Crane Kids: Learning Life's Lessons
Unlike other birds, young whooping cranes don't know by
instinct where to migrate. They have to be taught!
The puppet (called robo-crane) encourages the chicks to accept
the trike (a nickname for an Ultralight plane).
The fence protects the chicks while they learn to follow the aircraft.
As they grow, when they hear the trike coming near their pen,
a handler lets them out. They jump and flap and charge down the grass
after it. Finally they lift off and fly.
When they finally take off, the chicks (especially the lead ones)
ride on a stream of air that comes over the wing. You might say the aircraft
tows the birds along!
in the Wild
Wild whooping cranes learn migration from their parents. Chicks spend
most of the first year with them. Then they separate from their parents
after the first journey south. Some leave their parents while on the wintering
grounds. Others leave them on the migration north.
to the beginning >>
Captive cranes: Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP)
Wild cranes: Steve Nesbitt, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission