Photo: Marianne Wellington

Meet the 2009 DAR Whooping Crane Chicks!
Crane DAR #42-09

Date Hatched

July 3 , 2009



Pre-Migr. Weight: 3.8 Kg

Egg Source: International Crane Foundation (ICF)

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 #42-09 was the last DAR chick to hatch. She seemed to be the fastest learner for eating, finding the water bowl and following the costume quickly. All the staff working with 42-09 think she is adorable because she is so small compared to the others and she is intent on following the costume closely. She explores everything, picking up leaves, twigs, rocks. Anything and everything goes in her bill, at least for a short time. At Necedah she is very observant to her surroundings and has taken to eating the blueberries as long as the older Whooping cranes are not nearby to chase her off.

By mid August #42-09, the youngest chick, stayed in the night pen for the first time with DAR #39-09, 40-09 & 41-09. All went well. She was up and ready for exercise early the next morning. By the end of August whe was one of two DAR chicks not yet flying, but it won't be long until she is ready. When her protective buddy, 39-09, was kept quiet because of a leg injury, little 42-09 got picked on by the other chicks.

October weather brought sun, wind, rain and snow. The chicks seemed to enjoy testing their wings in the winds. Several days they birds made flights where they were almost out of view flying both to the north and south of their pen site. A couple of times they were out of view for a period of time, and someof the flew over to visit the ultralight chicks in their pen! We couldn't tell which chicks did that because they didn't get banded until Oct. 13. They are building up their flight strength in these final days or weeks before migration.

The nine DAR cranes were released on the evening of October 24 on the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge. Signals from the radio transmitters on the birds' leg bands will help biologists from ICF and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as they track movements of the released DAR cranes now and throughout their migration. Stay tuned!

Notes by Marianne Wellington, ICF. Thank you!

Fall 2009: DAR 42-09 was released at ERP on the refuge along with DAR 40-09 and 41-09. They roosted together there the first night, but returned to Site 3 the next day and joined DAR 32-09 and 38-09. Their other flockmates also soon joined them there. On October 27, female 42-09 separated from the group and began associating with adults #310, W1-06*, 101, 412, DAR 27-05 and sandhill cranes. But each night of the first days DAR 42-09 returned to to roost on southern refuge pools. By Nov. 9 she and #36-09 had been roosting off the refuge, separated from the other DAR juveniles. They continued to feed in cornfields south of the refuge or to forage and roost on the refuge. Next, she was closely associated with adult crane #509 for the last two weeks in November. Will she follow this older crane to learn her migration route? See her migration history, below.

Nov. 26, 2009: DAR 42-09 with Adult Whooping Crane #509 and Sandhill Cranes
Photo Richard Urbanek, USFWS


Migration History

First Migration, Fall 2009: Starting on November 11 female crane #42-09 DAR was closely associating with male #509. These two birds left Necedah National Wildlife Refuge on December 6 and moved down to the Lewiston area in Sauk County, Wisconsin. By December 8 they were no longer at this location and had presumably started migration. These birds were never detected or reported during their migration. ICF trackers did not know where they were until January 4, 2010. The Florida landowner called ICF trackers to report two cranes, one browner and one white. Tracker Sara confirmed it was #509 returning to his previous wintering area—with chick #42-09! She was the first DAR chick in the Class of 2009 to complete her first journey south!

Spring 2010: Crane names hereafter follow the naming conventions of WCEP: Female #42-09 DAR left her wintering area in Lake County, FL with male #509 (hereafter known as #9-05) to begin spring migration on March 6 or 7. She was the first DAR chick in the Class of 2009 to complete her first journey south—and now became the first '09 chick to begin the journey north in spring. Her signal was detected at Necedah NWR on March 22! Male #9-05 was likely with her but they had separated by April and she continued to hang out with older birds #16-02 (#216) earlier and then 27-08 (#827) by mid April.

Fall 2010: Cranes 42-09 DAR and cranes #905, 907 and #733 (now called #5-09, #7-09 and #33-07) were reported in Shelby County, Alabama, on December 8. Tracker Eva discovered the group again on January 28, 2011, saying: "They are at #33-07 'sprevious wintering territory from two winters ago down in Polk County, Florida. This was the first time that area had been checked this winter, so they have probably been there for quite some time."

Spring 2011: Female #42-09 DAR and mate were reported in LaSalle County, Illinois, on March 24 and resumed migration from this location on March 30. They were found at their previous summering territory in Adams County, Wisconsin, on April 4, migration complete!

