THE WHOOPING CRANE REPORT: 3
Eight young-of-the-year birds were shipped to Florida on December 6.
They are doing fine. Tux was not in that group and will be shipped
to Florida in January.
Quarantine Procedures-Part 1, Go To Previous Report)
After the veterinarian's
exam, the bird must be x-rayed, and for that, he must be asleep. As Barb
holds the bird, Jane covers his beak with the anesthesia mask while Dr.
Olsen administers the anesthesia out of camera range. The x-rays will
determine if the birds have consumed metal. Young cranes are curious about
unusual objects and will eat anything that attracts their eye. Like
three-year-olds who want to put everything into their mouths, young cranes
will consume dangerous things. The techs go over the pens every year with
metal detectors to remove metal before the birds can find it, but freezing
and thawing of the ground still brings new pieces to the surface.
Once the bird is anesthetized, Dr. Olsen stretches the wing to examine it before taking the x-ray. He checks the feathers and makes sure the joints are free-moving.
While the bird sleeps, Dr. Olsen collects blood from a leg vein. The blood will be used for a complete health screening. Also, some of the blood serum will be kept at Patuxent for future study. Barbara stands by with a gauze pad to apply pressure to the puncture when Dr. Olsen is done.
As Jane monitors the anesthesia, the sleeping bird is carefully positioned for the x-ray. An x-ray glove holds his wing up and away from his body, which is the part being x-rayed, and his legs are held in place with another glove. The plate holding the x-ray film is under the bird. Information about the bird, including his ID number, is written on a special label that will transfer to the x-ray. The red "R" stands for "right", since it is his right side that is on the plate.
Karen records information about the tests and procedures on the bird's medical record. Accurate records are critical to the project, and may be needed for future studies.
The birds wake up very quickly from the anesthesia, however, they are unsteady on their feet for awhile and can get injured if they fall. Jane carefully cradles the bird she just helped x-ray. Groggy from the anesthesia, his head was weaving, so she tucked his bill under his wing to mimic a natural sleeping pose, helping him to relax until he was more awake. Soon, he'll be ready to stand on his own.
Brenda's bird has had more time to recover and is almost ready to stand. Once completely recovered, the birds will be put back in their crates and returned to their quarantine pen.
Please check our site on February 14 for a web page update!
Click here to ask questions about our chick or Patuxent's whooping crane program. Please check our site on February 14 for a web page update!
Hatch Day (Click on numbered links to view all other egg (negative numbers) and chick days).