Back to Tom's Report 

Where are the parents of these twin crane-kids?

On April 14 these twin crane youngsters were reported at a migration stopover in South Dakota without their parents. Even more worrisome to an observer, the two seemed a bit tame. Click here to see what USFWS Biologists Tom Stehn and Martha Tacha think.

Image: Tammy Sommer

Martha said,"There is a that chance mom and dad dumped them during migration. I'd be more concerned if they were alone during fall migration."

Tom had a hunch about the twins' identity. He wrote an email to owners of the Johnson Ranch/ near the Texas refuge where cranes spend winter. (You've met them in our slideshow as the real Al and Diane, owners of The Crane House Bed and Breakfast where the crane pair Al and Diane have their winter territory.) Tom wrote:

We've had a pair of whooping crane juveniles apparently split off from their parents in SD (see photos). Do you think these might be your kids?

The report of how tame they were makes me think they might be the Crane House twins. When checked on more recently, they flushed at the sight of a vehicle, so maybe they are learning to be more wary now that they are on their own. Having juveniles split off from their parents in migration happens occasionally. The adults are anxious to get up north to nest, and the youngsters don't feel that same sense of urgency. They'll be fine on their own and will eventually return to Wood Buffalo National Park and be near other whooping cranes.

Can you tell from the way one is more rusty than the other whether that fits your pair of twins?

Will the real Al and Diane be able to identify the crane twins as those belonging to Al and Diane? Tom will keep us posted. It is normal for young cranes to separate from their parents on the spring migration or shortly after returning to the nesting grounds. After all, the parents will likely be very busy, getting ready to hatch a new generation.