THE WHOOPING CRANE REPORT: 2
Tux is in Quarantine!
Tux is now a juvenile crane and his age is no longer counted in days. He's 7 months old, and he's shed most of his cinnamon feathers, and is almost completely white now, with just a few cinnamon tips on his wings and around his head and neck. Tux is living with his cohort -- the other young whoopers he'll be released with -- in the Purple Series, our quarantine facility. They are quarantined to keep them separate from the other cranes at Patuxent, to minimize any risk that they might transmit some disease and carry it to Florida. All whoopers being released are in quarantine 60 days from the projected time of their release. They are examined at 60 days and tested for various diseases, then 15 days prior to shipping, they are examined and tested again. Once they arrive in Florida, they are examined and tested twice more before finally being released.
Barbara, Brian, Damien (in yellow), Jane, and Brenda (from left to right) hold their arms out and herd young whoopers toward the catch-corner (green fabric-lined fence corner). The catch-corner protects the birds from rubbing against the fence and injuring themselves. The techs move slowly so the birds don't panic. They are wearing special quarantine clothing, including fabric boots, over their work clothes to reduce the chance of transmitting something from the breeding flock to these release birds. One of the birds has slipped past the crew and takes refuge in the pond near the whooping crane decoy. The decoy is suspended over the pond to encourage the birds to use it. The crew will use the rope dangling across the pen to help herd this bird out of the water.
Jared gently herds the last straggler into the catch corner where he can safely capture her and pick her up. Jared's upraised arms discourage the bird from bolting around him or flying over his head.
Jared holds the bill of a young bird to keep him from pecking Barbara who is holding him. Brenda's bird is peaceful and doesn't need additional restraint. The techs wear racquetball glasses to protect their eyes from the birds' sharp bills. Even a placid bird may strike out to get free.
In the picture on the left, we can see Damien's fingers are wrapped with tape to cushion them from the bird's struggles. He keeps one finger between the bird's hocks to prevent the bird's struggles from scraping the thin skin there. Whoopers are strong and never get used to being handled, so all handling is kept to the absolute minimum.
On the right, Barbara eases her bird into a shipping crate while Jared holds the door up. The birds will be transported to the veterinary hospital for x-rays and medical tests that are part of the quarantine procedure.
Once the birds are crated, the crew can remove their quarantine suits. Jared and Brenda (and Jane and Barbara behind them) prepare to carefully lift the crate into the van to transport the birds. Lifting and placing the crate must be coordinated so that the birds aren't jostled.
At the vet hospital, Dr. Glenn Olsen gives the birds a physical exam. He listens to their heart and breathing, checks their eyes, beak, mouth, and throat, and checks over their bodies and wings. Barbara holds the bird for the exam while Jared and Karen take notes as Dr. Olsen dictates his findings.
When the vet is done, Jane and Barbara carefully put the bird in a weighing sack and suspend him to get an accurate weight. Barbara makes sure not to touch the bird and affect the weight reading, but is ready to take hold of him if he struggles.
We'll continue the quarantine story on our next web update. Please check our site on January 10 for a Tux update!
|Click here to ask questions about Tux* or Patuxent's whooping crane program. *Tux is now in quarantine with his cohort, getting ready for their trip to Florida. We'll continue the quarantine story on our next web update. Please check our site on January 10 for a Tux update!|
Hatch Day (Click on numbered links to view all other egg (negative numbers) and chick days).
To check on updates after day 14, go to whooper's home.