A Mixed Pair of Whooping Cranes!
(Story below photo)
Image: Billie Dodd. Monroe County, Indiana on April 6, 2011

"Eastern flock female #519 must be quite strong-willed and attractive to coax Male #1343 away from FL where he has lived for over 7 years and even nested last year [2010]," said Marty Folk. Mr. Folk knows a lot about male Whooping crane #1343. He is an aviculturalist who has overseen the Florida nonmigratory flock since is was first established in 1993. Mr. Folk tells us more about Male 1343, who surprised everyone when he left the flock to migrate with new lady-love, female #519, in April 2011:

Meet Male #1343
"He was hatched at the International Crane Foundation in Wisconsin on June 19, 2003. He was isolation/ costume reared, then released in Florida on December 21, 2003. He had paired with female 1348 and in 2010 they nested for the first time. They hatched two chicks and raised both to at least 15 days of age. Raising two chicks to 15 days of age is a record for this flock. Until now a pair had only raised both of their chicks up to 12 days of age before losing one. The pair raised the remaining chick until at least 33 days of age before it went missing.

What Makes Him Special
"Crane #1343 (with his mate) successfully hatched 2 chicks on his first attempt, he (with his mate) raised them for a record amount of time! So here ya go Wisconsin, with a shot-in-the-arm of good breeding potential by gaining this crane.

"Here’s hoping for nesting, hatching and chick-rearing soon in Wisconsin by the mixed pair!"

The Big Question:
  • Mr. Folk adds: "This crane drama may get really juicy when she shows back up in “her” Wisconsin territory with another male! What will the other male (her previous mate #804) do? Stay tuned…"

What do YOU think will happen? For updates on this story, see 519's bio page. (Scroll down to "Spring 2011" for a surprise!)

Thanks to Marty Folk, Avian Research
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission