Im­per­iled birds must find a new nest­ing place

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - FRONT PAGE -

the na­tion’s most trea­sured fly­ers have faced ex­tinc­tion over the past half-cen­tury — bald ea­gles, Cal­i­for­nia con­dors and the ma­jes­tic whoop­ing crane — sci­en­tists have stud­ied how to save them from deep within thou­sands of acres of forests and wet­lands along the Patux­ent River.

The crane has de­fined that work ever since a one-winged bird known as Canus, at the time one of fewer than 50 whoop­ing cranes alive, helped es­tab­lish the Patux­ent Wildlife Re­search Cen­ter in 1966.

For decades, bi­ol­o­gists at the cen­ter near Lau­rel over­came whoop­ers’ scarcity by dress- ing as cranes them­selves, wear­ing cos­tumes while rear­ing the birds. Through trial and er­ror, they learned ways around cranes’ finicky re­pro­duc­tive ca­pa­bil­i­ties, de­vel­op­ing ar­ti­fi­cial in­sem­i­na­tion tech­niques and strate­gi­cally steal­ing their eggs, a prac­tice that coaxes them to lay even more.

But the era of the whoop­ing crane — and per­haps of any cap­tive breed­ing of im­per­iled birds — is end­ing in Mary­land.

Nearly half of the Patux­ent whoop­ing crane flock is sched­uled to be shipped off to Lou­i­si­ana next week, and 200 acres of whoop­ing crane pens are ex­pected to empty by the end of the year. The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion moved last year to elim­i­nate the $1.5 mil­lion-a-year breedWhen See CRANES, page 21

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.