Growing Feathers for Flight
By July, the gangly chick's flight feathers start to appear. The wings are growing and getting the long, strong black feathers necessary for flight. This is also when most adults molt, or shed their old feathers as strong new ones replace them. Crane chicks usually fledge, or have the feathers necessary for flight, when they are about three months old. Chicks hop, run, and flap, building their flight muscles and gaining endurance. Each family forages and explores on their summer territory as parents teach and protect their young.