THE WHOOPING CRANE REPORT: 13
Photo by Jane Nicolich, USGS
Photos by Damien Ossi, USGS
Pairs: 02-85002 & 02-86027
02-85002 and 02-86027 have been paired since 1989, when both were very young. Before they began laying eggs, fertile eggs at Patuxent could only be produced through artificial insemination. However, research indicated that restricting the whoopers' flight ability hampered their ability to breed naturally. 02-86027 and 02-85002 were kept in a net-covered pen and allowed to have full flight capability. In 1991, they produced the first naturally fertile whooping crane egg laid by captive-reared birds.
In the first picture, 02-86027 is in the foreground, and 02-85002 in the background. They are unison calling, which pairs do often to establish territory. 02-86027 has dropped his wingtips in a classic whooper display. He is taller than 02-85002, which is common, since the males are often larger than the females. 02-85002's right wing shows damage from an injury she received as a young chick.
02-85002 and 02-86027 are excellent parents and raise a whooper chick almost every year. They are such good parents that they even raised a sandhill chick the year before 02-85002 started laying eggs. 02-86027 is a very aggressive, dominant male and can be difficult for the crew to work with, especially during breeding season when he becomes more territorial and protective. 02-86027, who is named for the territory in Canada that his egg came from, has also been nicknamed "Alta-tude" from his habit of leaping high in the air and coming down on top of crewmembers while kick-boxing with his feet. 02-85002's unusual name is short for "Lazarus." She survived two serious bouts of illness when she was less than two weeks old. She seemed so close to death on both occasions everyone felt it was a miracle she pulled through. Now she is a healthy adult, though she still bears scars from that time. Her damaged wings, which can be seen in her pictures, are some of those.
02-85002 and 02-86027 have offspring at Patuxent, in the wild in Florida, and in a whooping crane breeding facility in Calgary, Canada.
The whoopers in Wisconsin are migrating now! To follow their progress, log onto the Operation Migration website for recent updates, including pictures, that are posted at the bottom of this page:
See Report 10 for more info on pre-flight
Please check our site on December 6 for a web page update!
Click here to ask questions about Patuxent's whooping crane program. Please check our site on December 6 for a web page update!Whooping Crane Reports
Hatch Day (Click on numbered links to view all other egg (negative numbers) and chick days).