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Whooping Crane Kids: Learning Life's Lessons

Coming into the world

Chicks in Captivity
Captive-raised chicks have it easy! Handlers first place their eggs under real adult cranes. But later, they are moved to drawer-like incubators. These "nests" keep the the eggs and chicks warm and dry as they hatch.

The first thing a captive-raised chick sees is a crane puppet.This becomes "mom." The chick knows, by instinct, to stick close. The puppet also has a tiny recorder that plays the call a parent makes to its chick. The call means “It’s okay. Follow me.” Click here to hear the call!

Chicks in the Wild
Wild chicks are born on nests made of mud and reeds that float in marshes or shallow ponds. Being near water allows the chicks to swim to escape predators. The very first thing these babies see is their parents. They also know, by instinct, to stick close. Still, there are so many dangers in the wild that many chicks die before they're a month old.

Next: Finding food>>

Photo Credits
Captive cranes: Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP)
Wild cranes: Steve Nesbitt, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission