Meet the 2009 Whooping Crane Chicks!
Hatch-year 2009 of the Eastern Flock

Crane # 910 (#10-09)

Date Hatched

May 9, 2009



Egg Source

Calgary Zoo, Canada

Leg Bands

(Attached after reaching Florida)

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.

Personality, Early Training
#910 in his pen while watched by Sadie, one of the Patuxent role-model cranes.
Photo Operation Migration

Notes from the captive breeding "hatchery" at Patuxent WRC in Maryland:

At first chick 910 followed 905 like a shadow! He is also very cooperative when following the trainer and puppet back to his pen after ground school training. He must like his pen. One day when he saw his pen in the distance he started running for it! When outside, 910 likes picking apart a pile of dried grass in his ongoing search for worms. He grabs a beak full, shakes it to shreds, and then goes into the leaf pile for another beak full.

He was soon paired with 910 for socializing and soon they were spending days and nights together, doing just fine in the pond, grass and pen. These two will be part of Cohort One, the oldest and the first group of birds to be shipped to Wisconsin for flight school before migration in October.

Cohort 1 FLYING Aug. 17 Photo Bev Paulan, Operation Migration

Notes of Flight School in Wisconsin:
He was flown to Wisconsin with Cohort One chicks on June 25. When they were finally led into their new pen, the tired 910 took a nap. When they awoke, most of the chicks pecked at their new leg bands or even investigated the bands of other chicks. Female 901 and male 910 had a staring contest while they were standing next to each other at the feeder, but one of them backed down and wandered away. That was as close as they came to a conflict. All was peaceful on Day 1 in Wisconsin! In the following weeks he proved to be a good student and, like all the chicks in cohort one, he was flying by July 20. By early August cohort one was flying circles over the training areas. By mid-August they were flying larger and longer circuits. He gained strength and stamina with each practice session. When moving day came on September 16, #910 flew alone with Brooke's ultralight the whole way to the larger pen site where Cohorts One and Two were already living together. Maybe he will remember how nice it was to be the only crane and try for more "solo" flights with the ultralight!

October 11, 2009: Migration has not yet begun but the crane rodeo has. The team hoped to combine training with a flight to a remote part of the refuge that was closer to their fist stopover site. But the Class of 2009 ended up at three different pen sites on the refuge, and the team had to track and find some lost birds, including 910! After dropping out of the morning flight, he wasn't found until late afternoon when Richard was airborne again. His radio picked up 910's signal and quickly zoned in to his location. Richard saw #910 in a clearing in the center of a wooded area to the north and west of the pen site he'd left this morning as the pilots tried to lead the birds away. Although Richard tried to coax him into the air behind his ultralight, the bird wouldn't follow. The only solution was for the crew to come with a crate to box him up and drive him. They brought him to the old pen, where several of his classmates were foraging. The rest of the flock is at the new site in a travel pen. After a crazy day, he must be happy to be with some buddies again!

First Migration South: Chick #910 (and 14 others!) turned back to Necedah NWR when the Class of 2009 left on their first migration on October 16, 2009. They all had to try again the next day to follow the ultralights to the migration's first stopover site, where five flockmates landed on Day 1. Find day-by-day news about the flock's migration and read more about #910 below.
Oct. 22: Chick 910 (and 913) didn’t want to leave the wet pen to come out and exercise today. After some treats, they ran out and flew a few circuits to join their flockmates at the end of the runway by their Necedah pen. Then all eight stay-behind birds were boxed up and driven to Stopover #1! Surprise! Chick 910 (and 913) were the last to go into the new travel pen because they were excited to be running around and playing with clumps of grass. Richard and Bev were very patient. Eventually they got the two playful chicks into the pen. Brian stayed behind to watch over the chicks, and to make sure they all settled in to their portable home. At last all 20 are together again and ready to migrate —when the rain goes away.

Oct. 27:Crane 910 (and several others) turned back again to old Stopover #1 and had to be boxed and driven to Stopover #2.

Nov. 1: Hooray! #910 (and ALL the others!) flew the distance to Stopover #3. No crates needed!

Nov 20: Crane 910 was one of the 16 who flew off on this exercise day and didn't come back! The 16 flew more than 15 miles before Richard located and caught up to them. He then turned them on courseand led them to safe landing at the next planned stopover. Until today, this has never happened since the pilots began leading whoopers south in 2001.

