Notes from Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin:
October 7, 2010: Wild chick W3-10 was captured and banded at the age of 115 days. ICF tracker Eva took photos and tells the story: "The parents remained in the cranberries, alarm calling until we were finished and their chick was returned to them. Number W3-10 was feisty during banding and continually tried to bite and jab anything she could. "The health check showed that #W3-10 is slightly smaller in size than #W1-10, but she weighs significantly more. The two chicks are only a week apart in age. If their parents return to their previous wintering locations, both chicks will be in Florida this winter," said Eva.
Fall 2010: The Wood County family (#212, #419 and their chick W3-10) began migration on November 4! They flew all the way to the parents' regular stop in Greene County, Indiana. What an amazing day it must have been for W3-10 as she began her first migration! She and her parents remained there until the morning of December 6. They were next found during an aerial survey on December 13 on the adults' wintering territory in Pasco County, Florida. First migration complete! HOORAY, W3-10!
First Winter in Florida: The young chick stayed near her parents on their wintering territory, learning their lessons in how to hunt for food and keep safe. ICF tracker Eva suspects the family will be among the early northbound migrants. The pair has stopped by the Chass pen in previous years as they start their journey north. As is normal for cranes, young W3-10 will separate from her parents either during the migration north or sometme after they arrive back in Wisconsin.
Spring 2011: W3-10 began her first northward migration between Feb. 19 and 23 with her parents. The family was reported March 1 in Greene County, IN. They stayed at least through March 5. On the evening of March 20 the family was reported in Kane County, IL. On March 23, tracker Jen sent word: "I just heard signals of the Wood County family (W3-10, and parents 212 and 419) over Baraboo, Wisconsin!" The family was back on on their Wood County territory March 25. Two days later they moved to another location where the adults left the chick before returning to their Wood County territory. As of April 3rd, W3-10 remained in the area she was left by her parents.
Fall 2011: W3-10 migrated and began the winter in Knox County, Indiana and then moved to Greene County, Indiana in early January.
Spring 2012: W3-10 was reported back on Wisconsin's Necedah NWR on March 11, migration complete!
Spring 2013: Crane #W3-10 (with #829) completed migration by or on April 3. Very soon after, male 804 (4-08) stole female W3-10 away from him. Tracker Eva didn't think 804 (4-08) and W3-10 would stay together, but is watching to see.
Fall 2013: Female #W3-10 and mate #29-08 migrated to Greene County, Indiana, and later moved to knox County, IN, where they were last reported on February 2. Here they are in Daviess County, IN on Feb. 12, 2014—photographed by ICF tracker Eva on her aerial tracking flight.
Spring 2013: W-3-10 was detected back at Necedah NWR on April 5. Her mate 29-08, who has a non-working transmitter, was assumed to be with her.
Fall 2014: By November 23 pair #W3-10 and #29-08 had migrated south to Knox County, Indiana, where they joined cranes #7-12, #3-11, #24-13 and #38-09 DAR.
Spring 2015: W-3-10 and mate #29-08 successfully migrated back to Wisconsin—and had two chicks by mid May! These chicks are second-generation wild-hatched Whooping Cranes, since W3-10 is herself wild-hatched. Hooray!
Photo: Beverly Paulan, Wisconsin DNR
Last updated: 5/24/15
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