PICTURED: The juvenile whooping crane known as 80-19 is seen at Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area in Greene County shortly after she was released there in November. The bird is hanging out with other whooping cranes and is expected to learn migration patterns from them. (International Crane Foundation / Courtesy photo)
PICTURED: The juvenile whooping crane known as 80-19 is seen at Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area in Greene County shortly after she was released there in November. The bird is hanging out with other whooping cranes and is expected to learn migration patterns from them. (International Crane Foundation / Courtesy photo)
A juvenile bird from the rarest crane species in the world is doing well after she was released into the wild at Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area by members of the International Crane Foundation.

Now known as 80-19, the female whooping crane was 5 months old when she was released in November near other whooping cranes at the wildlife area. The young crane was part of the foundation’s parent-rearing program in which chicks are hatched and reared at the foundation’s headquarters in Baraboo, Wisconsin, by adult cranes. In the fall, the young birds are released with other whooping cranes so they can migrate south with adult whooping cranes that are part of the eastern migratory population.

Because of an injury, 80-19, also known as Arya while in Wisconsin, wasn’t able to be released with the adults. After she recovered, she was transported in a crate to Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area to be released near a pair of whooping cranes in the hopes that she would be accepted and follow the adults as they migrate farther south. She was the first juvenile whooping crane the foundation previously had in captivity to be released at Goose Pond, the only place in Indiana where a juvenile whooping crane has been set free.

Recently, 80-19 was spotted in a group of whooping cranes near the wildlife area in Greene County, according to Melanie Cowell, whooping crane outreach program assistant with the foundation.

That group has 18 birds and was near a pair of adult cranes. Those 20 whooping cranes are a large portion of the eastern migratory flock of about 86 birds that are currently located from lower Michigan down to Florida.
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