Whooping Crane reintroduction efforts have created a second migratory population east of the Mississippi River where these rare birds were originally a native species (photo by Paul Konrad).
Mapped locations of wintering Whooping Cranes from the reintroduced Eastern Migratory Population (maps courtesy of the International Crane Foundation).
A map of important locations for the reintroduced Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes.
The reintroduced Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes numbers 75 today, with the cranes nesting in Wisconsin before migrating to their primary wintering areas in western Indiana and northern Alabama. Their southbound migration typically begins in October, and the cranes remain in their wintering areas until March before returning to their nesting range again. Recent surveys indicated there were 25 Whoopers wintering in Indiana, 15 in northern Alabama, 11 in southern Illinois, up to 8 in eastern Kentucky, 2 in Tennessee, 2 in Georgia, and 2 in Florida (the location of other cranes was unconfirmed). While at their wintering areas, Whooping Cranes use refuges and other public lands to center at, often flying to harvested agricultural fields to feed.
The current reintroduced migratory population of 75 Whooping Cranes includes 18 wild-hatched Whoopers raised by pairs nesting in Wisconsin, while the other 57 were successfully captive-reared and reintroduced into the wild. Recent locations of wintering Whooping Cranes are illustrated in the associated maps.
Typically, the largest numbers of eastern Whooping Cranes winter in Indiana each year with a number of cranes continuing south to winter in Alabama at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge near Decatur, where about 20,000 Sandhill Cranes also spend winters annually.
Refer to the International Crane Foundation for more information about the current status and locations of wintering Whooping Cranes that belong to the reintroduced Eastern Migratory Population at Where do Wisconsin's Whooping Cranes Winter? (savingcranes.org)