Photo: John Cullum

Meet the 2008 DAR Whooping Crane Chicks!
Crane DAR #31-08 (831D)

Date Hatched

June 5 , 2008



Egg Source:

Leg Bands


Left Leg Right Leg



(All bands 1.5 inches)

  • Read more about the raising and naming of the DAR chicks.

    *Scroll to bottom for most recent history.*

Personality and History

The biggest and most mature bird in this year's DAR group, and the most dominant. Used to be a bit selfish, but now interacts well with other birds close in age. As of August 22 he was very close to fledging, and practices by flapping wings often.

At the end of August he showed symptoms of respiratory illness and was put on medication.

He was released on Necedah NWR with #32-08 on October 18th. On October 22 these two were joined northern end of the refuge by flockmates DAR #35-08, 36-08 and 38-08. These five DAR chicks remained together on the northern end of the refuge. Signals from the birds’ radio transmitters sometimes indicate that adult Whooping cranes may be interacting with these chicks, but their remote location means no one usually sees this.
Fall weather in Wisconsin was unusually warm. On November 1, ICF Tracking Interns Eva Szyszkoski and Binga Elger checked on the five DAR cranes located on a remote part of the Necedah NWR. The area is quite difficult to get to. Binga took this photo of the DAR cranes and adult whooping crane #401. Many sandhill cranes were also with the whooping cranes, but the sandhills flushed when the costumed biologists entered the scene.
Photo Binga Elger, ICF

After the death of # 35-08, DAR 31-08 was captured so he could get the PTT transmitter band and colors that #35-08 had been wearing.

Fall 2008 — First Journey South as a DAR Crane: On November 17 DAR chick #31-08 began migration with experienced adult #216 and DAR flockmates 32-08, 36-08, and 38-08. That night the small group roosted near Ogle County, Illinois! They were still in northern Illinois as of Dec. 1. On Dec. 5 they arrived in Lawrence County, Tennessee.

Spring 2009: #31-08 (and presumably 32-08, 36-08, 38-08 and 216) began their migration north from Lawrence County, TN on March 17th or 18th. PTT data indicated that he (and probably the others) stopped in Gallatin County, IL on the 18th and Rock County, IL on the 20th. The group likely reached home on the night of March 22, as all were confirmed at Necedah on March 23! He wandered during the summer and was seen in Columbia County, WI with DAR 36-08 and DAR 38-08 in September.

Fall 2009: Last seen in Wisconsin, together with DAR 36-08 and DAR 38-08, November 10. The three migrated together and data from DAR 31-08's transmitter on the night of Nov. 11 showed them in Winnebago County, Illinois. They were less than 20 miles from where the Class of 2009 was camped. The three birds completed migration to their previous wintering location in Lawrence County, Tennessee, on November 27. Then they moved. According to PTT readings for #31-08, they returned to northwestern Alabama (Lauderdale County) by February 13, and then to Colbert County by the night of February 18.

Spring 2010: DAR 31-08 and DAR 38-08 moved from Colbert County, Alabama, back to Lawrence County, Tennessee, by the night of March 5. A PTT reading from DAR 31-08 confirmed he was back on the Wisconsin nesting grounds March 24 and trackers assumed DAR 38-08 was with him but she was seen later with another male.By April 20 Eva said, "Unfortunately he does not have a female to befriend and has moved back to Columbia County near where he spent last summer."

Fall 2010: He was on Necedah NWR on September 25 but reported September 28 [with 712, 717 and 31-08 (DAR)] in Columbia County, Wisconsin. These three cranes were in Shelby County, Illinois on Dec. 6. Two other cranes (#416 and #904) had joined them, and they were detected together in flight through western Kentucky on that same day. Crane 31-08 (DAR) completed migration and wintered in Polk County, Florida with #712 and #717.

Spring 2011: Departed Florida sometime between March 4-7 and completed migration to Necedah NWR area by March 21. Built a nest with #27-05 and the pair was incubating by April 18. The nest failed but one fertile egg was collected on April 29. No further nesting attempts this summer. The pair stayed mainly mainly in Wisconsin's Juneau County Forest.

A sad announcement of their death came on July 7 when the carcasses of this breeding pair were fouind on their summer territory in Juneau County Forest. Both carcasses were sent to the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison for necropsy.

Last updated: 7/19/11

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