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THE WHOOPING CRANE REPORT: 12
Patuxent Crane Videos (latest video

Whooping Crane Dance: Goliath begins the dance
Goliath (background) begins the dance.

Whooping Crane Dance: Goliath's mate joins in
His mate immediately joins in.

Whooping Crane Dance: many acrobatic movements are involved
The whoopers' dance involves wing-flapping, bobbing, bowing, leaping into the air, and other acrobatic movements. (The structure on the right is part of a shade shelter.)

Whooping Crane Dance: Whoopers dance for many reasons; sometimes for sheer joy
Whoopers dance for many reasons, and sometimes for the sheer joy of it.

Whooping Crane Dance: Goliath's mate leaps high during dance
A cool, breezy day can be reason enough. Goliath's mate leaps high during the dance.


Whooping Crane Dance: whoopers dance around hand-dug pond
Whoopers who dance are comfortable in their surroundings. This pair enjoys dancing around their hand-dug pond.  Dancing indicates that the pair bond is strong.

Whooping Crane Dance: dancing increases in the Spring when breeding activities begin
Dancing increases in the spring when breeding activities begin, but just feeling good is reason enough for a whooper to dance.

Whooping Crane Dance: watching whoopers dance is a beautiful sight!
The staff enjoys any chance to watch the whoopers dance. It tells us the birds are happy in their home, and with their mates, and not under undue stress. And it's beautiful to watch!

Film and photos Jennifer Green, USGS

 

The Dance

The whoopers' dance is legendary. Native Americans emulated it in their own Crane Dance. There's usually no warning that the birds are about to dance, they just do it when the spirit moves them. Young chicks run and play, but actual dancing doesn't usually start until they have enough wing-power to fly. In the wild, the dancers can leap very high, using their wings to attain loft. In our pens, they are limited by the flight netting, but can still achieve an impressive jump. Sometimes the cranes will throw sticks in the air and kick at them in play. Dancing almost always indicates good health and high spirits.

The birds in this pen are young and have not yet produced eggs. The crew has hand-dug a small pond in their pen. The water gives them more behavioral opportunities. We hope that the stimulation of the pond will encourage these birds to breed early. They certainly are enjoying it, spending a lot of time probing and wading. And on this day, they were inspired to dance. Their pen is much larger than the small area surrounding the pond, yet they stay close to water during their impromptu performance.

Jenn was lucky enough to have the video camera on hand when these birds began to dance since it's not something we can predict. Dancing lasts as long as the birds want it to. Sometimes it's just a quick burst of action, and other times can go on for quite a while. Either way, it is always a real treat for the crew to witness dancing. The exuberance of the birds is infectious.


To follow the progress of the whoopers in Wisconsin, log onto the Operation Migration website for recent updates, including pictures, that are posted at the bottom of this page:

http://www.operationmigration.org/field_2001_spr.html


Dancing Cranes New Icon (160x120)
Dancing Cranes
New Icon (320x240)

Previous Whooping Crane Videos:

See Report 11 for more info on smelt-feeding:
Feeding Smelt to Cranes 
(160x120)
Feeding Smelt to Cranes
  (320x240)

See Report 10 for more info on pre-flight training:
Whooper Chick Pre-Flight Training Video  (160x120)
Whooper Chick Pre-Flight Training Video
(320x240)

See Report 9 for more info on exercising chicks:
Whooper Chick ExerciseVideo (160x120)
Whooper Chick ExerciseVideo
(320x240)

See Report 8 for more info on chicks feeding:
Whooper Chick Feeding Video  (160x120)
Whooper Chick Feeding Video (320x240) 

Please check our site on November 1 for a web page update and new footage!

Click here to ask questions about Patuxent's whooping crane program.   Please check our site on November 1 for a web page update and new crane footage!

Whooping Crane Reports

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Hatch Day (Click on numbered links to view all other egg (negative numbers) and chick days).

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General Info on Cranes Why are Cranes Endangered? Frequently Asked Questions Photo Gallery Cool Facts Related Links Whoopers Home
Other Patuxent Crane Information

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, 
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD, USA
URL http://whoopers.usgs.gov
Contact: Jonathan Male
Last Modification: 27-Sep-2001@7:45 (edt)
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