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THE WHOOPING CRANE REPORT: 30

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New!Visit our new Whooper Report Site Map and find out what you've been missing! New!
We have 8 web pages of General Information, 24 different Whooping Crane Chick Reports, and 30 Whooper Reports. There's lots of information, photos, and videos packed on these web pages, so check out our site map and find out what you've been missing.

See our most recent crane videos!

02-74001 (foreground) and 02-77001 (background) start unison calling when a technician enters their pen to take pictures.  Photo by Kathy O'Malley.
02-74001 (foreground) and 02-77001 (background) start unison calling when a technician enters their pen to take pictures. The tennis netting on the fencing behind them provides limited visual contact with nearby whoopers, giving the birds more privacy.

The Breeding Pair -- 02-64001 and 02-77001

02-74001 and 02-77001 are two of our oldest whoopers and are now our oldest breeding pair. (02-64001' mate, Mrs. C, is our oldest whooping crane.) 02-74001 was hatched in 1974, from an egg brought from the wild flock in Wood Buffalo National Park in Canada. 02-77001 was produced at Patuxent and is one of 02-64001' daughters. She was hatched in 1977. In the early days of the program when we had only a few pairs, 02-64001 and 02-77001 were designated "the 'H' pair" in an alphabetical identification system used at the time. After that system was replaced with the numerical system in use now, the old H pair became 02-64001 and 02-77001. 

They were paired in 1982. 02-74001 is not able to fly, and so the pair is not naturally fertile. We use artificial insemination to fertilize 02-77001's eggs, and we also use 02-74001's semen to fertilize other genetically compatible whooper females. Unfortunately, 02-77001 has not been able to produce whooper chicks for us. She doesn't lay every year, and when she does, she often produces small, infertile eggs. 02-74001, through artificial insemination, has been a successful sire. He is the father of 02-85001, one of our most successful breeders, who was featured in a previous report. 02-74001 also sired Lancelot, a bird in the Calgary whooper breeding program. 02-74001 has also sired more than twelve chicks that were sent to Florida for release.


02-74001 was hatched in 1974 from an egg from Wood Buffalo National Park.  Photo by Kathy O'Malley.02-77001 (right) is a daughter of 02-64001, originated at Patuxent, and was hatched in 1977.  Photo by Kathy O'Malley.
02-74001 (left)  was hatched in 1974 from an egg from Wood Buffalo National Park. 02-77001 (right) is a daughter of 02-64001, originated at Patuxent, and was hatched in 1977. 

 

 

02-77001's crooked toes. Since she was hatched, we've learned how to solve this problem. 02-77001's environment has to be managed to make sure she has mobility.  Photo by Kathy O'Malley.

02-77001's crooked toes. Since she was hatched, we've learned how to solve this problem. 02-77001's environment has to be managed to make sure she has mobility.

Photos, Kathleen O'Malley, USGS

02-74001 & 02-77001 as Parents

While 02-77001 may not have produced any chicks herself, she and 02-74001 are more than willing to raise other pairs' chicks. Even when 02-77001 hasn't laid eggs herself, she will often accept a dummy egg (an artificial wooden egg painted to look like a whooper egg, or a crane eggshell filled with plaster) and incubate it, and then later accept a hatching egg in its place. In fact, 02-64001 and 02-77001 are such eager parents that they will often tolerate "chick swaps." When adopting crane chicks to pairs who may not be hatching their own egg, we try to time things so that pairs are either given eggs just beginning to hatch, or chicks that have hatched when the adults are expecting the dummy egg they've been incubating to hatch. If you do it too soon, the parents won't be ready and may not accept the chick. If you do it too late, the parents may have given up on the egg and abandoned it and won't accept the chick. With all the eggs and chicks we're handling during the season, it isn't always possible to get everything timed just perfectly -- sometimes chicks hatch a little early or a little late or don't hatch at all, and the timing is off. 

02-74001 and 02-77001 are very tolerant, and we have sometimes given them a young sandhill chick to raise for a few days while we wait for the whooper chick we really want them to have, and then we'll "swap" the whooper for the sandhill. Some birds won't tolerate this kind of change. But the old H pair seems happy to have a chick to raise, even if it looks a little different, or is older or younger. They have an excellent success rate for fledging adopted whooper chicks.

(You can read more about egg management at Patuxent in Report 16: The Complicated Life of a Patuxent Whooper Egg.)

02-77001's Crooked Toes

02-77001 was raised in the early years of the crane program. When she was hatched, biologists were only beginning to learn how to solve growth problems like curled toes and rotating hocks. Now we can correct crooked toes so chicks grow up with normal feet. 02-77001's crooked toes are a slight impediment to her, but she usually navigates her pen with little difficulty. When it snows, we may have to provide her with a covering of straw to help her get around, and in the summer, she sometimes needs extra vegetation control to have a better walking surface.  

This Year's Migration Success!

Regular updates and pictures of this year's ultralight migration can be found on Operation Migration's website in their Field Journal. More updates and information on the WCEP project can be found at:
The Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership
website and The International Crane Foundations' website. Find out where the previously released birds are at: http://www.savingcranes.org/about/whats_new/. Information about the final destination of the migration is at the Chassahowitzka NWR site.

Florida Update:

More information about this year's production in Florida and the status of the non-migratory whoopers can be found on the Whooping Crane Conservation Association's website under Flock Status

See our Crane Videos!

Click here to ask questions about Patuxent's whooping crane program.   And don't forget to check out our new SITE MAP to learn more about our previously published whooper reports. Please check our site on February 26th for a web page update!  

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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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 modified: 01/14/2004
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