Map and Track the Migration 2011

Western and Eastern Flocks
Migration Map/Data

Follow the progress of both migratory flocks on this map. It shows the world's entire population of migratory whooping cranes!


Eastern Flock
Arrival Log

Check the Arrival Log's link to the finish line and record the cranes' arrival as they complete migration in Wisconsin. Each of the Eastern Flock's 107 cranes (as of January 2011) is listed by age.

What to Expect During Migration
Western Flock Eastern Flock


  • The first cranes could leave as early as the beginning of April. The migration is usually complete by mid to late May, two to six weeks later.

Tracking Method

  • Departure from wintering grounds: The cranes depart in small family groups. Biologist Tom Stehn flies over the refuge 1-2 times a month. You'll find his crane counts in our Migration Updates.
  • Along migration route: Reports come from confirmed visual sightings along the migration route. Ranger Jeanine Lackey of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service office in Nebraska facilitates the reporting network.
  • Arrival on nesting grounds: As the cranes travel through Canada and complete their migration to the nesting grounds, Lea Craig-Moore, wildlife technician with the Canadian Wildlife Service, sends the news.


  • The older cranes leave first, and they could leave as early as the middle of March. The migration is usually complete by mid to late April.

Tracking Method
For traditional classroom mapping, the eastern flock is the focus. The flock's youngest cranes are monitored the most closely but tracking information is recorded on all cranes insofar as possible.

  • Departure from wintering grounds: People in Florida monitor the year's youngest cranes during their first winter.
  • Along migration route: The cranes are tracked by a combination of visual sightings and signals from radio and satellite telemetry. Trackers make every effort to track them from the moment they leave the wintering grounds until all have been accounted for on the nesting grounds. Their reports and technology give us a source of data points to map.
  • Arrival on nesting grounds:People eagerly await the cranes' arrival in Wisconsin. We expect frequent news as the cranes complete migration. Students can maintain an Arrival Log for all of the cranes in this flock.

The Value of Two Flocks
We'll help you be alert to the contrasts between the Western flock's migration and the Eastern flock's. You'll be convinced of the value of tracking two flocks!

Key Lessons and Mapping Resources

Key Lessons

Mapping Resources