Crane Chick Cam

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Name Our Chicks

Thank you for following our Crane Chick Cam! Our chicks have grown up, and our live cam has ended for the 2013 season.

If you missed the live broadcast, view our recorded video highlights for a few memories from this season. For updates on the chicks and other news about Whooping Cranes, follow our Whooping Crane Updates and join us on Facebook.

Our 2013 naming theme is television sitcoms and characters from the 1970s. Our "cast members" are Radar (hatched 5/24), Squiggy (hatched 5/26), Hawkeye (hatched 5/27), Maude (hatched 5/29), Barbarino (hatched 5/29), Fonzi (hatched 5/30), Epstein, Hunnicut and Klinger (all hatched 6/02 - it was a busy day), Mork (hatched 6/7), and Latka (hatched 6/13) (view our Egg Score Card for a final tally of our egg and chick production this year). 


Click here to replay our 2013 Crane Chick Cam live chats with ICF staff.

Whooping Crane hatch

Join photographer Tom Lynn as he chronicles the Whooping Crane reintroduction at ICF this summer through his project Hatch to Release. Click on the image above to view a time lapse of Latka's hatch on June 13th and click here to learn more about Tom's project.


adopt whooping crane chick button

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Make a special gift of any amount – $50, $100, $250, $500 – to help in the continued recovery and protection of Whooping Cranes.

Please also consider joining our Whooper Keepers – guardians who contribute $1,000 or more for this vital work. All Whooper Keeper donors are recognized with a plaque in ICF’s celebrated Whooping Crane exhibit at our headquarters in Wisconsin.


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Bring the story of our young Whooping Cranes into your classrooms with these activities:

Field Guide to Crane Behavior (elementary/middle/high school level)

Whooping Cranes: A Historic Dance (elementary level)

Ethology: The Study of Animal Behavior (middle/high school level)

Captive Breeding: Maintaining Healthy Wildlife Populations (middle/high school level)




















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View our video on ICF's chick rearing facility for a behind-the-scenes intro to our work and explore our chick runs and other tools used to raise our chicks.

chicks happen300How do we produce Whooping Crane eggs in captivity?

Click on the image to the right to learn how we produce our eggs.

From playing crane matchmaker to incubating and hatching, producing Whooping Crane eggs is hard work (for ICF staff and the cranes!).

Each step of the process is carefully planned, and is designed to produce healthy chicks for our breeding and reintroductions programs.

Play VideoView our videos on incubating and
egg candling

dress for success300How do we raise Whooping Cranes for reintroduction?
We Dress for Success!

Click on the image to the right to explore our crane costume.

In the 1980s, ICF researchers began experimenting with costume-rearing of cranes. Today, ICF researchers caring for young Whooping Cranes wear full-length crane costumes to hide their human form and use hand puppets that mimic an adult crane's head to feed and interact with the chicks.

We use this costume-rearing technique, along with Whooping Crane brood models and adult crane role models, to make sure the chicks imprint on Whooping Cranes and will be prepared for life in the wild.

Play VideoView our video on imprinting and costume rearing and learn more about ICF's captive rearing program.

Direct Autumn ReleaseWhy are we doing this?
Here’s the story…

In the 1940s, loss of wetlands, over hunting, and egg collecting caused the Whooping Crane population to plummet to only 22 birds. Because of the low number of Whooping Cranes in the wild, biologists proposed increasing the population through captive breeding programs, with the goal of some day releasing young cranes back into the wild.

In 1989, ICF received 22 Whooping Cranes to begin our captive flock. Today, we have over 30 captive Whooping Cranes and produce 10 to 20 chicks each year for reintroduction and for genetic management. Since 2005 ICF has co-led the Direct Autumn Release (DAR) program in central Wisconsin. In the fall, young Whooping Cranes raised at ICF are released in small groups near adult cranes. The young cranes learn their migration route by following these older cranes south in the fall.

Play VideoView our video on the DAR program and learn more about reintroducing Whooping Cranes into the wild.

antonia_logo200_trnspSpecial thanks to the Antonia Foundation
for their generous support of this project.