the air, found a thermal, and were gone on the wind as wild cranes fly. Bev and Brooke jumped in the tracking van to see if they could track them for a while but they lost signal at some point. On March 31 a PTT reading from #813 put her in Chambers County, Alabama. The others may have been with her, but 813 then left the group at some point. The other six stayed together and were reported April 5 in a flooded corn field southwest of Chicago, Illinois. Crane 826 somehow became injured and was rescued by an uncostumed person and taken for medical care, while 805 and the others remained together in the area at least until April 7. On April 16, crane #805 and his 4 remaining buddies arrived back at Wisconsin's Necedah NWR. Migration complete! Crane 805 was with 812 in Dodge County, WI, much of the summer, and they sometimes associated with #824, 827, 828, and 830. They wandered in nearby Sauk, Adams, and Juneau County Wisconsin in the fall.

April 15 in Illinois!
Photo Operation Migration
Fall 2009: Crane 805 (with 812) departed on fall migration from Columbia County, Wisconsin, on December 10.

Spring 2010: He and 812 departed from Columbia County, Wisconsin, on December 10 and no further information was obtained. The signal of 805 was detected March 17, March 24 and again on April 1 at Necedah NWR in Wisconsin, but he was never visually confirmed, so remains unconfirmed.

Fall 2010: Male #805 was declared presumed dead and counted out of the population at the end of 2011. He had been considered longterm missing because no confirmed sighting had been made since Dec. 10, 2009.

Last updated: 1/4/11
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