Training Update

Our six young crane colts arrived at White River Marsh last Thursday afternoon and as soon as their crates were opened they appeared right at home. There were no signs of distress or displaced aggression. The wandered about checking out their new surroundings with curiosity – poking and proding and wading in the footbaths in the dry section of their enclosure.

Colleen had cautioned us that there were three ‘pacers’ in the group: cranes 1, 2 and 11 apparently had a tendency to pace along the fence at Patuxent so the decision was made to allow them access to the wetpen portion about a half hour after they arrived.

All entered the water area almost immediately, with the exception of number 10-15 who didn’t quite grasp the concept of stepping over the 2×4 threshold despite seeing her five flockmates step over it, and continued patience and coaxing from Joe.

We stayed with them for a little over an hour just to ensure they were not exhibiting any signs of stress and they were all great.

On Friday morning Tom and I let them out to meet the trike for the first time (which looks a bit different than the one at Patuxent). Joe wasn’t sure he was going to start the engine but after seeing them approach with very little hesitation, he started it up and pulled it along the runway while Tom ad I dutifully followed (so did the cranes!).

We repeated the process on Saturday morning but this time the trike was idling outside the pen before we opened the large doors. Again they came out with no hesitation and followed Joe on several trips to the north end of the strip and back – each time getting treats for a job well done.

Sunday, Tom and Doug were the handlers while I got to visit the blind to take some photos, which was a treat. Here are some of the images, which I hope you’ll enjoy!

Whooping crane 1-15 is the first out of the gate.

Whooping crane 1-15 is the first out of the gate.








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  1. Mollie Cook July 9, 2015 11:30 am

    Great pics Heather! I know you are glad to be home.

  2. Peter Smith July 8, 2015 12:50 pm

    Gorgeous flock. Hanging on your every word you share with us. Praying for their continued strong development and learning every day of flight school. Fantastic!

  3. Bonnie July 7, 2015 12:22 pm

    Thanks for the great report! They are gorgeous, aren’t they; and such personalities!

    (By the way, the Doonesbury cartoon is from 1982 – isn’t that amazing?)

  4. Dmcallister July 7, 2015 12:04 pm

    Awesome pictures. What a great group of chicks!

  5. Mindy July 7, 2015 12:01 pm

    Wonderful, wonderful pictures Heather! So glad you got to take these before you had to leave! Thank you!

  6. Kay Huey July 7, 2015 7:38 am

    One or two of us swore that we saw air under chick toes. It looks like wishful thinking in the last picture (crane up high, one toe on the ground). Did you or anyone else see, up close and personal, one of the babes actually leave the ground?

    Love the photos, by the way!

  7. Shepherd July 7, 2015 7:12 am

    Beautiful photos! I cant get screen pics like THAT !


  8. Patti July 7, 2015 7:07 am

    Beautiful images and, IMO I think we have a very smart class this year!!! Hoping it makes for a smooth migration later on 🙂