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

Crane # 814 (14-08)

Date Hatched

May 25 , 2008



Egg Source: ACRES

Leg Bands

(Attached after reaching Chass)

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:
It was an eventful day for those who put #814 in his aviary pen for the first time. "Nuts" was the word someone used when they described how #814 acted in his new surroundings. What a peaceful moment for everyone when the chick was finally asleep under its heatlamp! This chick was paired with 815 to start trike training. (A big squabblefest took place when the team tried to train chicks 812, 813, 814, and 815 together. They pecked and pushed each other around so much that the "costumes" had to keep them apart!)

Photo Brian Clauss, Patuxent WRC

Notes from "flight school in Wisconsin:
Arrived at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge July 9 in cohort 2, the middle group in age in the Class of 2008. By August 15 he was flying well. He weighed 6.3 kg at the pre-migration health check Sept. 2.

Chick 814 had an adventure on Sept. 20. He was flying with Chris's ultralight plane and the other cohort 2 birds when he broke away to join Joe's ultralight as he flew nearby. Just then Brooke flew past with the oldest four birds, and #814 decided to join them instead. Joe followed the group (now five birds) to their landing at the pen site of cohort one just in case meanie #810 caused trouble. Bev rushed out of the pen when they landed to help stop #810 from picking on the younger newcomer (#814). But — surprise — the unexpected meeting went well! After a few minutes the four Cohort 1 birds were led back inside their pen. Bev stayed in the pen with them while Brooke and Joe closed the gate and lifted off to lead #814 home.

July in Wisconsin.
Photo Operation Migration
First Migration South: Chick #814 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 #814 below.
Oct. 22, Day 6: Flying at 600 feet altitude with #814 near his wing, pilot Chris wrote: "I sat back and enjoyed the scenery and watched as #814 studied his new surroundings filled with human-made structures. A couple of times he pulled ahead of me, flying just in front of my trike, and I reached out and tickled his toes with my mitten. He climbed up to the leading edge of my wing and discovered the lift that precedes the wings edge. I bumped up the RPM’s a bit on the engine, pulled the bar in and he slid along the leading edge and fell back into the favorable position at the wingtip. We cross the interstate highway a few miles from our destination. The birds usually spook at this obstacle, sometimes even turning back. As expected, 814 became alarmed at all the vehicle traffic and made a rapid climb above me. He soon settled down and joined back up with me as we crossed over the interstate and began a slow descent down to the valley where the travel pen was se tup and waiting. I landed at the pen with #814 still locked on my wing. I left the recording of the brood call playing over my loud speaker to help convince the other birds, who were now circling overhead with the other pilots, to land."
Oct. 29, Day 13: October 29, Day 13: #814 didn't take off with the other 13 and Richard, but Chris swooped in and #814 then flew with Chris's plane.

Later, flying with Joe's plane, crane #814 (with 828 in the lead) finds finds the "sweet spot" close to the trike wing, where he can glide on air currents off the trike's wing rather than flap his own wings. Nice ride!

Photo Joe Duff, Operation Migration
November 21, Day 36: Crane #814 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 814 and 805 are getting their adult voices. "When they try to squeak they sound like a honky, raspy goose!"

January 23, 2009, Day 88: Migration complete for the "Chass 7" of #803, 804, 814, 818, 819, 824 and 827! SEE PHOTOS >>

Winter at Chass Pen: He became an outcast in late February, getting chased and picked on by the other birds, especially # 804 and 824, and sometimes #803. "When we're out there we try to defend him," said Sara, "but we have to be careful that this extra attention doesn't then attract the other birds towards him — resulting in more chasing and attacking. Last night as the birds were settling down to roost #814 walked around to the back shore of the pen. Then, for at least 5 minutes, he jumped and danced by himself. He's always been a bird who jumps and dances around a lot so I was glad to see him still doing this, but really glad he had the sense to do this away from the other birds, or they would surely have picked on him."

