Photo: Brian Clauss, PWRC
Meet the 2008 Whooping Crane Chicks!
Hatch-year 2008 of the Eastern Flock

Crane # 830

Date Hatched

June 15 , 2008



Egg Source: Calgary Zoo

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:
Chick #830 was the last of the class to hatch. She was also the latest hatch in the history of the ultralight-led chicks for the new Eastern flock. Barb says that #830 and #829 (the two youngest in the Class of 2008) are little buddies. They walk together and get trained together. On July 14 Barb said, "#830 is our little munchkin in the group. Seems so tiny. She is a real cutie and the group's little "peeper." Every group has one, and in group three, she is it. She has become a little more independent lately, leaving the costumed technician to explore the large outdoor pen where the group is currently being socialized. We are happy that she has become a little less clingy. At the end of July Barb noted, "She is so good about staying away from any trouble that may be brewing with the other birds. She always knows where every bird is and where she needs to be. She's like a little navigator trying to stay in calm waters. When I look at her watching the other birds, I can see the little wheels turning in her head, planning her next move. It's quite comical to think of how she just squeaks through all the commotion that may occur."

Notes from "flight school in Wisconsin:
Arrived at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge July 29 in cohort 3, the youngest group in the Class of 2008. Pilot Brooke complimented her by saying, "Little 830 is every inch the princess. She literally glides from one end of the wet pen to the other without dipping so much as a toenail in the water."
She weighed 4.3 kg at her pre-migration health check.

She is always a sleepy bird. She would rather sleep than train with her group. Some days Bev has to wade out into the wet pen to poke #830 and wake her up when the ultralight comes to get her group of chicks for training.

#830, Brooke's "little princess"
Photo Operation Migration
First Migration South: Chick #830 left Necedah NWR for her first migration on October 17, 2008. Find day-by-day news about the flock's migration and read more about #830 below.

October 25, Day 9: On this no-fly day, #830 investigates Heather's puppet to see if it has any treats to offer.

November 21, Day 36: Crane #830 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

Nov. 26, Day 41: She wasn't very willing to fly today and tried to turn back to the pen upon takeoff. She and 812 and 819 were mavericks the whole distance to Cumberland County, IL. The three uncooperative birds kept the pilots busy, while the other 11 flew well with Richard.


Photo Operation Migration

November 27, Day 42: Much better! She flew all 108 miles without leaving Joe's wing!

December 29, Day 63: Guess who is in the lead? It's #830, the youngest bird — FIRST on Richard's wing!

Photo Richard van Heuvelen, Operation Migration

January 9, Day 74: After being grounded for 9 days in a row, #830 was one of the seven dropouts when they left Chilton County, Alabama. She was crated and driven for the second (Day 57) time during this migration.

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

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 put the group (trackers hope they are still together) in Chambers County, Alabama. While 813 soon left the group, 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 the other five cranes remained together in the area at least until April 7. (See photo) On April 16, crane #830 and her remaining buddies arrived back at Wisconsin's Necedah NWR. Migration complete! Crane #830 spent much of the summer with #824, 827, and 828, as well as with #805 and 812 in nearby Dodge County, WI. The group of four (830, 824, 828, 827) left that location and on September 18 were reported near Horicon NWR in Dodge County. By late October/early November they had been joined by 804, 814, and 818 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.

April 15 in Illinois!
Photo Operation Migration
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: Crane #830 was in the group of seven (see just above) 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 #830 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 finally moved, but to a spot only about a mile from the pen site.

Spring 2010: Departed the Chass pen area on April 5 with the "Chass 9" chicks and subadults #824 and #827. While they did not remain in one group for the whole flight, they ended up landing together in Grady County, Georgia around 6 p.m. On April 6 crane #907took off on her own in the early morning and the group continued migration and roosted the night of April 6 in Jackson County, Alabama. This was just 10 miles from the Tennessee border, and 285 miles from their previous stop. On April 7 they flew 250 miles to Orange County, Indiana where they dropped out early because of deteriorating weather conditions. The group of 11 continued migration to Porter County, Indiana (southeast of Chicago), on April 9. Here they split into a group of eight (#824, 827 and 830, 901, 904, 905, 924 and 929) and a group of three (#913, 919 and 927). Both groups continued the next day (April 10), when the group of eight completed migration Necedah NWR! She was with #828 until the end of April, when she apparently separated from him.

Fall 2010: Adult pair #830 (30-08) and male #211 (11-02) were found in Vermillion County, Indiana on Dec. 2. Hooray for the older crane pair to show young #19-10 DAR (Pepper Jack) the way! They were foraging in snowy cornfields. The adult pair had claimed the DAR introduction site at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge as their territory during the summer, so the young Direct Autumn Release (DAR) chick called Pepper Jack had followed them around and knew them well. Will these three continue together from Indiana to warmer grounds farther south? Yes! Still with young #19-10 (DAR), they were in Cherokee County, Alabama until at least January 26 but were gone when the location was checked on February 1, 2011. The three cranes were reported in Madison County, Alabama at least through February 14 along with cranes 37-09 (DAR), 25-10 (DAR) and 27-10 (DAR).

Spring 2011: Left Madison County, Alabama sometime between Feb. 18-22 in a group with #211 and #19-10 (DAR) and cranes 37-09 (DAR), 25-10 (DAR) and 27-10 (DAR). They were reported in Crawford County, IL on March 8-10 and Mar. 14, and completed migration to Necedah NWR by March 21. She and male #211 became a nesting pair and began incubating on April 16. Their nest failed May 12 and they did not re-nest.

Fall 2011: Female #830 (or 30-08) migrated to her wintering location in Vermillion County, Indiana. She was found there with a severely injured leg on January 31. She was captured and taken to the Indianapolis Zoo, where she was euthanized. Her remains were sent to the USGS National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisc. for necropsy

Last updated: 2/20/12
Back to "Meet the Flock 2008"