Whooping Crane Whooping Crane

April 13, 2002

Cuddle Up!

Chick with puppet
Photo courtesy Heather Ray
Operation Migration

This new chick cuddles with a crane puppet head. This helps with proper imprinting (an attachment the chick develops for whomever feeds and cares for him).

Crane chicks love the color red. The red tip on the bill helps the chick focus on it when trainers use the puppet to start feeding the chick and teaching it what to do.

The whooping crane chicks are being hand-reared (also called costume-reared). That means they are being imprinted on whooping cranes, while raised by humans that wear costumes to hide their human forms. The humans must never speak or sneeze or make any human noises while around the cranes!Find out more about imprinting:

Try This! Link to Lesson

Trainer Dan Sprague, Biologist, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center

Meet Dan Sprague

Audio Clip

.mp3 file, 245K, .wav file, 146K, .aif file, 146K)

Hear Dan Explain Why He Wears the Costume

Audio Clip
.mp3 file, 531K, .wav file, 279K, .aif file, 279K)

Try This! Journaling Question

  • Dan uses the word imprinting when he explains why he wears the costume. After you listen to the audio clip, write the word and its meaning in your journal. As you read the Journey North Highlights, list some "tools" that biologists use to help baby cranes imprint correctly on their species.

Journey North is pleased to feature this educational adventure made possible by the
Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).

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