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April 22, 2003
Who Am I?
Dan Sprague, PWRC
This new chick (#302, hatched April 22) cuddles with a realistic-looking
crane puppet head. This helps with proper imprinting (an attachment
the chick develops for whomever feeds and cares for him). It's important
that chicks see other Whooping cranes from birth, so they get the right
idea about what species they belong to.
whooping crane chicks are being hand-reared (costume-reared) by humans
who use crane puppets and wear big white costurmes to hide their human
form. The chicks are being imprinted on Whooping cranes, while being raised
by humans. The humans must NEVER speak or sneeze or make any human noises
while around the cranes. These wild birds must not come to know or depend
on humans because that would make them less able to survive as wild birds
when they they are released on their own. Find out more about imprinting:
Trainer Dan Sprague, Biologist, Patuxent
Wildlife Research Center
file, 245K, .wav
file, 146K, .aif
Dan Explain Why He Wears the Costume
file, 531K, .wav
.aif file, 279K)
This! Imprinting Lessons, Journaling Questions
- See Lesson:
- A protocol
is a set of rules. The experts who train these crane chicks and lead
them on migration follow an official protocol. It was written by Operation
Migration, the people who first led birds on migration using ultralight
airplanes. Print and read Operation
Migration's official Protocol. As you read, think of possible reasons
why each rule is important. Note reasons in your journal or on the chalkboard
as you discuss them in class.
uses the word imprinting when he explains why he
wears the costume. After you listen to the audio clip (see above),
write the word and its meaning inyour journal. As you read the coming
Highlights, list some ways that biologists help baby cranesto imprint
correctly on their species.
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