Meet Robo-Crane!

Hear Dan tell about using the Robo-crane

Dan Sprague and the other crane handlers and pilots use a puppet head resembling an adult Whooping crane to teach and encourage the chicks in all parts of training. For example, they use it to get the chicks to follow the trike during training. The handlers wear the long crane puppet on one arm and use their feet to steer the trike. The crew rigged up the puppet head so they could pull a lever and dispense mealworms to the chicks to reward them for following. A small recorder in the puppet plays a soft crane sound called a brood call or contact call to the chicks, just like a parent crane would sound. The crew fondly calls the puppet head "Robo-crane" because it's like having a robot helper.

Dan shows you a close up of Robo-crane in these photos:




Robo-crane puppet head

Pulling this trigger makes Robo-crane dispense mealworms.

Robo-crane has a long "neck!"


The puppet holds this small recorder to play crane contact call

Dan Sprague with the Robo-crane

Dan Sprague in costume, wearing Robo-crane on his arm

Try This! Journaling Question 
  • Why is such extreme care taken to hide any human forms or sounds from the young cranes? What suggestions, if any, can you think of to improve Robo-Crane?

Journey North is pleased to feature this educational adventure made possible by the
Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership