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Whooping Crane Kids: Learning Life's Lessons

Finding a safe place to roost
Young whoopers must learn to roost (spend the night) in an area that's safe from predators. If they roost in water the right depth, they will be able to hear the splash of any predator that comes near, and they can fly away.

Chicks in Captivity
Did you guess that the white whooper on the left was fake? Decoys have been with the young chicks since they hatched. The chicks see them as part of their species. Handlers put the decoys in water that's at just the right level for roosting. By imitating the "phonies" chicks learn to roost in the right places!

Chicks in the Wild
Whoopers raised in the wild stick close to their parents and other members of their species. In this way, they learn from their own kind where to spend the night!




Next: Knowing your place in the group

Photo Credits
Captive cranes: Damien Ossi, USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Wild cranes: Diane Loyd