Man’s World – NOT!

“It’s a man’s world,” the guys used to announce with such a triumphant and grandiose tone of certainty that you knew it was just another load of crap. “And a woman’s place is in the home,” which of course it was until she got dressed and left for work. As for the first statement, that went out the window when I met my first girlfriend and learned the two most important words in the English language, which through time and millennia have insured that the world continues to spin in the proper direction… “Yes Dear.”

Today, our chick world went from “Who’s your daddy!” to “Your Mama!” when the gender of the crane chicks were posted on the Chick Building wall. One male and six females!  “General Custer, Sir. We’re surrounded!” Talk about shock!  And the biggest shock to me was that the lone male was little… and I do mean little… #4-14; who I named “Peanut” the first moment I saw him.  I swear he’s a mouse disguised as a crane chick! Even the ferocious devil incarnate itself, #5-14, who has since been reassigned to the Louisiana Project and who I had named after Charlie Manson turned out to be Charlotte Manson. Will somebody please remind me to stay out of Singles Bars!

But seriously, this is a gift and a truly wonderful surprise and it takes some of the sting and disappointment out of having so few birds this year. The fact is, though despite everyone’s well meaning efforts, we have fewer birds in the WCEP population now than we did five years ago, and unfortunately, we have more males than females. This spring we’ve lost a couple to natural causes, while our St. Marks female #1-13 and her cohort mate #3-13 were killed when they struck power lines on the return trip from Florida. We have probably lost more than these, but I can’t think of them off hand. Point is, we lose a lot of females.

Now, we may not yet know which came first, the chicken or the egg, but we are absolutely sure that we cannot achieve our ever more elusive goal of a self-sustaining population of whooping cranes without a healthy population of breeding females.  So while I am in the front of the trailer doing my very best impersonation of a “Man with injured back doing a Happy Dance,” Geoff is in the back reprogramming the vocalizers. From now on when we hit the button to get the birds to follow us, those magic words will ring out loud and crystal clear over the surrounding landscape — “Yes Dear!”

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  1. Shepherd June 18, 2014 5:38 am

    I am sad to see 1 and 3 flew over Rainbow Bridge! Wasnt 3 the crazy male? I am catching up on cranes today – waiting for live cam. Blackflies are bugging many birds in many states again in 2014

  2. Karen Anne June 13, 2014 10:49 am

    WCEP population –

    Back when the “ultralight population” news used to be posted on the field journal, it looked like it was creeping up every year, or at least staying stable. Is it still, and the other parts of the WCEP population are going down, like all the losses the Louisiana population suffered? Or is it going down too?

    • Heather Ray June 13, 2014 1:51 pm

      There are now fewer cranes to go around each year with two reintroductions taking place. Flock attrition will always be an issue unfortunately.

  3. Kathleen Kaska June 12, 2014 12:24 pm

    Thanks for the update, Brooke. I have a feeling this will be a wild, crazy year. If my dad were alive, you could ask him to confirm. He raised FOUR daughters; no sons. The poor man didn’t have a chance with five women in the house.

  4. Sherry Wynn June 12, 2014 10:25 am

    You are a gifted writer, Brooke, and always make me laugh! Thank you!

  5. Gay Spencer June 12, 2014 10:23 am

    As if you needed to guarantee that the next phases of raising and releasing this cohort will be interesting, eh?! Just wait till the word gets out among the un-paired sub-adult males of the last few years. Last year a few of the older “suitors” kept tabs on the just-released chicks, and I wonder if there will be a longer line of mates-in-waiting for this gang of girls.

    Brooke: you did clearly wish for “girls” and the cosmos was listening! You might need some new band colors: purple, plum, fuscia, lavender, periwinkle, violet….

    • Shepherd June 18, 2014 5:40 am

      Oh come on – we cant tell the difference between orange and red bands – forget lavender, periwinkle, violet – hahhaa 🙂

  6. Warrenwesternpa June 12, 2014 9:07 am

    12 June 2014 Man’s World – Not! Brooke Pennypacker

    Your male audience can only smile at your comments Brooke. We know them so well. I cannot imagine a normal life without those immortal words: Yes Dear! It would be, morning with out breakfast or evening lacking sunsets. We have all said it with expressions of pleasure, sarcasm, maybe even anger. I have even observed it on gravestones.

    I will cheer peanut on because I was once the ” Runt” of the family. Boys sense that and in the summer I would run barefoot through every soft cow patty knowing the fertilizer would make my feet grow and the rest of me would follow suit. I gained 4 inches on my Dad so it worked!

    Concern for injury or did I misunderstand? Rest easy please and thanks for another wise and entertaining FJ.

  7. Nancy Froio June 12, 2014 8:50 am

    I love this! Let’s hope the girls show their “motherly” side and show the “little guy” how to do it right! Thanks for the update, Brooke! I can’t wait for the action to begin!

  8. LindiLovesBirds June 12, 2014 8:03 am

    🙂 you go girls 🙂

  9. Ruth Mitchell June 12, 2014 8:02 am

    Alright ladies!!!!!!!! I am sure they will take that sweet boy under their collective wings and help him learn the ropes!!!!;-)

  10. Richard P. Chase June 12, 2014 6:47 am

    Thanks for the update Brooke. I am the proud possessor of the official “Yes Dear” tee shirt, which I wear quite often. The shop that I purchased the shirt in (in Dillsboro, North Carolina) is now closed or I would order one for each of the males on the migration team.

    Thanks for doing such a great job. 😉

    • Warrenwesternpa June 12, 2014 10:33 am

      Richard: So funny. I’m thinking a T-shirt with 6 girl migrating followers with thought bubbles saying, “You go first” and a smiling leading “Peanut”, not flapping at all with a thought bubble saying “Yes Dears”