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THE WHOOPING CRANE REPORT: 15
Patuxent Crane Videos -- No new video this month, but you can still access all our recent videos through the links at the bottom of the page.

As a plane searches for nest sites, a whooper in Wood Buffalo National Park (WBNP), Canada, guards her nest.
As a plane searches for nest sites, a whooper in Wood Buffalo National Park (WBNP), Canada, guards her nest.

Photo by USFWS

The whoopers spend spring and summer in Wood Buffalo National Park, in Canada. After breeding and raising their chicks there, they then migrate 2,700 miles to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, in Texas, on the Gulf Coast to spend the fall and winter. The United States and Canada have long been partners in saving the whooper.
The whoopers spend spring and summer in Wood Buffalo National Park, in Canada. After breeding and raising their chicks there, they then migrate 2,700 miles to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, in Texas, on the Gulf Coast to spend the fall and winter. The United States and Canada have long been partners in saving the whooper.

Photo by USFWS


One of the world's rarest sites: 
One of the world's rarest sites: 
a whooper nest in WBNP.

Photo by USFWS

A whooper nest at the 
A whooper nest at the 
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center.

Photo by USGS

Who Decides What's Best for the Birds?

What's the best diet for a whooping crane? How much room does it need in captivity to breed? How can you safely ship a whooper from one state to another? At what age can you safely ship a chick? What are the best techniques to use in rearing a whooper chick for release into the wild? How best to teach it to migrate? What are the future ramifications for an introduced population with a limited gene pool? How might West Nile Virus affect reintroduction plans?

For the institutions, organizations, and individuals involved in keeping whoopers, breeding them successfully, and producing healthy chicks capable of surviving in the wild, the questions are endless. That's why, every year, representatives from these institutions and their many partner organizations come together to discuss these and other topics essential to the recovery of the rarest of cranes. Because spring, summer, and fall are the busiest time for captive crane facilities and field and research biologists as well, the only time available for these critical planning meetings is in the winter. This year found us traveling to Ottawa, Canada, in January to meet with our partners and friends for four intense days of information sharing that would help shape the coming year.

The first two days are the captive management meetings. Institutions who have captive whooping cranes share reports and discuss their past season, and the different experiences they had, both successes and failures. Everything is viewed as an opportunity to learn.   The first whoopers were bred at the Audubon Zoo starting in 1950 and produced eight chicks over the next 20 years.  We, at Patuxent, produced our first chick in 1975.  The shared feeling is that we have barely scratched the surface in what can be learned about this complex bird.  Opportunities for research are discussed, as well as shared projects that might improve our knowledge.

The next two days are the Whooping Crane Recovery Team meetings. The Whooping Crane Coordinators from the Canadian Wildlife Service and the US Fish and Wildlife Service and 8 other biologists (4 from Canada and 4 from the United States) who are members of the WC Recovery Team discuss the results of the captive management meetings, evaluate their recommendations, discuss reports and research findings relevant to the wild flock and the release flocks, and make decisions that will guide the recovery effort for the upcoming year.

The meetings are an opportunity to share knowledge and problems openly as everyone works cooperatively to find solutions that will aid in the recovery effort. The meetings give people a chance to talk face-to-face, one-on-one, in small groups, and in a large collective gathering. Focus groups are formed to concentrate on specific issues or to make recommendations about specific problems. Biologists, geneticists, veterinarians, statisticians, zoo curators, technicians, administrators, representatives of private organizations, pilots, media representatives, and other individuals involved in captive management and release work all participate. Everyone has the opportunity to talk, share ideas, ask questions. The atmosphere is one of a joint effort as everyone focuses on one far-reaching goal: the recovery of the whooping crane.

Some of the institutions and organizations that participate in the meetings besides USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center are:

The Canadian Wildlife Service (our hosts this year), the US Fish and Wildlife Service, The Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership, Operation Migration Inc., the International Crane Foundation, the Calgary Zoo, Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species (ACRES) and the Audubon Freeport McMoran Species Survival Center (AFMSSC), the San Antonio Zoo, the Lowry Park Zoo, the Whooping Crane Conservation Association, and the International Whooping Crane Recovery Team.

Please check our site on March 14 for a web page update!


Whooping Crane Videos:

See Report 12 for more info on dancing cranes:
Dancing Cranes
  (160x120)
Dancing Cranes
  (320x240)

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) 

Click here to ask questions about Patuxent's whooping crane program.   Please check our site on March 14 for a web page update!

Whooping Crane Reports

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9

10

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14

15

       

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 modified: 10/23/2002
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