110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
By Lynn Bowen
posted Aug 18, 2013 - 9:56:35am
The white-naped crane decided to invite his cousins the whooping crane and the sandhill crane to his birthday party. Instead of cake and ice cream, they ate their favorite foods, which are insects, worms, small invertebrates, seeds, roots and grain. That doesn't sound delicious to humans, but to cranes, it's very good. Another benefit is that it's free and not too difficult to find.
The guest of honor, the white-naped crane, who now lives at a zoo in California, is originally from southeastern Russia, northeastern Mongolia and northeastern China. He lives in shallow wetlands and grassy marshes there.
He's a large gray crane with a white throat and white stripe from his crown down the back of his long neck. He has red skin around his eyes, is 48 inches tall, and weighs 12 pounds.
The white-naped crane is between "vulnerable" and "endangered" on the species list since only 5,000 of these cranes remain. Habitat loss, hunting, nest predation and pollution are some of the causes.
His cousin the 52-inch-tall whooping crane weighs 15 pounds, is mainly white with black-tipped wings, and has a red crown and cheeks. He resides in central Canada, Texas and Florida, with a small population of only 400 in the whole world, and is considered critically endangered.
The white-naped crane's other cousin, the sandhill crane, stands 46 inches tall, weighs 10 pounds, and is mainly gray with a red crown. He lives in the U.S. and Canada, boasts a population of 500,000, and is in the "least concern" category.
As the cousins vocalized their concerns and good wishes to the host, they marveled at their similarities and differences. All three species are tall, and have long legs and long necks. They all are beautiful, graceful dancers at courtship time, and sometimes they dance just for fun. They all dig with their beaks in soft, wet soil seeking food. All of them have red skin and no feathers on their head.
All the long-legged cranes enjoyed the birthday party and flapped their wings goodbye to their cousin the white-naped crane.
Oh, it's fun to get silly once in a while, and nature does have a lot of comedy to flaunt!
— Bowen lives in DeLand. Send email to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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