WHOOPING CRANE CHICK: DAY 03
chick is totally mobile now. He's gone from being barely able to walk to
standing up tall and walking well. He still stumbles every now and then,
but with every passing hour his legs get stronger and more steady. He's
very fluffy, with the dense downy coat that whooper chicks always have.
But he doesn't have to depend on his down to keep warm. There are two heat
lamps in his pen, one hanging over the stuffed brooder model that imitates
a crane parent (see second photo). A crane puppet head is used to encourage him to eat and
drink. Crane chicks love the color red, so his food bowl, the water jug
lid, and the tip of the puppet is red, all to encourage eating and
drinking. He's catching on quick. Matt got him to eat out of the bowl and
Chris, one of our volunteers, got him to drink from the water jug. Getting
the chick to drink is really more important than getting him to eat.
Sleeping under the heat lamps and running around his big pen can cause the
chick to get dehydrated (lose body fluids) quickly. A chick that's
dehydrated will lose interest in eating. Our chick was slightly dehydrated
this morning and had to get some supplemental fluids through injection by
It's nothing unusual, and the extra fluids will keep him going until he's
figured out how to drink on his own. Our chick's weight is holding at 114
grams, which is great. Maybe
he'll learn to eat and drink enough today to gain some weight.
We'll weigh him a
second time tonight, around 9 p.m. and if he needs more
fluids, he'll get them then.
Check on our chick tomorrow!
Even in the wild, whooper parents have to teach their chicks to eat and drink. They teach them to eat by catching food for them--insects, small fish and invertebrates, and small mammals like mice or voles. Videos taken of crane parents on the nest have shown them teaching their chicks to drink by patiently dipping their own beaks into water and letting it drip from their bill. Most birds are attracted to moving water, so the water dripping from the parent's bill is very attractive to the chick who will try to catch it and end up getting their first drink by accident. We use the puppet head in a similar way, splashing it in water until the chick tries to grab the red tip or the falling drops. We have to be just as patient as crane parents who spend hours teaching their chicks this first lesson of survival.
See this page for more
cool facts each day.
here to ask questions about our chick or Patuxent's crane program.
("Tux" for short) - for the name of our Research Center
*This contest was run in May, 2000. If you follow the progress of the chick you will find out the results.
Hatch Day (Click on numbered links to view other egg (negative numbers) and chick days).
To check on updates after day 14, go to whooper's