THE WHOOPING CRANE REPORT: 21
02-83003 (foreground) and 02-83004 (background) unison call in
their pen at Patuxent.
02-83003 (on the left) and 02-83004 (on the right) strut across
their pen, declaring their territorial claim.
02-83004 stands in her pen and displays her red crown, a
subtle threat to the photographer.
Lucky has already lost a lot of his brown feathers and
replaced them with white ones. His coloring will continue to change over
the next year until he's all white. He is standing on one leg in a marsh
Chicks raised at Patuxent interact during their training
at Necedah, Wisconsin.
The Breeding Pairs -- 02-83004 and 02-83003
Both 02-83004 and 02-83003 hatched in 1983, making them both 19 years old. 02-83004 was hatched at Patuxent from an egg that came from the wild flock in Wood Buffalo National Park in Canada. 02-83003 was hatched from an egg produced at Patuxent from 02-64001 and 02-71001. (See report about Canus).
Female 02-83004 and Male 02-83003 have been paired since 1985. They are a naturally fertile pair, but have a tendency to have poor fertility. 02-83004 has been laying fertile eggs since 1994. In their early egg-laying years, 02-83004 and 02-83003 exhibited egg-breaking behavior, a problem that is not unusual among captive birds. They have been growing out of that problem and are becoming better incubators and better parents. They currently have six offspring still living in Florida. One of these offspring is Lucky, who is the first whooper chick to fledge in the wild in 60 years. 02-83004 and 02-83003 are Lucky's grandparents. This year, they produced three chicks for the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP) program. Those three chicks are currently in Necedah, Wisconsin getting ready for this year's migration.
02-83004 and 02-83003 are excellent parents who vigorously defend their territory. Their protective attitude can be seen in these pictures, as they unison call, strut-walk, and show their crowns, all of which are threat displays cranes use on other cranes to get them to leave their territory.
02-83004 and 02-83003 are both named after Ernie Kuyt, the Canadian biologist who collected the wild whooper eggs that were brought to Patuxent to develop the captive breeding flock. "02-83004" is a play-on-words with Ernie's last name, Kuyt.
The Space Coast Birding Conference in Florida holds a whooping crane tour during its festival. This year it will also have speakers from The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and from Patuxent to present seminars on the history of Patuxent, and on current topics involving the two whooper release programs. The web address is:
Lucky continues to do well in Florida. He's still traveling with his parents, which he should continue to do at least until next breeding season. Interesting Note: Lucky's grandparents are 02-83004 and 02-83003, who are highlighted on this page.
The 17 whooper chicks reared at Patuxent continue to develop and are doing well in their training. The team had hoped to begin migration on October 10, but weather caused a delay. You can check on when the actual migration begins, and follow the chicks' progress at:
The Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership website:
and also at Operation Migration's website:
Please check our site on December 12th for a web page update.
See our Crane Videos!
Click here to ask questions about Patuxent's whooping crane program. Please check our site on December 12th for a web page update!Whooping Crane Reports
Hatch Day (Click on numbered links to view all other egg (negative numbers) and chick days).