Photo: Marianne Wellington

Meet the 2009 DAR Whooping Crane Chicks!
Crane DAR #39-09

Date Hatched

June 17 , 2009



Egg Source: Species Survival Center, New Orleans

Leg Bands


Left Leg Right Leg


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

DAR 38-08 needed a lot of assistance not only with hatching but also with surviving the first couple of weeks. At first we had to help him eat. Once he finally figured out where the water bowl was, he seemed to grow like a weed. Once he started gaining weight, we noticed that he was eating a lot of pebbles off the ground during exercise time; it is normal for birds to consume some pebbles to aid in digestion, but we wondered a bit whether he just appeared to be gaining weight because his belly was full of rocks! One day, he was swimming in the pool at ICF when he slowly began to sink beneath the surface. Luckily the costume was able to grab him and pull him out before he drowned!

Since 39-09 & 41-09 are both males, we anticipate they will continue to fight for dominance but we hope they are past the really aggressive stage. They still need to be watched when they are out together. The two of them still have stand-offs and short bill-to-bill challenges. DAR #39-09 has a white band on the right leg.

Unfortunately DAR #39-09 sustained a leg injury the last week in August. He was walking slowly for several days then we noticed that his leg positioning had changed. His left leg is rotated, causing him to sway when he walks. Luckily, he was getting more active after a week passed. We have started increasing his time with the rest of the chicks but we are protecting him from being chased or harrassed. We are in "wait and see" mode for whether or not his leg will stabilize well enough for him to be released this fall.

He continued moving very slowly and limping for a couple of weeks, so he was packed into a crate and driven down to ICF so that Dr. Barry Hartup could radiograph his legs. Dr. Hartup, his students, and Marianne took radiographs, drew blood samples, and gave him injections. The final diagnosis was that #39-09 has a ruptured muscle in his left leg.

While there was a good deal of debate over what to do next, #39-09 ended up coming back to Necedah NWR later that day. The muscle will not be repaired, but the chick seems more comfortable each day. He now gets rather upset if he's left in the night pen to rest while the other birds are taken out for exercise. The handlers were worried that he might have difficulty learning to fly with his now-crooked legs, but before long he took off running and cleared the day-pen fence to foraging out in the water on the other side of the fence. While #39-09 will not be released into the wild with his injury, he is making the most of his time at Necedah NWR.

On October 1, he was transferred to the Milwaukee Zoo as his new home.

Notes by Marianne Wellington and DAR Intern Kate Wyman, ICF. Thank you!

Migration History

Last updated: 10/6/09

Back to "Meet the Flock 2009"