Photo: John Cullum

Meet the 2008 DAR Whooping Crane Chicks!
Crane DAR #38-08

Date Hatched

June 16, 2008



Egg Source:

Leg Bands


Left Leg Right Leg
  • Read more about raising and naming of the DAR chicks.
    *Scroll to bottom for most recent history.*

Personality and History
"This chick was always very attached to the costume. As a young chick, she developed some leg issues and wasn't originally going to be part of the DAR project. She was brought to Necedah NWR with the other DAR chicks, in hopes that walking around in the marsh would help straighten her leg. As it turns out, she made a miraculous recovery, and is very good at maneuvering through the wetlands and foraging on her own," reports her handler, ICF's John Collum.

She was released on Necedah NWR with #37-08 on October 18th. The next day these two as well as DAR #35-08 and #36-08 flew back to the site where they were all raised. A few days later,#35-08, 36-08 and 38-08 flew to the northern end of the refuge and joined up with flockmates #31-08 and #32-08. 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

Fall 2008 — First Journey South as a DAR Crane: On November 17 DAR chick #38-08 began migration with experienced adult #216 and DAR flockmates 31-08, 32-08, and 36-08. 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: Trackers think #38-08 left on migration with this wintering group of five cranes, since #31-08 began migration north from Lawrence County, TN on March 17th or 18th and PTT data indicated that he (and probably the others) stopped in Gallatin County, IL on March 18th and Rock County, IL on March 20th. The group likely reached home on the night of March 22, as all were confirmed at Necedah on March 23!

Fall 2009: Last seen in Wisconsin, together with DAR 31-08 and DAR 36-08, 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 les 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 38-08 and DAR 31-08 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. She has since been visually confirmed at Necedah NWR and with #703 pretty much ever since they arrived back in Wisconsin. Eva said, "Hopefully this will be a potential breeding pair next year."

Fall 2010: DAR 38-08 and male #703 were photographed at the end of November on the same private lands in Lowndes County, Georgia, where they've spent much time the past couple of winters. The landowners (confidential names) sent this photo.

Spring 2011: Left Georgia March 8 with #703 and they were back in the Necedah, WI core area by March 21. The pair built their first nest and began incubating April 12, but the nest failed on May 4 and they did not attempt another.

Fall Female #38-08 (DAR)and her mate #3-07 (703) were on their winter territory in Lowndes County, Georgia, by December 4. They usually arrive just before Thanksgiving. The Georgia landowners who host them and also pair #7-07 & #39-07 (DAR) on their property each winter said: "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 707 adopted them and it was fascinating to watch her 'mother' them."

Male 703 and his mate #38-08 (DAR). Crane pairs 707 & 39-07 (DAR) and 703 and 38-08 (DAR) on their winter territory, as photographed by the landowner in February 2012. Crane pairs #39-07 (DAR) and #707,  and #38-08 (DAR) and #703.
Female #38-08 (DAR), #703
707 & 39-07 (DAR) and 703 & 38-08 (DAR) in Feb. 2012
Photos Susan Braun
Pair #38-08 (DAR) and #703 are on the right.

Spring 2012: Female #38-08 (DAR) was detected the evening of March 11 on Necedah NWR, migration complete. It was assumed that her mate #703 was with her. Sure enough: This pair had the first confirmed Whooping crane nest of the season! Bev Paulan of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources conducted an aerial tracking flight on March 26 and located pair #703 (3-07) and #38-08 (DAR) incubating on the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge but they abandoned the nest on April 4. They began incubating a second nest April 23 and continued to incubate it past full term. The eggs never hatched and the pair left the nest.

Fall 2012: Pair #38-08 (DAR) and #3-07 (703) arrived about 4 pm on November 29, reported the Georgia landowner on whose farm the pair spends winters. Female #38-08 was with her mate until he disappeared on their wintering territory sometime after December 17, when he was last observed alive. On December 30, 2012, she was seen without him, and she has been regularly observed alone or with the second pair, #7-07 and #39-07 (DAR), that also winters in the area (photo below, right). By early January 2013, trackers suspected the death of #38-08's mate, as he would never just leave her like that. Many alligators had been seen in the area.

Pair 707 and 38-08 in Florida Dec.  012 #38-08 DAR and mate #703 in pasture on wintering grounds Female #38-08 (center) with #39-07 and male 707
Pair #38-08 (DAR) and #703: on far right, female #38-08 remained with pair #707 and #39-07 (DAR) after her mate vanished in mid-December 2012.
Photos Susan Braun

Spring 2013: Female #38-08 (DAR) was spotted March 1, still in the company of pair #39-07 (DAR) and mate #707, 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) has a nonworking transmitter but trackers assumed she completed migration with the other two when they arrived March 29. (Her mate #703, presumed dead after his sudden disappearance in December, has been removed from the population totals.) The territory she occupied with him last summer was taken over this spring by another breeding pair.

Fall 2013: Crane DAR #38-08 was reported Nov. 20 and again Dec. 4 in Jackson County, Indiana with DAR #41-09, whose previous mate was not present with them. By February, the location of female #38-08 was unknown.

Spring 2014: Crane #38-08 DAR was reported with sandhill cranes in Winnebago County, Illinois, on 19 March and completed migration to Necedah by March 23.

Fall 2014: Crane #38-08 DAR, along with Cranes #6-11 and #15-11 DAR moved from their summering territory in Wood County, WI, to a staging location in Marquette County, WI, by September 28. They began migration on Oct. 30 or 3t, and wintered at Wheeler NWR in Alabama.

Spring 2015: DAR #38-08 was still at Wheeler NWR as of June 30! She appeared in good health and uninjured. In mid-July she returned to Juneau County, Wisconsin, where she was spotted on Bev Pauan's aerial survey in August with her old pals, #6-11 and #15-11 DAR.

Fall 2015: DAR #38-08, together with cranes #15-11 DAR and #6-11, was first seen at Wheeler NWR in Alabama on November 20, 2015. They stayed there until Dec. 5, when they moved to McNairy County, Tennessee for the rest of the winter.

Spring 2016: DAR #38-08 (with nonfunctional transmitter) returned with cranes #15-11 DAR and #6-11, who were first reported back in Wisconsin on March 8.

Fall 2016: DAR #38-08 was reported at Wheeler NWR in Morgan County, Alabama in November.

Spring 2017: DAR #38-08 returned to Juneau County, Wisconsin in spring. In a surprising turn of events, she and another female (#15-11 DAR) were seen sitting on a nest when Wisconsin DNR pilot Veverly Paulan spotted them on May 12! This is anomalous behavior and the only explanations the team has been able to come up with are: One of the genders is inaccurate, OR they're incubating eggs that are infertile or not living, OR a nearby bachelor male paid a visit. Pilot Bev will continue to monitor the nests as time permits to see how they progress. Stay tuned!

Last updated: 5/15/2017

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