SeaWorld Orlando’s Aviculture team recently received the first sandhill crane chick of the year -- an orphan, brought in by a concerned resident from St. Cloud, Fla.
Once SeaWorld’s veterinarians thoroughly examined the bird, it was determined to be in perfect health. However, at an estimated 3-4 days old at the time it was brought into SeaWorld’s care, it was simply too young to survive on its own. The chick was then paired with a rescued adult crane, in order to learn the specific crane behaviors essential for life in the wild.
While sometimes difficult for orphaned chicks to be tolerated by older cranes that are not familiar with them, the adult crane accepted the orphaned chick, which is now thriving. Eric Reece, SeaWorld’s Supervisor of Aviculture, adds, “The chick is doing fantastic. It’s eating on its own and gaining weight”.
It is the intent of SeaWorld’s Aviculture team to return both cranes to their natural habitat together once the chick has fledged, or grown the feathers necessary for flying.
SeaWorld's animal rescue team is on call 24/7 to save and care for injured, orphaned or ill animals. So far in 2012, SeaWorld Orlando has taken in 11 rescued cranes.