North American Crane Working Group


Date of this Version


Document Type



Archibald, K., and G. Archibald. Releasing puppet-reared sandhill cranes into the wild: a progress report. In: Wood D. A., ed. 1992. Proceedings 1988 North American Crane Workshop, Feb. 22–24, 1988. Lake Wales, Florida (Tallahassee, FL: State of Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission Nongame Wildlife Program Technical Report #12, 1992), pp. 251-254.


Used by permission of the North American Crane Working Group.


In 1982, 2 eggs from an abandoned greater sandhill crane (Grus canadensis tabida) nest were artificially incubated and hatched. Chicks were hand reared in partial visual isolation from humans with the aid of puppet heads. At 4-5 weeks of age, the chicks were placed in a fenced compound in a marsh frequented by their parents. During daylight hours the chicks were continually monitored by an observer in a blind. Until fully feathered, they were returned at night to an indoor shelter. Upon fledging, the chicks were released daily in the field where their parents foraged. The adults and the chicks were mildly attracted to each other. In late August, immediately after being color-marked, the chicks disappeared from the study area. Their parents remained in the region until mid-October. During winter 1984-85, 1 of the released birds was observed with other greater sandhills in northcentral Florida. The same bird was observed once during the summer of 1985 at the release site. It was accompanied by another crane. During winters 1986-87 and 1987-88, this crane wintered in the same general area of northcentral Florida. In 1990 this crane was located with a mate and a chick, 5 km from the marsh on which the bird was released in 1982.