The Annual Cycle of the Whooping Crane
January February March April May June
July August September October November December
June: Growing and Learning
Adult Whooping Crane with new chick at water's edge

MapMap

Photo Credit
Vickie Henderson

Crane babies may grow an inch a day between 10 and 30 days of age. They need long legs so they can follow parents in the tall grass. After that, their body growth slows. Adult feathers start to replace the fluffy coats of down. Parents stay close to teach and protect their young. The babies must be able to walk, swim in shallow water, and keep up with their parents, learning about food and dangers. They hop, run, and flap to build their flight muscles and gain endurance. North America's tallest bird has to grow fast: At five or six months of age, Whooping Crane babies must be ready to fly hundreds of miles with their parents on their first southward migration.

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