Watch live streaming video of ICF’s 2012 Whooping Crane chicks at www.CraneChickCam.org. Go behind-the scenes into the world of raising endangered Whooping Crane chicks for reintroduction into the wild. No crane costume required.
Media Contact: Kate Fitzwilliams, 608-356-9462 ext. 147; 608-617-6002 (mobile)
Access to the rare and endangered Whooping Crane chicks that are raised each year at the International Crane Foundation (ICF) in Baraboo, Wis. is granted only to trained ICF staff wearing crane costumes – until now. This chick season ICF is sharing this experience with the world through our live web cam!
Viewers will get an exclusive glimpse into the daily activities at our Felburn Leidigh Chick Rearing Facility. We will first see the young chicks in their runs, where they are kept warm and safe with heat lamps and a brood model to snuggle up to for security. Each day costumed care-takers interact with the chicks, helping them eat their specially formulated crane chow in addition to their favorite treats (wax worms and meal worms), or playing in the water to encourage them to drink. As the chicks get older, they have access to their outdoor runs and later their “chick yard,” where they strengthen their leg and flight muscles, learn about wetlands, and maybe even encounter their first grasshopper or two!
“ICF is offering a bird-cam experience that brings people into the complex world of saving an endangered species through captive breeding and reintroduction,” Kate Fitzwilliams, Marketing and PR Specialist said. “These cute and fuzzy chicks are symbols of survival and the ICF staff that cares for them, are true conservation heroes.”
With 43 years of experience between them, ICF’s Assistant Curator Kelly Maguire and Chick Rearing Supervisor Marianne Wellington still get emotional around chick season.
“The first feeling I get is excitement, when the egg starts moving on the counter, around day 20 of the 28 day incubation. I still get excited just seeing the little thing bop around, I think it might be the cutest thing ever,” Maguire said.
Once the chick is hatched, Wellington and ICF staff, all trained to act like cranes, take over.
“Sometimes the responsibility of raising an endangered species coupled with teaching others how to be more crane-like is unnerving; however, once the chick is settled into its place, all is good,” Wellington said. “We have truly dedicated people working at ICF and everyone’s passion for their work seems to shine through during the chick season.”
Whooping Cranes were down to only 22 birds in the 1940s. Today, through reintroduction programs and habitat restoration there are about 600 birds in existence, approximately 445 of them in the wild.
To watch the endangered Whooping Crane chicks live visit www.cranechickcam.org.
The success of ICF is possible solely through the generous support of our members and donors. Special thanks to the Antonia Foundation for making this web cam project possible.