A few weeks ago, the aviculture team at SeaWorld Orlando took into their care an adult sandhill crane with a rubber gasket stuck around his bill. The gasket not only made it impossible for the crane to eat, it impeded upon the proper development of his bill. The SeaWorld team removed the gasket and provided around-the-clock care to rehabilitate the bird.
While caring for the adult, SeaWorld rescued a newly-hatched, orphaned sandhill crane chick. Although older cranes sometimes do not tolerate unfamiliar chicks, the team decided to see if their rescued adult might act as a surrogate for the chick. And to everyone’s delight, the pair bonded!
By taking the orphan under wing, the adult crane has given the chick the opportunity to mimic and learn behaviors needed to survive in the wild. Eric Reece, SeaWorld’s Supervisor of Aviculture, adds, “The fact that the adult crane took to the chick bodes well for the development of the chick. It is now growing and doing well.”
Once the adult crane has recovered from his injuries and the chick learns to fly, both birds will be released into the wild together.