International Crane Foundation


Whooping Crane Chick Rearing Internship

The International Crane Foundation (ICF) is looking to fill four Whooping Crane Chick Rearing Internship positions for 2018.

Positions are between 6-8 months in duration pending funding; with preferred start dates in April.

Background: ICF is a leader in the conservation of the world’s 15 crane species and is dedicated to providing experience, knowledge and inspiration to involve people in resolving threats to cranes and the ecosystems vital to their long-term survival. ICF’s world headquarters is located just outside Baraboo, Wisc. (one hour north of Madison, Wisc.) ICF is open to the public every day from April 15 to October 31 each year. ICF exhibits the only collection in the world of all 15 species of crane. ICF participates in captive breeding and rearing of Whooping cranes for release in two reintroduction programs. For more information about our conservation programs, please visit our website at

Description: Whooping Crane Chick Rearing Interns will receive training and assist in the intensive care and management of raising endangered crane chicks, specifically Whooping Cranes for captivity and release.  Primary duties include:

  • Facilities set up, daily maintenance and year-end clean-up
  • Following strict isolation-rearing protocols at all times
  • Maintaining equipment in good working order including costumes, boots, puppet heads, recorded brood calls, speakers, brood models, heaters, thermometers, fences and wooden dividers
  • Daily cleaning of runs, carpets and food and water bowls.
  • Providing clean, dry food and appropriate treats as learning opportunities for chicks to develop necessary foraging skills in runs and yards
  •  Providing fresh water in runs and yards
  • Wearing costumes when interacting with chicks, encouraging them to eat, drink, forage and teaching crane life skills
  • Remembering and recording chick behaviors, feeding sessions and management changes
  • Caring for adult crane role models
  • Weighing and recording chick weights
  • Entering and reading daily records
  • Expect to spend between 1-6+ hours wearing a costume while exercising and socializing chicks without talking
  • Communicating with staff and other members of the team by participating in morning meetings, using whiteboards and daily log

Additional duties may include:

  • Assisting with the daily care of the adult captive flock
  • Tracking and monitoring released Whooping Cranes
  • Data entry
  • Additional projects may include documenting chick development and/or release activities, observing and recording crane family interactions, food studies, updating chick weights and growth charts and assisting with end-of-year reports

Whooping Crane Chick Rearing Interns may help with all aspects of the captive flock and responsibilities will vary depending upon timing and number of chicks hatching. Other tasks assisting the Crane Conservation Department may include video-monitoring of crane behavior, record keeping, speaking with the public and adult crane care. Daily routine varies with season and to accommodate chicks’ needs.

The work week is five consecutive days, including holidays and weekends. Hours worked in a week will average 40-45 hours including early morning and evening checks, and will vary based on seasonal duties and field conditions. Hours may start before sunrise and/or end after sunset when monitoring cranes. Various lengths of travel may be associated with tracking and monitoring released birds. Be prepared to work outdoors in all weather conditions that may occur in Wisconsin.

Requirements: Two years of college or equivalent practical experience, knowledge of or interest in bird conservation, good organizational and communication skills.  Persons with 4-year college degrees are preferred. Must be able to carry a 50 lb. feedbag and to be able to stand, bend or squat for long periods of time and work in physically compromising/limited visual conditions while wearing a costume and when interacting with the chicks. Applicants need to be able to handle fast-paced and changing work conditions, hours, tasks and schedules. Ability to follow directions, communicate clearly in challenging circumstances, as well as work reliably and independently as assigned is required. Basic CPR & First Aid training is desired. Knowledge of tracking and or captive management is a plus. Valid driver’s license required. All applicants must be eligible to work in the United States at the time they apply. Candidates without a work visa must obtain one before they will be considered for an internship.

Please send cover letter and resume with three references to with “Whooping Crane Chick Rearing Internship” in the subject line.