Photo: Operation Migration
(She is wearing her red baby leg band.)
Meet the Class of 2010 Whooping Crane Chicks!
Hatch-year 2010 of the Eastern Flock

Crane # 3-10

Date Hatched

May 4, 2010



Egg Source

egg rescued from failed nest of Necedah NWR wild crane pair #415 and #505

Leg Bands

(Attached after reaching Florida)

Left Leg Right Leg
  VHF radio

Temporary/migration band: red 3

  • 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:
At first chick #3-10 could be pretty aggressive towards specific birds. When being socialized with #4-10, chick #3-10 took shots at her whenever the two females got close enough. But she got it out of her system and soon #3-10 and #4-10 lived together in the same outdoor pen. They trained together too.
Welcome to Wisconsin!
Photo Geoff Tarbox

Notes from "Flight School" at Necedah NWR in Wisconsin:
Arrived in Wisconsin for flight school with other Cohort #1 chicks on June 30 at 57 days of age.

"I think she might be a little snobby," said Geoff. "Like #2-10, she’s usually off doing her own thing whenever she has company. But she’s not quite as willing to listen to the costume as #2-10 is."

Chicks #3-10 and #2-10 started with a bad habit of refusing to come out of the wet pen (pond inside the pen) for training. Handlers had to coax and bribe them with treats to come out. Chicks #2-10 and #3-10 were mostly last, but they still followed the trike (ultralight plane). They ran after the trike, flapping their wings and building their flight muscles, and on August 3 she and her buddies #1-10 and #2-10 flew around with the ultralight plane in a big circle!

Chick #3-10 prefers to do things at her own pace. She’ll come back into the pen after training whenever she feels like it. "She likes to throw her weight around too," said Geoff, "but I don’t think she has as much clout as #2-10 does. I think being one of the first to fly has gone to her head."

She has always been high on the pecking order. When the younger chicks and older chicks began to mix together under the watchful eyes of the costumes, #3-10 acted tough. She jumped high and her sharp, long claws got very close to another chick. The other chick backed down. So #3-10 started on a different chick, jumping up as if to say, “Oh yeah? That’s what YOU think! Check out these claws, pal.”

Oct. 7: Somehow, #3-10 escaped the enclosure in the darkness of early morning. Luckily, Heather was watching the CraneCam from her computer in Canada. "The way it was acting—pacing outside in the darkness—told me it might be a chick and not one of the adults who like to visit the pen." She phoned to alert the team and Joe and another costume went out and let the wayward colt back in the pen. It turned out to be #3!

First Migration South, Led by Ultralight Airplane: Chick #3-10 left Necedah NWR on her first migration on October 10, 2010. She was one of seven in the Class of 2010 to take off with Richard's ultralight and one of only four to go the whole 23-mile distance on Day 1. Find day-by-day news about the flock's migration and read more about #3-10 below.

Day 23, Nov. 1: Brooke wrote: "Richard used his magic along with some of Geoff’s and Trish’s to coax #2 and #3 into the air, onto his wing and on course." They'd been airborne for over two hours when the morning's awakening thermals rose to rough up the air. Discouraged, #2 and #3 landed and Richard landed nearby. Richard got #3 airborne again and together they flew the rest of way. What a star!

Day 63, Dec. 11: Yesterday was the last time all ten birds will fly together as a group. Today #3-10 and the other four birds that will winter at Chassahowitzka NWR flew 86 miles closer to their final destination! They're now in Gilchrist County, FL. Only 86 miles and two flights to go. [But they would have to wait for their next flight until January 14, 2011 due to reason's beyond the team's control.]

Day 72, Jan. 14: Finally in the air again! After so many days in the pen, the Chass Five gave pilots Joe and Richard a rodeo before they got on course to Marion County and the flyover arrival celebration. One more flight gets them to their winter home!

Day 73, Jan. 15: Migration to Chassahowitzka NWR complete!

Winter at the Chass Release Pen: Of the five Chass youngsters, female #3-10 is the lowest in the totem pole, reports Eva. "She is very shy around the other birds and tries to stick close to the costume when it's near…maybe looking for an extra grape or two before the others grab them all!"

Female #3-10 gets put in her place by male #17-10.
Photo Eva Szyszkoski

What has #3-10 found?

Photo Eva Szyszkoski

Spring 2011: On the first day of spring, Eva reported: #3 has an incredibly large red patch already and barely any brown feathers left at all!" She began migration on April 4 from the Florida pen site with flock mates #9 and 17! The PTT that night fired off from Terrell Co, GA which is about 240 miles from Chass. The second stop (night of 5 April) was in Alabama, about 100 miles NW of their first stop. After further stops in Clark County, IN, Livingston County, IL and Lee County, IL, Cranes #3, 9 and 17 were confirmed —still together —at their 6th migration stop (Sauk County, Wisconsin) on April 15. They moved a little south again before officially completing migration.

Fall 2011: Crane #3-10 wintered in Marion County, Florida.

Spring 2012: She has not been detected since Feb. 22, when she was still on her wintering ground in Marion County, Florida.

Spring 2013: Missing since Feb 22, 2012. On June 15, 2013, female #3-10 was presumed dead and removed from the eastern flock's population totals.

Last updated: 6/19/13

Back to "Meet the Flock 2010"