Photo Sara Zimorski
2009 First Unaided Spring Migration: Cranes 804, 814, 818, and 819 left Florida on March 24 — the first four to leave Florida for Wisconsin on their first unaided migration! On March 31 The PTT on #818 indicated she was in Peoria County, IL. Tracking this group, Eva got to that location April 1 but found that crane #819 has separated from the others. The three continued migrating April 1 and 804, 814 and 818 were reported April 7 in McHenry County, Illinois. The three reached Necedah NWR on April 16! They stayed in the area or nearby Dodge County all summer. By late October/early November 814, 804, and 818 joined with #828, 824, 827, and 830 there to make a group of seven. These seven were a mix of birds who had spent the winter at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) and birds who’d spent the winter at Chassahowitzka NWR. This group remained together in Dodge County through the last check on December 4.
Despite being chased away by the winter monitoring team, the group of adults kept coming back to the pen as though they want to live there with the ten chicks of the Class of 2009
Photo ICF
Fall 2009: (Also see above) Crane #814 was in the group of seven who moved to Dodge County, WI in late fall and stayed through at least December 4. None of these birds were seen or heard from again until the evening of December 12 when #828 turned up by himself at the Hiwassee State Refuge in Tennessee! Where were #814 and the others? The answer came on January 8 when some workers at Chassahowitzka NWR went out to the pen to do some work before the Class of 2009 would arrive, and found the 6 Whooping cranes just outside the pen! The group of 6 consisted of all 5 surviving Chassahowitzka NWR birds from the Class of 2008 and #830, who had wintered at St. Marks NWR. Trackers expected the group to stay for a day or two and then move elsewhere, which usually happens when birds from the previous year complete their first unassisted migration. They moved, but to a spot only about a mile from the pen site.
Spring 2010: Cranes #804, 814, and 818 remained on Chassahowitzka NWR until they began migration on March 10. They were reported in Barbour County, Alabama, on March 13. PTT readings were later received for #818 nearby in Stewart County, Georgia, on the nights of March 18-20. The three were detected on southern Necedah NWR or just south of the refuge on April 1!
Fall 2010: Cranes #814 and #824 (now 14-08 and 24-08 according to WCEP naming protocol) remained on Horicon NWR, Dodge County, through at least November 10. Only #814 was detected on the evening of November 25 but he was gone by December 1. His signal was detected in Citrus County, Florida, on December 20. where he wintered along with #824 and #827.
Spring 2011: Cranes #814 and #824 (now 14-08 and 24-08) began migration from Citrus County, Florida, between February 20 and 23. They were at a Morgan County, AL stopover March 11 at least through March 14. He was detected on Necedah NWR on April 6! He was seen building a nest with #824, but without results.
Fall 2011: Cranes #814 and #814 (14-08 and 24-08) were found in Wabash County, IL during a tracking aerial search on December 3. They were in in Edwards County by Dec. 22 and observed there again on Dec. 28 but were not there when on January 6.

Spring 2012: Cranes #814 and #824 (now 14-08 and 24-08) arrived back at Necedah NWR on March 24. They abandoned their first nest and re-nested again in April. By May 10 they were acting like they had a chick (W4-12). When observed again on May 21 the pair was off their nest and appeared to be tending their chick (#W4-12). The chick was no longer alive as of the June 15 nest check.

Fall 2012: Pair #814 and #824 (now 14-08 and 24-08) were reported in Richland Co IL on December 1, 2012 and spent most of the winter in Wabash and Edwards Counties, IL. They were there until 26 March 26, 2013, when they left on their northward migration back to Wisconsin.

Spring 2013: Crane #814 (14-08) was confirmed back at Necedah on March 28 and #824 (24-08) confirmed on March 29. The pair was soon nesting. This pair was among only three crane pairs still sitting on a nest on May 7 after a three-day span when all 17 other nests were abandoned, but they abandoned their nest shortly after that. Luckily, one of their eggs rescued by biologists hatched to become chick #9-13 for the ultralight led Class of 2013!

Fall 2013: Pair #14 and #24-08 were reported in Madison County, Alabama at the end of December and remained at least through mid January. ICF tracker Eva observed: "The place looked really nice so I would doubt they would have moved," so we'll soon see if this is their winter territory. 14/24-08 completed migration to Necedah on 31 March.

Spring 2014: Pair #14 and #24-08 completed migration to Necedah NWR on March 31. The pair nested and hatched W6-14 and W7-14 in May! The status was uncertain as of the May 29 aerial survey flight, however, as neither parents nor chick could be found, although a radio signal was being detected.

Fall 2014: Pair #14-08 and #24-08 left the Necedah area on fall migration between Nov. 6 and 9. They wintered in Madison County, Alabama.

Spring 2015: Pair #14-08 and #24-08 completed migration to Necedah NWR and were seen May 22 on a nest. Those eggs were removed by experts for the forced renesting program but they nested a second time and hatched chick W12-15, shown here on June 8, but the chick did not survive the month.

W12 with parents on June 8, 2015

Fall 2015: Pair #14-08 and #24-08 migrated south for the winter.

Spring 2016: Crane pair #14-08 and #24-08 were observed back in the Necedah area on the March 30 aerial survey flight. They were observed nesting on a May 19 survey flight and were still nesting on June 17 but the nest failed. No chicks for them this summer.

Fall 2016: Pair #14-08 and #24-08 migrated south and were observed Nov. 1, 2016 in Richland County, Illinois, together with W10-15 (bandless) and PR 24-13. By December #14-08 was at his wintering site in Morgan County, Alabama.

Cranes 24-13, W10-15, 14-08 (GRW, RW), and 24-08 (RGR,RW) on Illinois wintering grounds
Peter Weber

Spring 2017: Pair #14-08 and #24-08 returned to their Wisconsin territory in Adams County and were nesting by early April. The pair re-nested in Juneau County and were seen incubating on May 12 by Wisconsin DNR pilot Beverly Paulan. Two chicks hatched, W7-17 and W8-17, on or about May 30! W8 was last seen alive June 14. W7 survived, and by the July 18th aerial survey was still doing well in the care of the parents.


Last updated: 7/18/17
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