THE WHOOPING CRANE REPORT: 37
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Current Number of Chicks: 14!
We've mentioned before that some chicks might not remain with the WCEP program depending on their gender. We need to keep certain birds of specific sexes to maintain a good genetic variation in our captive breeding flock. Previously, we discussed keeping WCEP #02 if that bird turned out to be female. But, #02 is a male, and so will stay with WCEP. However, #10 is a female, and a bird we need to keep, so #10 is no longer part of the WCEP program.
But that still leaves 13 birds in the WCEP program with more on the way. We also neglected to mention in the last report that WCEP chick #11 was hatched from an egg sent to us from our partners at the International Crane Foundation. The chick is doing great and is a welcomed addition to the WCEP flock.
Sadly, we regret to report that neither of the San Antonio Zoo whooper eggs survived. In report 34 we discussed what happened to the first San Antonio egg when the chick hatched but died soon after. Unfortunately, the second egg, which was due to hatch in May, died early in its development and never got to the hatching stage. It's hard to say what causes an egg to suffer an early death, but everyone at Patuxent felt the loss of both chicks. Last year's San Antonio chicks were a great contribution to the WCEP program and they will be missed this year.
Dealing with Crooked Toes.
Because crane chicks, especially whoopers, grow so rapidly, and because conditions in captivity aren't the same as in the wild, we sometimes have problems with chicks developing crooked toes. We suspect that it's because of differences in substrate (chicks in the wild are on various natural substrates, while our chicks are on sod, carpet over concrete, or bedding over concrete) combined with less exercise than in the wild, and differences in nutrition. It's a complex problem we haven't been able to eliminate despite many attempts. However, we have learned how to correct it.
To correct crooked toes, we must tape small splints to the crooked toes and leave the tape on for 2 days. We use a tape that isn't too sticky, that doesn't irritate their skin, and comes off easily, along with veterinary applicator sticks.
The chicks grow so fast that the tape has to come off by the second day, simply because the foot is getting larger. But usually, two days is all it takes to resolve the problem. When the tape comes off, the toe is straight. It might stay that way, and it might become crooked again later. If it deviates again, we simply continue to tape it until the problem is corrected. We've learned, however, if we don't correct crooked toes, they get worse, and can result in deformed feet that can hamper the bird's ability to get around, and can become arthritic at an early age. Certainly not a condition we'd want to have on a chick that will be released into the wild. We also discussed crooked toes in a report about one our breeding pairs, 02-74001 and 02-77001.
This Year's Migration Success!
You can read regular updates and see pictures of the WCEP migratory flock as they leave Florida to return to Wisconsin at the International Crane Foundations' migration website: http://www.savingcranes.org/about/whats_new/. Several of the birds from 2003 have already arrived at Necedah.
Their migration photo journal can be seen at: http://www.savingcranes.org/about/whats_new/.
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 May 20th for a web page update!Whooping Crane Reports
Hatch Day (Click on numbered links to view all other egg (negative numbers) and chick days).