Whooping Crane Whooping Crane

A New Life for Number 9

Number 9 in her pen
PhotoJennifer Rabuck,

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."

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 the
Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).

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