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The people in the farmhouse let wildlife officials know that the smaller of the two cranes did not fly in the usual way, with both legs extended straight out behind. One leg hung down a bit. Was it injured? The long, thin legs of Whooping cranes can easily be injured. Flying cranes may injure legs by colliding with power lines, which they do not see in time to avoid. This could break their legs or dislocate a leg where it connects to the bird's hip.

Photo Laura Crawford Williams