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Hooded crane pair fosters a special delivery from Wisconsin

Posted by: Alissa Wolken, Communications

All the way from Wisconsin, a very special delivery has turned into a very special new addition—Woodland Park Zoo’s first hooded crane chick.

Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.

Our hooded crane pair has been producing infertile eggs over the past several seasons. When we learned a fertile egg was available to foster from the International Crane Foundation, we worked together along with a Denver Zoo Curator and Species Survival Plan coordinator to give our pair the chance to rear a chick here at Woodland Park Zoo.

Packed in a little cooler, the egg flew to Seattle and upon landing at the airport was welcomed with a special sign we drew up.

Photo by Erin Sullivan/Woodland Park Zoo.

We brought the egg back to the zoo and candled it to assure it was still viable. Candling is the process of holding an egg up to a high powered, focused light source for a few seconds to see if an egg is fertile or to check the health of a developing embryo.

Candling revealed the air cell was visible as was the moving chick inside. So we placed the egg under our female hooded crane who had already been sitting on an artificial egg this season, and the real deal hatched two days later!

Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.

Since hatching, the chick is staying near its foster mom, slowly exploring the enclosure but never venturing too far away from the adults. It’s been taking drinks and readily accepting food offered by the female. The hooded crane pair is proving to be excellent parents.

Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.

It’ll be some time before we know the sex of the chick after we do genetic testing. In the meantime, it’s hitting a growth spurt. The little chick stood at about 5 inches tall when it hatched, and has since shot up to 9 inches.

Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.

Awareness for crane conservation is growing too.

Every time you visit the zoo, you help support crane conservation in the wild. Through our Partners for Wildlife conservation program, we collaborate with Cranes of Asia and Muraviovka Park for Sustainable Land Use, a nongovernmental protected area and privately operated nature park in Russia. The park covers 16,000 acres of wetland and cropland that provides critical habitat for more than 500 species of plant and 200 species of birds, 20 of which are rare or endangered—most notable are the six species of cranes which use the area for nesting and raising their young.

Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.

Here at Woodland Park Zoo, you can look for the chick in the Temperate Forest zone. As it grows and grows, the chick will explore more of the exhibit. Be sure to stop by this quiet, shady zone at the zoo during your next visit! 


Valerie said…
This is the most adorable thing. Go little crane family!
JOANNE F said…
Love those long legged baby cranes--kind of like a chick on stilts!