as a Chick
Jen calls him an "A+" guy, nice guy. "We like to think
of him as the gentle giant."
The 11 DAR (Direct Autumn Release) Whooping Crane chicks were released October 25 on the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). The young cranes learn the migration route from following older cranes. But that night he suffered an injury to his lower beak so he was returned to captivity while it healed. Crane #26-10 was re-released November 5. He joined up with the rest of his DAR group Nov. 6.
Biologists from ICF and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service are tracking the released DAR cranes using radio telemetry, picking up radio signals emitted from leg transmitters on the birds. The large group of nine birds (#18-10 was killed by a predator) has been settling into a routine and feeding in cornfields just south of the refuge during the day, reported Eva. They are usually with older birds #506, #906 and 38-09 (DAR) and return to the refuge in the evening.
The young DAR cranes are currently still on the refuge, but as they begin the migration south trackers will be monitoring the birds’ movements. Watch the news below!
Fall 2010, First Migration: Began migration November 23, following older Whooping cranes who know the route. In fact, DAR chicks 20, 23, 24, 26, and 28-10 all stayed together and were led by experienced adults (#6-05 and yearlings #6-09 and #38-09). This large group of eight spent some time in Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge before once again escaping the cold snows of Indiana and moving along.
WCEP trackers recorded the five DAR chicks and the three older whoopers in Hamilton County, TN when they roosted there on December 10th. On December 13th the group of eight cranes left this location. The three older birds later returned, but no further reports came for the five DAR juveniles until December 30, 1010, when hunters found DAR chicks 20-10, 24-10 and 28-10 dead under suspicious circumstances near Albany, Georgia. The deaths are being investigated by legal and wildlife officials. After the deaths, two Whooping cranes, presumed to be #26-10 DAR and #23-10 DAR, were sighted in fields adjacent to where their three flock mates were killed but moved on to Calhoun County, Georgia. The two were last detected there on January 22, 2011.
Spring 2011: Crane 26-10 (with #23-10) departed their wintering location in Georgia sometime between March 8 and March 24 or 28. As of April 27 they were believed to be still in southern Indiana, on spring migration. The two apparently continued migration from Scott County, IN on April 30. On May 2, Eva reported, "Today I heard #23-10 and 26-10 on refuge! They may have arrived yesterday, but we don't know for sure." Hooray!
Fall 2011: Crane 26-10 (with #23-10) wintered at an unknown location. They were last detected headed south from southern Tennessee in December.
Spring 2012: DAR male 26-10 (with #23-10) were reported in Jackson County, Indiana, in early March after wintering at an unknown location. They completed migration to Wisconsin on March 27. The pair split soon after. He remained on and near the Necedah NWR throughout the summer, often observed with DAR female #27-10.
Fall 2012: DAR male #26-10 began migration south with cranes #21-10 and #23-10 on November 20-11. He was reported with these two birds in Kane County, IL on Nov. 22. Apparently he split off from them, as he was next reported alone in Henderson County, Kentucky, on November 25. He remained in this area through at least December 12, when he apparently departed to an unknown wintering location.
Spring 2013: Crane 26-10 was reported on spring migration in Gibson County, Indiana on March 5, traveling with pair #27-06 and 26-09. He completed migration on or by March 30, and may have returned earlier (March 17) with 26-09 and 27-06.
Fall 2013: Crane 26-10 began migration from Necedah with male #38-09 (date unknown) and was reported in Gibson County, Indiana on Nov. 14-25 — also with pairs #11/09/15-09 and still with #38-09. Cranes #26-10 and 38-09 arrived at the Wheeler NWR in Alabama sometime before January 21. He was last confirmed there on January 29.
Spring 2014: Crane #26-10 may be the eighth (and unknown) bird that joined a large group of cranes that departed Wheeler NWR in Alabama and was reported in Gibson County, Indiana, on 21 February and Lawrence County, Illinois, by 22 February. When female #7-09 completed migration to the Necedah NWR by 28 March, she was observed with a crane with a nonfunctional transmitter. She has since been observed with male #26-10 on the refuge.
Last updated: 4/11/14
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