Spring 2013

As of spring migration 2013: Periodic migration highlights are posted. For the safety and security of the cranes, we will no longer make a real-time map of the migration.

5 together

February 1
Fabulous Five Together in Florida

The five young cranes that migrated south with Operation Migration's ultralight planes leading the way are a tight group during their first Florida winter. See latest news and photos on each bird's life story page.

Image: Operation Migration

Young Whooping crane nabs a blue crab to eat.

February 12
Where Are the Crane-Kids?
The Class of 2012 has made news this month. Crane #6 was predated by a bobcat. Two others may have begun migration, while the other two are still at the release site. Crane #13-12 (DAR) was captured for surgery and released back into the wild.

Image: Operation Migration

Young Whooping crane nabs a blue crab to eat.

February 28
Preening and Cleaning Before Migration

A few whoopers from the Western flock have already begun migration! Meanwhile in Florida, the Fab Four youngsters in the Eastern Flock's Class of 2012 have become a treasured trio. They're keeping their feathers in top flight condition.

Image: Operation Migration

Young Whooping crane nabs a blue crab to eat.

March 12
Class of 2012; Where?

On the morning of March 10 in Florida, Operation Migration's Brooke Pennypacker photographed the three youngsters that migrated with ultralight airplanes leading the way last fall. By nightfall the whoopers were gone. Did they begin their first unaided migration north to Wisconsin?
Image: Operation Migration

#101 and #914

March 16
Migration Begins

Whoopers #101 & #914 left their winter home on March 16th, safe travels to your summer home in WI!

mating dance

April 3

Whooping Cranes are migrating! This endangered species usually mates for life, and with so few to pick from, how do they choose?

Image: Sue Kersey

Defending territory

April 10
Sizing Up Territories!

After completing spring migration to northern nesting grounds in Canada or Wisconsin, how do these long-lived birds choose and defend territories?

Image: Brian Johns

crane migration

April 15
Whooping and Sandhill Cranes

About 40 percent of the western flock is still south of Nebraska, though some have made it as far as central ND. Image shows whooping crane amongst sandhills cranes.

Image: Bill Gausman


April 23
Class of 2012 Crane-kids Return to Wisconsin

April 19th was a day to celebrate when the three young cranes of the ultralight-led Class of 2012 turned up in Wisconsin after leaving Florida March 10. Well done, youngsters!

Image: Operation Migration

nest success

May 24
Class of 2013 Chicks Hatching

Several chicks have hatched in captivity at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center (Maryland) for the aircraft-guided training class this summer, and TWO wild-born chicks have hatched from the nest of a wild pair in Wisconsin! ICF tracker Eva Sszyzkoski photographed the wild crane family from an aircraft on May 23.

Credit: Eva Sszyzkoski

Fall 2012
Yong whooping crane being released from a travel crate. Fall Migration News Updates: September - December 14, 2012
After flying 707 miles with ultralight-aircraft leaders on their first journey south, the nine cranes in the Class of 2011 were quietly crated at the travel pen in Winston County, Alabama. In trucks and vans, they became the first ultralight-led cranes to finish their migration by road instead of wing power. Their winter home is Alabama's Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge. Discover the rest of the story when you join us for spring's journey north!

Journey North is pleased to feature this educational adventure made possible by the
Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).