Kevin Sims sent Friends of the Wild Whoopers, (FOTWW) the following video that he recorded recently at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. FOTWW thinks this video is a good example of Whooping Crane interaction and vocalization. While watching the video, take note of the different vocalizations/calls at different times in the video. Also, note how the adult Whoopers are alert and act when another adult begins closing in on the colt. We enjoyed the video and hope you do too.
Whooping Crane Calls
The Whooping Crane has a number of vocalizations that we believe we understand. Some of their calls are soft and made for nearby communication. Other calls are loud and can be heard for a mile or more.
They make an “Alert Guard Call”, apparently to warn their partner about any potential danger *. A crane pair will jointly call rhythmically a “Unison Call” after waking in the early morning, after courtship or when defending their territory.
Unison calls are made by both the male and female pair-bonded cranes as they call in unison with each other. Unison calls are often made during elaborate courtship dance rituals of crane pairs in spring. These loud calls are also used by crane pairs to help defends their territory. When defending territory unison calls means “Keep out, this piece of wetland property is ours”.
When their territory is about to be invaded or some danger is threatening, Whooping Cranes make a comparatively soft “Defense Call”. When preparing to take flight the cranes will make a “Preflight”call.
The adult crane’s “Brood Call” or Contact Call is used to let chicks and know “It’s safe. Follow me.”
* Recorded by Arthur A. Allen, Courtesy of Macaulay Library,© Cornell Lab of Ornithology
***** FOTWW’s mission is to help preserve and protect the Aransas/Wood Buffalo
population of wild whooping cranes and their habitat. *****
Friends of the Wild Whoopers is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization.