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Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership update

Adult whooping cranes in Wisconsin. Photo courtesty of Karen Willes

Adult whooping cranes in Wisconsin. Photo courtesty of Karen Willes.

By Georgia Parham
Regional Office – External Affairs

New tool helps track eastern whooping cranes

The International Crane Foundation, based in Baraboo, Wisconsin, has a new tool for birders and other outdoor enthusiasts to keep track of the whereabouts of individual cranes in the eastern population. The interactive "Where are the whoopers" site highlights locations of cranes down to the county level – care is taken not to publicize precise locations. The site’s map shows the last known location of the whooping cranes in the Eastern migratory population over the past two months. Birds not observed during that time do not appear on the map. Data from different sources like remote transmitters, Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership partner research or sightings from the general public go into the database at different rates, so locations of whooping cranes may be updated at different times.

Population estimate

By mid-April, most whooping cranes had completed migration, and a few had begun nesting. The current estimated population size is 100 (45 F, 52 M, 3 U). To the best of our knowledge, as of the 9th of April, at least 64 whooping cranes are back in Wisconsin, two were last reported in Georgia, three are in Michigan, two may still be in Illinois, 10 were last reported in Indiana (although may no longer be there), one is still in Florida and one is in Ontario, Canada. The remaining birds’ locations have not been confirmed in the last month.

Nesting has begun!

The 2019 nesting season is underway, with initial nests in Wisconsin prompting hope for a good season. Notably, up to six of those are at White River Marsh, one of the areas we have focused reintroduction efforts since 2011.

Last updated: June 8, 2020