Fall 2011: 42-09 DAR and mate #24-09 (formerly #924) with pair #33-07 (#733) and #5-09 (#905) began migration between Nov. 29 and Dec. 2. They were found in Vigo County, Indiana, during a tracking flight on Dec. 3. They showed up in Hopkins County, Kentucky at the end of

Spring 2012: Pair 42-09 (DAR) and mate #24-09 — with pair #5-09 and #33-07 — completed migration back to their usual summering territory in Adams County, Wisconsin by March 12 or 13. Their previous known location was Hopkins County, Kentucky. They had been hanging out there with cranes #2-04 and 46-07 (DAR). They built their first nest, began incubating April 4 and successfully hatched two chicks (W2-12 and W3-12) on May 7 and 8. Sadly, both chicks were lost to them by May 16.

Parent with new chicks W2-12 and W3-12 on May 8, 2012
Photo Eva Szyszkoski/ICF, with aerial support from Lighthawk

Fall 2012:

Spring 2013: Pair 42-09 DAR and #24-09 completed spring migration by March 24. By late April or early May they were reported nesting. Like all but one of this season's first nests, this pair's first nest failed. They were reported with a second nest and two eggs, but this nest failed shortly after the June 4 survey flight. On June 5 Eva reported both cranes were off the nest and both eggs were gone. No further nesting took place for this pair this summer.

Fall 2013: Female #42-09 (DAR) wintered in the area of Hopkins County, Kentucky with mate #24-09 and several other cranes in the Eastern Migratory Flock. ICF tracker Eva took this photo on February 12, 2014:

Wintering adult whoopers (with  one parent-reared chick) in Hopkins County, Kentucky

Spring 2014: Crane #42-09 and 24-09, along with pair #34-09 DAR and #1-10 began migration from their wintering area in Hopkins County, Kentucky, on 22-24 March. They arrived in Stephenson County, Illinois, by roost on 26 March and completed migration to Wisconsin on 29/30 March. Crane #42-09 nested with male #24-09 in Adams County and on May 13 tracker Eva Szyszkoski confirmed that the pair hatched chicks W4-14 and W5-14!

Chick w1_14 with parents #42-09 and #24-09, May 13
Photo: Eva Szyszkoski/ICF

Fall 2014: Pair #24-09 and #42-09 DAR migrated to Hopkins County, Kentucky by Nov. 21, where they associated with several other Whooping Cranes at that wintering location.

Spring 2015: Crane #42-09 DAR returned to Adams County, Wisconsin with mate 24-09 and nested, but their nest failed; no chicks for this pair this spring.

Fall 2015: Crane #42-09 DAR and mate #24-09 wintered in Hopkins County, Kentucky.

Spring 2016: Crane pair #42-09 DAR and #24-09 returned north and nested in April. The first nest failed but they nested again in early June and hatched W23-16 on June 28. This June photo shows him guarding after she settles down on the nest to incubate an egg. Unfortunately, their chick did not survive long.

Crane pair #42-09 and #924 tend their nest in April 2016.

Fall 2016: It was hoped pair #42-09 DAR and #24-09 would become alloparents to two parent-reared colts released near them in Adams County in September, and would lead the young on migration. Unfortunately, the adult pair did not stay around long. Then, on Nov. 15 after a 20-day absence, male #24-09 and his mate finally reappeared to spend time with the young PR #29-16 and PR #39-16, arriving just as the weather turned snowy and windy. They succeeded in getting the colts to roost in the wetland a few nights, but not in following south. It appears that the adults may have left on migration Nov. 20. They were reported in Hopkins Co, KY in December.

Pair #24-09 DAR and #42-09 DAR with PR #29 and #39-16 in November

Colleen Chase

Spring 2017: Female #42-09 DAR and mate #24-09 returned to their Wisconsin territory in Adams County and were nesting by April 5. Their chick, W3-17 (see photo below), hatched the first week in May! The chick was still doing well with her parents when spotted from the air on June 15.

Pair #42-09 and #24-09 with new chick W3-17Bev Paulan, Wisconsin DNR pilot

Mom #42-09 DAR and her chick W3-17 at 50 days of age, about a month from achieving flight:
Female #42-09 with her chick, about 50 days old.
Doug Pellerin

Chick W3-17 was still alive as of July 18th, 2017.

Last updated: 7/18/17

Back to "Meet the Flock 2009"