Whooping Crane Whooping Crane
Today's News Fall's Journey SouthReport Your Sightings How to Use Journey North Search Journey North

Responses to Challenge Question #12

“What skills must a young crane learn from its parents before it's ready for life on its own? (Start your list from time of hatching. Go through the first year of life, ending with spring migration.)
Which of these skills can YOU already do? Which will you need more time and experience to learn?”

What You Said

Marcus (home schooler, Mt. Airy, MD) has put together thoughtful, thorough, and excellent answers for both parts of this question! He writes:

"Young Whooping Cranes know some things by instinct, but they learn other things by observing their parents and other cranes, as well as by trial and error. Some of the things that they must learn are

• how to recognize a whooper from other similar birds;
• what things they should eat and where they can find them;
• how to clean and preen their feathers;
• how to stay safe from predators, how to fly;
• how and when to migrate;
• what to do if they get caught in a storm; and
• how to interact with other cranes and deal with the pecking order.

After their first spring migration, they would have other things to learn, such as pairing and nest building, [and, a few years later,] incubating eggs and raising young.

"Like Whooping Cranes, we have to learn many things to survive. One important difference is that cranes have to learn things much more quickly than humans do, because of migration and the shorter time that their parents will be caring for them. While they have not quite a year to learn the things mentioned above (aside from the nesting things), we get years to learn even some of the basic things, and, of course, we will never learn to fly! Learning to migrate would involve lots of skills that people take a long time to develop. And, as for the pecking order, there are similar kinds of relations among people, so we have to learn this, too. Both people and cranes have to learn to continually adapt to changing circumstances to survive, and because cranes live long lives, the ones who adapt well are probably learning and remembering their experiences to help them in the future, just as people try to do in their lives."


And We Add: That says it all! Well done, Marcus!


Copyright 1997-2006 Journey North. All Rights Reserved.
Please send all questions, comments, and suggestions to
our feedback form

Annenberg Web SiteToday's News Fall's Journey South Report Your Sightings How to Use Journey North Search Journey North Journey North Home Page