Experts hope nesting season successful for whooping cranes

NECEDAH — Wildlife experts say it could be a record year for efforts to reintroduce a critically endangered bird in Wisconsin.

An aerial survey has counted 37 whooping crane nests, with 13 chicks hatched so far this year. Nine of the young birds were still living as of late last week, and another eight pairs still were brooding eggs. More than 20 chicks will be hatched this season if all the active sites are successful.

The La Crosse Tribune reports that seasonal swarms of biting black flies, which are attracted to avian blood, have caused whooping cranes to abandon their nests and eggs. But the area has seen fewer black flies this spring, giving experts more hope for a breakthrough year.

About 95 whooping cranes are in this eastern flock.