A New Life for Number 9
Number 9 in her pen
Hatrched at Patuxent to be one of the core flock of new Eastern migratory whooping
cranes, Number 9's fate changed directions when some of her wing feathers grew in
malformed. The malformed feathers would likely prevent her from going the distance,
so this young crane will have a different career, and maybe you'll get to see her
yourself! Number 9 will will be put on permanent display at the New Orleans Zoo.
Tom Stehn, Whooping Crane Coordinator, said, "Although we discussed possibilities
of waiting for the feathers to re-grow, this could take 2+ years with no guarantee
that new feathers would be normal. Our experience is that birds with any defects
will not survive in the wild. Hence my decision to put it on display. As a display
bird, the return of whooping cranes to the New Orleans Zoo later this fall will mark
the historic return of this species to the Audubon Zoo."
PhotoJennifer Rabuck, WCEP
This is a historic photo, too: Number 9's first glimpse of a human NOT in costume.
Jennifer Rabuck took the photo, and she was not wearing a costume. Jennifer explained,
"Dan is present in a half of the costume because we wanted to have the costume
handy when the crane saw her first person as a familiar body to help if the crane
reacted negatively. She acted offensively for the first time since Dan has known
her! She was showing displaced aggression when I was in her sight." Displaced
aggression is basically when the crane wants to show dominance over those present,
but isn't quite physically dominant enough to want to actually interact. It is almost
as if the bird takes its frustrations out on other items rather than the item it
wants to: "I am going to tear apart these weeds even though I want to peck you!"
Journey North is pleased to feature this educational adventure made possible by
Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).
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