Two wild hatched whooping cranes flapped their wings and fledged from their homes in Central Wisconsin. The birds, one from the Necedah Wildlife Refuge and the second from southern Wood county are the first two successful wild hatched birds to fledge in decades. Whooping Cranes where almost to the point of extinction in the 1940’s.
More from the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership via the Chicago Sun-Times:
The chicks, #W1-10 and #W3-10 (W = wild hatched) were both observed flying with their parents this weekend. Number W1-10 is located on the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in central Wisconsin, and #W3-10 is on private property in Wood County, Wisconsin.
Seven chicks initially hatched this year in the wild, the largest number to hatch in WCEP project history. Wild-hatched chicks face a precarious existence in the first weeks of their lives, and natural loss of chicks due to predation is common. The survival rate for WCEP with these two chicks is within the range of survival rates for wild sandhill crane chicks in south-central Wisconsin currently being studied by the International Crane Foundation.
The two wild whooping crane chicks are the result of renesting. Earlier this spring, nine breeding pairs of whooping cranes built nests and laid eggs, but all nine pairs abandoned those first nests. The nest abandonments earlier this spring are similar to what has been observed in previous years. WCEP is investigating the cause of the abandonments through analysis of data collected throughout the nesting period on crane behavior and black fly abundance and distribution.
More about whooping cranes at the Wisconsin Eastern Crane Partnership.