Whooping Crane Whooping Crane

August 24, 2003

Sixteen Cranes Mingle and Mix

Today brought poor flying weather, so instead the cranes got to "come out to play" on the ground. The large group of cranes will now work out their pecking order, or hierarchy within the flock. To make sure they didn't fight or harm each other, the costumed handlers were on hand with puppets in case they needed to break up any fights. Sara, Heather, Joe and Brook--all in costumes-- released the cranes for their first chance to mix. Some of the birds took short flights around their new pen site. Others were content to forage with the costumed handlers. Cranes #311 and #318 seemed to be the only two bullying birds. They sometimes challenged the other birds.
Heather Ray in costume with whole flock.
Photos Joe Duff, WCEP
Does this Red-winged blackbird wonder about this strange-looking group?
#311 and #318: bullies?

Try This! Lessons and Journaling Questions
  • Merging the cohorts is not as easy as it may sound. Find out why:

    Whooping Crane Pecking Order

  • Play a pecking order simulation game with this lesson:

    Pecking Order Simulation Game

  • We humans have many things in common with animals, including an urge to fit into a social hierarchy. Discuss how school classes are "cohorts" too, with a large number of students all close to the same age.Think about the way kids in a class sort themselves out socially. How is their "pecking order" similar to that of a whooping crane cohort? How is it different? Write your thoughts in your journal, or discuss as a class.

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