Wisconsin Ecological Services Field Office

Midwest Region


Wisconsin Field Office

2661 Scott Tower Drive
Green Bay, WI 54229-9565
Phone: 920-866-1717
Fax: 920-866-1710
TTY: 1-800-877-8339 (Federal Relay)

e-mail: GreenBay@fws.gov


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Links to Whooping Crane Sighting Report Form
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Whooping Crane (Grus americana)


Adult whooping crane pair with two juvenile whooping cranes.

Young captive-bred whoopings are released near adult wild whooping cranes as part of the "Direct Autmn Release" protocol.

Photo by USFWS; Richard Urbanek

Reintroducing whooping cranes back to Wisconsin began in 2000. The purpose of the reintroduction is to establish a migratory population in the eastern United States.


Components of the reintroduction project include raising captive-bred chicks at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, releasing those chicks at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge and using two different methods to help the young birds learn the migration route to Florida. Some of the chicks are taught to follow behind and then fly behind ultralight aircraft. Those birds learn their route to Florida by following ultralights piloted by Operation Migration, Inc. Other chicks are released near adult whooping cranes, or near flocks of sandhill cranes with which adult whooping cranes associate. This technique is called "Direct Autumn Release" and those chicks learn the route from the adult whooping cranes.


Endangered Species Act Process that Established the Whooping Crane Reintroduction Project


Whooping Crane Species Profile


Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership - This site has detailed and current information about the whooping crane reintroduction project.


Wisconsin Whooping Crane Management Plan - Wisconsin DNR




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Last updated: January 7, 2020