They are on the move! A lot has happened since our last update on the four Direct Autumn Release (DAR) Whooping Cranes remaining in central Wisconsin. WCEP staff traveled to Horicon National Wildlife Refuge early Wednesday morning to relocate the young cranes to a more suitable wintering area, but the cranes had other plans -- all four took wing on their own! Three of the cranes were confirmed in northern Illinois Wednesday afternoon, while the fourth, #59-13, decided to return to the refuge. She was transported to Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge on Thursday and released on the refuge. We will continue to track the three cranes on the move and will keep you updated on their progress as we know more.
Thank you to everyone who has been following our updates on the Direct Autumn Release (DAR) Whooping Cranes. With the recent arrival of winter weather in Wisconsin, we’ve been monitoring the cranes at Horicon National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) on a daily basis.
Sadly, two additional DAR cranes have recently died. DAR Whooping Crane “Hawkeye” was found dead on December 4, and “Epstein” was found dead on December 7. Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership members are deeply concerned about the welfare of the four remaining cranes at Horicon NWR. The partnership has been working around the clock this week to find the best solution for relocating the birds as soon as possible.
We greatly appreciate your concern and support as we work through the next step in this reintroduction effort. We will continue to keep you updated on the health and status of the DAR birds.