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THE WHOOPING CRANE REPORT: 9
Patuxent Crane Videos 



Photo of Whooper Chicks Getting Exercise - Pausing
Chicks pause during their walk and while the chick in the foreground gets curious about the video camera, the two in the background are eyeing up each other as potential competition. Often it is the smaller chick who has the harder job establishing his dominance, and so will be the more aggressive.

Photo of Whooper Chicks Getting Exercise - Using Puppets to Interest them in mealworms
Brenda and Lillian distract the chicks from fighting by using the puppets to interest them in mealworms, teaching them to probe.


Photo of Whooper Chicks Getting Exercise - Running
As Brenda and Lillian walk away, the chicks' need to catch up makes them forget all about fighting.

 

Photo of Whooper Chicks Getting Exercise - Catching Up
The chicks move quickly to catch up, getting a good workout for their developing legs and feet. The one in the middle is hurrying so he uses his wings for balance.




Photos by Kathleen O'Malley
USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center

 

Exercising The Chicks

Our newest streaming video shows clips of young whooper chicks getting their daily exercise. All young animals need exercise to develop properly, and whoopers are no exception. All the chicks have access to an outside run where they can probe, move around, and run and play. But even so they need routine, planned exercise to grow strong, straight legs and feet. Without adequate exercise, the chicks are in danger of developing leg and toe problems from their rapid growth.

These chicks range in age from 2 to 4 weeks. Brenda and Lillian, in costume and using crane puppet heads, get the chicks used to following them by leading them up and down a grassy aisle way outside their own runs. When they get older, they'll progress to a larger environment and take longer walks. The chicks are walked for 20 minutes, stopping to regroup at each end. When they pause, the technicians use the puppet head and mealworms to encourage the chicks to explore the area and probe. They also use the puppet to intervene when the chicks start to fight. Aggression in young cranes is natural, but the techs make sure no one gets hurt. Once the chicks are following again, their focus is on catching up with the techs and there is no time for squabbles.

Besides being walked for exercise, chicks are also swum in a large pool. The two different forms of exercise provide a good variety of movement. The chicks' most rapid growth is between 10 and 25 days of age. After that the need for extra exercise is reduced, as the chicks put a lot of energy into growing feathers and their body growth slows.

Whooping Crane Chick Exercise Videos:

Whooper Chick Video (160x120)

Whooper Chick Video (320x240)

Our first video, footage of a 3-day old whooper chick who is learning to eat and drink, is still available for viewing here

Please check our site on July 26 for a web page update and new footage!

Click here to ask questions about Patuxent's whooping crane program.   Please check our site on July 26 for a web page update and new crane footage!

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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 Modification: 28-June-2001@7:47 (edt)
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