Migration South: Chick #915 left Necedah NWR for her first
migration on October 16, 2009. She was one of only five
in the Class of 2009 to behave and follow the ultralights to the migration's
first stopover site! Find day-by-day
news about the flock's migration and read more about #915 below.
27: She didn't do as well today, and turned back instead
of following the ultralight to Stopover #2. She and several others
had to reach Stopover #2 in a crate, traveling by road.
1: Hooray! 915 (and ALL the others!) flew the distance
to Stopover #3. No crates needed!
20: Crane 915 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.
13, 2010, Day
82: Migration complete for the "St. Marks 10:"
#906, 908, 910, 911, 912, 914, 915, 918, 925, and 926! Crane
915 flew all but 18 miles of this migration!
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 #908,
#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,
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
2010: Remained on Horicon NWR in Dodge County, Wisconsin
at least through October
15 along with the cranes she had been with all summer and a few
others. She and #908, 911, 918, 925, and 929 returned to the St.
Marks NWR release site from an undetermined location on the morning
of December 29 when the five chicks in the Class of 2010 had already
been there for several days. They continued to return to the pen
site periodically but the "costumes" always drove them away.
The group (except for 925 and 929) were found in Leon County, FL
during a survey flight on January 13. They were not found in a search
of the area by ground on February 9.
2011: Crane #15-09 (#915)) was detected SE of Tallahassee, FL, during
a survey flight on March. 11. She was then with #908, #918, #911
and male #829.
2011: Cranes #15-09 (#915), #11-09 ((#911), and DAR birds 34-09, 38-09 and 27-10 were reported in Marshall County, IL on December 8, and signals from #15-09 and #11-09 were detected at St. Marks NWR in Florida on January 2 and 3. They wandered and found a good territory near Tallahassee in a pasture with a herd of cows, and stayed for the next two months.
2012: Cranes #915 (#15-09) and #911 (#11-09) had completed migration to central Wisconsin by March 20. These 3-year-olds built a nest and began incubatin one egg on April 27. Unfortunated, the eggs disappeared by May 6, likely due to predation. This is not surprising for such young and inexperienced parents, so we wish them better luck next spring with more experience behind them!
#11-09 and 15-09 in Florida Photo Lou Kellenberger
2012: Cranes #15-09 and #11-09 arrived at their Leon County, Florida winter home on November 26. The pair makes their territory on private property there. Each evening they arrive to spend the night and every morning they depart for aday of foraging. Before leaving on their day's adventures, they often chase either the cows or the Canada geese that share their winter territory.
2013: Cranes #11-09 and #15-09 began migration March 22 and arrived back in central Wisconsin on April 3. They soon had a nest together but they abandoned the nest in early May, apparently in response to the hatch of black flies in late April. Their eggs were collected, hatched in incubators, and the young cranes were used in release experiments at sites in eastern Wisconsin where there are fewer black flies. The pair did not nest again this summer.
2013: Cranes #11-09 and #15-09 safely migrated to their wintering territory on a pasture with a pond near Tallahassee, Florida. They dropped in at the St. Marks pen site in February!
Spring 2014 : Pair #15-09/#11-09 were seen dancing on March 7 by the landowner on whose "cow pond" they've spent the past three winters. The next day they were no longer there. They were confirmed back at Necedah NWR on April 1 and soon were nesting. The pair hatched chick W8-14 in May! The status was uncertain as of the May 29 aerial survey flight, as the pair and their chick could not be located. (Neither adult has a working transmitter.)
Fall 2014: She was captured and given a new transmitter/colors on the right leg before migration. She and mate #11-09 safely migrated once again to their wintering territory on a pasture with a pond near Tallahassee, Florida, finally arriving on January 3, 2015. "Better Late Than Never," exclaimed the delighted landowner where the crane pair winters. "So VERY happy that our 2 Whooping Cranes have FINALLY returned to their Cow Pond." On the left is male #11-09, strutting his stuff for his female #15-09.
The pair wandered a bit on some night and, surprisingly, were tracked on some nights to a different roosting spot than usual.
Photo Karen Willis