Meet the 2017 Costume Reared Whooping Cranes!

Time to meet the chicks – They are so cute I can’t hardly stand it! I love this age and stage best!

Right now all seven cranes are walking together every day and are then divided into two groups, 1, 2, 3 & 4/17 and 6, 7 & 8/17. They are lead into neighboring pens where they spend several hours. A costume huddles in an out of the way spot and watches for any sign of aggression or stress. There are some minor “face-off’s” but minor is to expected.

They are really doing great and in the coming days the two groups will be put together and the costume will disappear more and more. They will miss their “security blanket” and get all peep-y and pace. We will be right around the corner, at first peeking through the door to the feed shelter, then watching on the computer, in a wonderfully cold shed. It’s like weaning the baby and just like any mom we will agonize, I can hear the conversation now between Barb and Sharon and me: “Can I go in now?” “No, wait… He has to get used to it!” “OK, now!”

So, here are some personality quirks we have noticed about these cranes. Keep in mind I am going to call them all “him” as DNA gender results have not come in yet.

#1-17 hatched April 24. Parents are captive whooping cranes in the Patuxent flock. This, our oldest of the cohort, is quiet and calm, yet dominant. He does not start problems but does not back down when challenged. He’s my favorite!

#2-17 hatched April 28. Parents are Eastern Migratory Population (EMP) cranes W1-06 & 1-10. This young crane seems to be happy go lucky, joyful and sweet. Maybe a tad clingy. Peeps a lot out there, he’s kind of a cry baby but, he’s my favorite!

#3-17 hatched April 29. and is a full sibling to #2-17. This youngster wants to be dominate. He likes to grab a beak full of fluff from an unsuspecting napping chick. He is the one that starts “face off’s” and guess what? He’s my favorite!

Whooping crane colts 1-17, 2-17 and 3-17 spend time exploring the outdoor crane enclosure at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. Photo: Colleen Chase

#4-17 hatched April 30. His parents are also EMP whooping cranes, numbers 32-09 & 7-07. This is a rather quiet bird and the smallest of this group. He loves the costume. He’s my favorite!

Whooping crane #4-17 resting. Photo: Colleen Chase

#6-17 hatched May 2. Is a full sibling to 4-17. He is Independent with a capital I! He goes exploring, no clingy Snowflake here. He is also the PITA (Pain In The Butt) of this group. He initiates the “face-off’s”. He’s my favorite!

#7-17 hatched May 3. EMP Parents 13-03 & 9-05. Is very alert and can melt to nervous. He is a clinger and loves the costume. He’s my favorite!

Finally, #8-17, also hatched May 3 making him the same age at #7-17. His parents are EMP whoopers 12-03 & 29-09. He is cute and happy and loves to play in the grass. He can be uncooperative about coming out of his run, but perhaps we are past that now. I hope so but even if not, he is, of course, my favorite!

Crane chicks #6-17. 7-17 and 8-17. Photo: Colleen Chase

Note: Whooping crane colt number 5-17 will stay behind at Patuxent so that he can be socialized for longer before becoming a member of the Louisiana flock later this year. 

Share Button


  1. aintthatamerica June 8, 2017 2:09 am

    What is the deal with 5-17? And why would he be put with a non-migratory flock if there is potential to bolster migratory numbers. Which one is your favorite?

    • Heather Ray June 8, 2017 6:31 am

      This bird is currently not playing well with others and could harm them if forced together. That happened previously when a crane wasn’t well socialized and it resulted in the loss (death) of another crane in the pen. He/she will spend more time at Patuxent, where, hopefully, its aggressiveness will be curtailed prior to relocation to Louisiana.

  2. Marilyn June 7, 2017 2:29 pm

    If I adopted them, could I get them all to share my bed at night? They sure would make good “cuddlers”.

  3. Catherine Wohlfeil June 6, 2017 10:40 pm

    Adorable sweeties!!

  4. Sally Swanson June 6, 2017 4:12 pm

    Thanks, Colleen! You are lucky to have so many cute favorites! I want to hug them!


  5. Cheryl N. June 6, 2017 4:02 pm

    Such a heartwarming report, glad they are so well loved and cared for. Thank you, Colleen.

  6. Barb June 6, 2017 3:26 pm

    Hello Collen, You are an excellent teacher…. no teacher’s pet for you. They’re all teacher’s pet!!! Just wonderful. One thought, though, perhaps the youngster headed South in the Fall should have a companion to go with him, maybe a “her”. It could be provide the incentive for a life long match, and give a head start for the future in interacting with the opposite sex.

  7. Carol Giancola June 6, 2017 1:43 pm

    Darling! I love “your favorite” too.

  8. Mollie Cook June 6, 2017 11:57 am

    Wonderful, wonderful. So exciting! Thank you for the personality quirks Colleen. Let the fun continue……………

  9. Dorothy N June 6, 2017 9:40 am

    What a BEAUTIFUL group of chicks! I love that they’re ALL your favorites.

  10. Jean P. aka CrabtowneMd June 6, 2017 9:12 am

    AWWW– they are all my favorite too! Please keep posting pictures of these amazing and adorable whoopers. Thank you for such an uplifting report.

  11. Laurine Grant June 6, 2017 8:50 am

    Love them all too! Keep the good news coming.