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April 12, 2002
First to Hatch!
These whooping crane eggs show how life starts for some very special whooping crane
chicks. The 18 whooping crane eggs for this special flock all hatched between April
12 and May 21, 200l. An average whooping crane egg is 102 mm long (4 inches)
and weighs 208 grams (7 ounces). The average incubation period is 30 days. The newly
hatched chicks are in a drawer-like incubator. This keeps them warm during the drying-out
process and first few hours after hatching.
The chicks for each year's ultralight migration are numbered in order of
hatching. This year's chicks are numbered with "HY 2002" for Hatch
Year 2002, the
second hatch year for the new Eastern flock. This young flock reintroduces
this endangered species to the eastern part of North America, where they
vanished over a century ago.
Because whooping cranes are the most endangered of 17 crane species,
each egg is precious. Captive whooping cranes at Patuxent Wildlife Research
Center near Laurel, Maryland, lay the eggs that will become the birds
in the new Eastern flock. Three of the eggs were laid by captive whoopers
at the International Crane Foundation
Try This! Links to Lessons and Journaling Questions
- What is captive breeding, and why is it necessary? Find out and see some fun
- Imagine being a chick inside the egg! It's dark and cramped, and hatching is
hard work! Learn all about crane eggs and take an imaginary trip inside one with
this great Journey North visualization and lesson:
Journey North is pleased to feature this educational adventure made
possible by the Whooping
Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).
Copyright 2002 Journey North. All Rights Reserved.
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