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

Crane # 926 (#26-09)

Date Hatched

June 3, 2009



Egg Source

International Crane Foundation

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

By June 12, #926 was doing great at following the trike in circle pen training. She went half of a lap before the heat of the summer day got too bad. But she developed leg problems. Would she even be able to continue training and go to Wisconsin with the Class of 2009? Yes, they agreed to give her a chance. Good luck, 926!

Arrival in Wisconsin
Photo Bev Paulan, Operation Migration

Notes of Flight School in Wisconsin:
She was flown to Wisconsin with Cohort #3 chicks on July 10. Their first training session as a group was July 15 and 926 did just great. All of the chicks followed the trike and paid no attention to one another. She trained well as the days passed. She came out of the pen, followed the ultralight eagerly, and gobbled up treats when they reached the end of the runway. These youngest birds weren't flying yet but the end of July, but making progress. By mid August, all of cohort 3, with the exception of 931, were starting to fly in ground effect. By the end of August she was airborne with the others, slowly building up her flying time and strength.

Oct. 11: The team hoped to combine training with a flight to a remote part of the refuge where a travel pen was set up. The birds would be closer to their first migration stopover. But several wayward birds had other plans! Female 926 was one of them. She was on the runway in front of her old pen when Erin arrived to put her back in the pen. She spent the night there. along with the other 10 birds who had also come back or didn't want to leave. The other 9 flockmates were at the travel pen at the farther site on the refuge. What a day!

First Migration South: Chick #926 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 #926 below.

Oct. 27: She did it again: followed the ultralight to Stopover #2 with no problems! She was one of only 7 to do so. Yay, #926! This photo was captured from the CraneCam soon after arrival of the seven "leaders."

Nov. 1: Hooray! 926 (and ALL the others!) flew the distance to Stopover #3. No crates needed!

Nov 20: Crane 926 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.

January 13, 2010, Day 82: Migration complete for the "St. Marks 10:" #906, 908, 910, 911, 912, 914, 915, 918, 925, and 926! Crane 926 flew every single mile of this migration without being crated even once.

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: Cranes #926 (#26-09) and 27-06 DAR were found in Grundy County, Illinois, during an aerial survey on December 2. They were detected flying through western Kentucky on December 6 and reported at Wheeler NWR, Morgan County, Alabama, on December 8.

Spring 2011: Crane #26-09 (#926), still with 27-06 DAR, was on her winter territory until at least the morning of March 2. The two were not found there on March 3, but were reported back at Necedah NWR by March 10. They were observed building a nest in May. No chicks.

Fall 2011: Crane #26-09 (#926), with her mate 27-06 DAR, migrated to Alabama's Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge and spent winter there.

Spring 2012: Crane#26-09 (#926) and her mate 27-06 DAR were detected arriving back at Wisconsin's Necedah NWR on March 11, migration complete!

Fall 2012: Migrated south with mate 27-06 DAR and wintered at Wheeler NWR, Alabama.

Spring 2013: The pair #26-09 (#926) and 27-06 DAR was detected on spring migration in Gibson County, Indiana on March 5, where they stayed at least through March 9 morning. The signal of Crane #26-09 was detected March 17 on Necedah NWR and iit was assumed that her mate 27-06 DAR probably completed migration with her and the pair may have moved off the frozen ponds to a more hospitable location. By late April or early May the pair had a nest togethe but it failed in early May. The pair did not attempt a second nest this summer.

Fall 2013: Migrated south to Wheeler NWR in Alabama with mate #27-06 DAR.

Spring 2014: Crane pair #26-09 & 27-06 DAR, along with# 3-11, 4-11, 17-11, 19-11 and DAR 38-09 began migration from the Wheeler NWR in Alabama on 15-18 February. This large group was reported in Gibson County, Indiana, on 21 February. They then moved to Lawrence County, Illinois, by the next day and were seen with an eighth (and unknown) bird that tracker Eva believes that might be #26-10 DAR. On March 21, #26-09 and #27-06 completed migration to Necedah NWR. By mid April this pair had a nest with one egg, but the nest had failed when checked April 30.

Fall 2014: Female #26-09 left the Necedah area with mate #27-06 DAR sometime after Oct. 24. They wintered again at Wheeler NWR, Alabama.

Spring 2015: Female #26-09 returned from spring migration with her mate #27-06 DAR, arriving on Necedah NWR in Wisconsin March 14 or 15. The pair's first eggs were removed on April 16 in the forced renesting program, but their second nest of the season hatched one chick on June 8, but the chick did not survive the month.

Spring 2016: Female #26-09 returned from spring migration with her mate #27-06 DAR, and the pair was observed on a nest on May 19 and still nesting on June 7. Their new chick, W22-16, hatched on June 10 but did not survive into the summer.

Fall 2016: Female #26-09 and mate #27-06 DAR left Juneau County, WI and had migrated to Wheeler NWR in Morgan County, Alabama by the end of December.

Spring 2017: Pair #26-09 and #27-06 DAR returned to Necedah NWR and were nesting by early April. Eggs from their first nest were collected in the forced renesting study but the pair did not make a second nest. No chicks for them this summer.

Last updated: 6/9/17

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