Updated May 15, 2014
The Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership confirmed on its Facebook page today that at least 3 chicks have now been born in Wisconsin this nesting season, and the International Crane Foundation adds the identifying numbers of the parents of the newest-hatched chicks. Both sets of new crane parents – a pair that includes a 2004 female and 2002 male, and a second pair that are both 2009 whooping cranes – have all had experience hatching a chick before. In fact the older pair have successfully hatched and fledged 2 previous chicks; one of those – w#3 of 2010 is surviving today. This would seem like a promising sign for the 2014 hatchlings!
The first big news of the season! The first-of-the-year whooping crane hatched in the wild in Wisconsin was reported yesterday, May 13! This chick will be known as W#1-14 – signifying that it is the number one wild-hatched chick of 2014.
In fact, W#1-14 actually hatched last week, May 8, at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, although the announcement, from the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership was just made yesterday. First to observe the chick was U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service intern Trevor Lauber who said he was specifically looking for a chick from the nest where a whooping crane pair had first been seen incubating on April 9. ” . . .and sure enough there was a little brown fluffball next to the parent sitting on the nest.”
The parents are a female hatched in 2003 and a 2005 male. According to The Journey North, this is the third time this pair has successfully nested and hatched a wild whooping crane. Their first chick hatched in 2011 but did not survive a month. Their second offspring was hatched in 2012 and survived to fledge and migrate south with them in the fall, and back north in the spring of 2013.