June 15, 2002
Joe at Patuxent with a decoy
Is that a real crane? The crew got new crane decoys (or dummies) this year. They
are a big improvement over the first "dummies" used in 2001. The decoys
have been with the young chicks since hatching so the chicks have imprinted on them.
Decoys are placed in the pens so the chicks identify with how they look. The crew
also sets decoys where they want the whooper chicks to be. The young birds don't
think the decoys are birds, but they do recognize them as familiar silhouettes.
Crane decoys stand in the water roosting areas of each enclosure at the three training
sites at Necedah. The crane handlers put them there to encourage the chicks to roost
in water. (Roosting means standing on one leg to sleep at night.) The crane team
tries to ensure that the water level in the pond is appropriate. If the water level
is too high, the chicks can't roost there at night. If it's too low, they are not
safe from predators that may try to sneak a night attack. The right water level helps
the cranes hear the splashing of any predator that approaches. The birds have time
to fly off to escape.
|Chicks learn to roost in water at night. Photo
Try This! Journaling Question
- What crane predators do you think live in Wisconsin? What predators can you think
of for the cranes' winter home in Florida? (You'll learn more about predators in
the July 14 report.)
Journey North is pleased to feature this educational adventure made possible by
Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).
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