And so it begins…

The first three Whooping crane chicks and members of the Class of 2013 aircraft-guided migration have hatched!

Whooping crane number 1-13 (1 since it was the first to hatch and 13 for the hatch year of 2013) broke free from the confines of its egg early Tuesday, May 14 at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. Number 2-13 hatched out that evening and number 3-13 popped Wednesday, May 15.

Patuxent’s Dr. Glenn Olsen tells us Chick #1 was panting heavily yesterday morning after handling for his or her daily examination and after being placed back in the intensive care unit where new chicks go. We quickly removed the chick and re-examined it, including a laproscopic look down its trachea, but the problem seemed to be the chick was becoming overheated in the ICU. Cooling the chick by running water on its feet and leaving it out of the ICU quickly resolved the problem. The chick is now in the back of the Propagation Building in a normal chick pen. 

Chick #3 hatched with splayed legs and a possible vertebral problem. We are planning to do some corrective work to help with the splayed leg situation and will watch the chick closely for further developments. Chick #2 seems to be doing well, and is still resting in the ICU.

You may recall in a recent post from Joe Duff that approximately 75% of hatched chicks will survive to be shipped to the reintroduction sites. We always hope for the best outcome and we know that these crane chicks have the best care possible but we must still warn that in the first week or two, losses could occur.

Geoff Tarbox arrived at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center last evening to begin work caring for and feeding this newest crop of cranes and he will send some photos to share with you as soon as he gets a chance.

So here we go – another season is underway! This is definitely something to WHOOP! about!

Share Button


  1. Carol Rogers May 21, 2013 12:05 am

    This is so exciting! I can’t wait to see the photos of the three little ones:-)

    I am a Whooping Crane Admirer FOREVER!!

  2. Lori (loriearn) May 18, 2013 9:20 pm

    I cannot remember if it was mentioned last week, but do the chicks stay with their parent (or adoptive parent) right after birth, or are they immediately moved to another area and introduced to their tume parent? If they are removed, does this have any negative impact on the parent? (I guess I wonder about the Mom and if they would lose their natural maternal instincts)

    • Heather Ray May 18, 2013 10:02 pm

      The eggs are pulled from pairs early in the process and kept in incubators once determined to be fertile. In the hatchery natural marsh sounds are broadcast simulating a wetland environment. Pulling the eggs often results in pairs producing additional eggs. Keep in mind captive breeding stock aren’t meant to be parents.

      • Lori (loriearn) May 20, 2013 6:22 pm

        Thanks Heather

  3. Claire DeLand May 16, 2013 4:47 pm

    Whoop! Whoop! Whoop!!!

    Thanks for keeping us up-to-date!!! I’m thinking only the very best thoughts and wishes going for these little dudes!!!!

    What a great week!!!

  4. Mary Beth Mattison May 16, 2013 4:05 pm

    Yeahhh! I’ve been waiting for them. So happy to hear they are starting to be born.

  5. Luella Duncan Frank May 16, 2013 7:59 am

    So excited about the hatchings! Hope they grow strong, and it would be great if we could beat the 75% mark! Thanks for all you do! 🙂

  6. Patti Hakanson May 16, 2013 6:07 am

    How awesome 🙂 They are just beautiful! I am following them, and look forward to more “flight news” soon!! Thank you-for caring for these beautiful birds!!!!