Weather conditions allowed Richard to fly to the training site today to introduce the young Whooping crane chicks to the large wing attached to the aircraft.
Until now, they’ve only seen a small, dummy wing on our ground training trike at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center.
As Tom Schultz and Geoff Tarbox opened the gates to the enclosure, most came out readily but number 8-14 hung back in the wetpen until Richard coaxed her out onto the training strip to join her flockmates.
Lots of treats were handed out under the new (to the chicks) wing of the trike to convince them that the big bad shadow wasn’t as scary as it first appeared and in no time at all they were following behind as Richard slowly pulled it toward the north end of the strip. More treats for following before heading back.
It’s a process that must be taken slowly. Baby steps.
Tom Schultz sent along the following images for your enjoyment!