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Two whooping cranes hatch at Necedah wildlife refuge

NECEDAH - Two whooping crane chicks hatched on Memorial Day at the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in central Wisconsin.

It's a rare occurrence, as only four other chicks hatched in the wild since the cranes were re-introduced in the Eastern U-S nine years ago. The International Crane Foundation at Baraboo said a six-year-old male and a seven-year-old female had a pair of baby chicks.

The foundation's Sara Zimorski said some people wondered if it was worth it for the mother to hatch - because she has had trouble migrating back-and-forth between Wisconsin in the summer and Florida in the winter.

But Zimorski says every bird is important as experts try to re-build the endangered whooping crane population in the Eastern U-S. Of the four cranes that hatched in the wild since 2001, only one lived to be an adult. The total count now stands at 104 in the East. Another 263 cranes have their migrations between northern Canada and Texas.