|View our photo album from the Crane City health check
The cranes that reside in Crane City at ICF underwent their annual health check this past Saturday, October 8th (right, a Whooping Crane says “aaahhh”). Not unlike people lining up for immunizations, the cranes lined up for a physical examination, blood sampling, and in some cases, vaccination.
Each October, ICF’s Director of Veterinary Services Dr. Barry Hartup and ICF’s Vet Tech Annette Aeschbach prepare and lead a large team of staff members, University of Wisconsin – Madison zoological medicine residents and volunteer veterinary students to conduct an annual health check on the 80-plus cranes that are rarely seen by the public due to their need for privacy. Living in Crane City, a breeding area consisting of four streets and 65 pens, these cranes are genetically important and good at laying eggs.
“The cranes that reside in Crane City allow us to pursue two vital techniques for crane conservation: captive breeding and reintroduction into the wild,” Dr. Hartup said. “Making sure these cranes are healthy is our main goal.”
On Saturday, each crane was examined and checked to be sure it is in good condition, is maintaining weight and that chronic conditions have not worsened or will need treatment. It usually takes 10-15 minutes per crane to do this, and the bird’s safety is top priority.
“The entire process of the health check couldn’t happen without the care and expertise shown by the Crane Conservation Department staff and interns (ICF’s aviculturists),” Dr. Hartup said. “They make sure the cranes are handled safely and check to be sure they come out of the process well by doing a final visual check after each street’s worth of cranes are done, and again at the end of the day.”
|Q and A with ICF Veterinarian Dr. Barry Hartup:
Q: What was the weirdest thing you ever discovered during a health check?
Q: Are the cranes in Crane City mostly Whooping Cranes?
Q: Do you give the cranes treats post exam? (sticker or lollipop comparison!)
Q: Does their food or diet change in the winter or does it stay the same?