The Annual Cycle of the Whooping Crane
January February March April May June
July August September October November December
May: Nesting
Adult crane taking off from nest site in foggy mist


Photo Credit
Klaus Nigge

In May, nesting gets underway for pairs on their summer breeding grounds. Crane parents are busy during the short northern summers. Once their territory has been established, the adult pair builds a nest for two eggs, laid a day apart. Pairs take turns incubating day and night for about 30 days. The babies usually hatch one day apart. Cranes usually can raise just one chick, but each year some families are able to raise both. Raising two chicks in a season is something to celebrate! Chicks develop quickly. In just a few days, they begin to venture away from the nest platform to forage and explore. Parents keep busy searching for snails, insects, and small fish to bring their chicks.

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