Nov 30: Crane 910 was one of the three birds who flew loyally but then dropped out when he got too frustrated in rough winds to finish. He finished the trip to Stopver #9 traveling by road in a crate.

January 13, 2010, Day 82: Migration complete for the "St. Marks 10:" #906, 908, 910, 911, 912, 914, 915, 918, 925, and 926! Crane 910 flew all but 30 miles of this migration!
Winter at St. Marks NWR: #910 uses his beak to pound open the shell of a blue crab.

Spring 2010, First Journey North: Eight of the St. Marks juveniles left at mid-day March 24 on their first journey north! According to a PTT reading from #908, she (and probably #915, #910, #911, #914, #918, #925 and #926) reached Shelby County, Alabama— about 260 miles from the pen! Their next flight took them an additional 380 miles to Monroe County, IN, where an observer photo confirmed that they were all still together. As of March 29 they had flown another 73 miles to the Fountain County, IN, roughly 70 miles due east of the Piatt Co., IL stopover used during their ultralight-guided journey south last fall. Tracker Eva said a PTT reading for #915 on March 31 put them in Monroe County, Wisconsin. On April 1 Sara picked up their signals in the Necedah area. They successfully completed migration!" HOORAY!!!!!

Fall 2010: Crane 910 successfully migrated and was with #804 on December 23 in Levy County, Florida. They appeared the St. Mark’s NWR pensite in Wakulla County, during late afternoon on January 24 and stayed until at least January 26. They were not welcome because the newly arrived Class of 2010 chicks were there. The two had moved to Dixie County. FL by February 5.

Spring 2011: Began migration March 11 and reported back at Necedah NWR area by March 21. By March 24 he was with female #717 in Monroe County. (#717 has a nonfunctional transmitter and cannot be tracked.) They stayed at this location into April.

Fall 2011: He was seen on Nov. 5 in a corn field in Juneau County, WI with other Whooping cranes and his companion, the injured female #717. The two have sometimes returned to one of the pools on the Necedah refuge to roost, and male #910 (#10-09) seemed very protective of her. His mate recovered and the two migrated and wintered in Greene County, Indiana.

Spring 2012: Male #10-09 summered on territory with mate #17-07.

Fall 2012: Pair #10-09 and #17-0 migrated south after 15 October to Green County, Indiana, where they had arrived by 29 October. They remained for the winter. t

Spring 2013: Male #10-09 began spring migation with his mate #17-07, but she left him in Sauk County, Wisconsin and comlpleted migration before him. He arrived alone on March 30 at Necedah NWR.

Fall 2013: Male #10-09 was likely among seven Whooping Cranes reported in Rutherford County, Tennessee, on January 24 and in a group of seven reported in Franklin County, Tennessee, on January 29. "We assume these are the same birds," said ICF tracker Eva Szyszkoski. "Based on band reports they are likely birds 12-09, 12-03/29-09, 18-09/35-09 and 10-09/17-07, although not all have been confirmed yet." His mate (#17-07) was not with him all winter.

Spring 2014: Male #10-09 was confirmed back at Necedah NWR on March 28, when he was seen with female #12-03, but he soon was paired up again with his former mate #17-07. (The two had wintered at separate locations.) They nested, and the nest was still active as of April 30 but failed in May when parents abandoned it.

Fall 2014: Male #10-09 and mate #17-07 left on migration from the Necedah area on Nov. 8th. The pair spent winter in Greene County, Indiana.

Spring 2015: Pair #10-09 and #17-07 were reported back on their Wisconsin territory by the date of the March 25 aerial survey. On May 11 they hatched chick W3-15! The photo below was taken from the air on June 8, and the chick survived the summer and fledged. The chick, a female, was captured and banded before fall migration.

W3-15 and parents

Fall 2015: Male #10-09 and mate #17-07 were seen on their winter territory in Greene County, Indiana by late November.

Spring 2016: Pair #10-09 and #17-07 returned to their Wisconsin territory and nested. On June 7, male #10-09 was seen standing on a nest with two eggs visible. The nest failed so there were no new chicks for this pair in summer 2016.

Fall 2016: Pair #10-09 and #17-07 migrated south to Green County, Indiana in early November.

Spring 2017: Pair #10-09 and #17-07 returned to their territory in Juneau County, WI. and were nesting by early Aprii. The eggs from their first nest were collected for the Forced Renesting Study. The pair re-nested and were still incubating on June 5, 2017. W18-17 hatched on June 15 and was last seen on June 22.

Last updated: 7/03/17

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