Matt Mendenhall uncovers the silly antics of whooping cranes, from their strange “whooping” call to their captivating mating dance. He tells “The WildLife” host Laurel Neme how, as “goats” of the wetlands, whooping cranes will munch on whatever food is available. He also reveals how their large size, about 5 feet tall, lets them bully other creatures yet how one tiny creature, a common fly, annoys the bird so much that it drives these massive birds off their nests. Listen and learn what makes whooping cranes so special, how these endangered birds are making a comeback from a population of just 16 individuals in the 1940s, and what scientists are going through – from dressing up in whooping crane costumes to teaching the chicks their migration route by following ultralight planes -- to turn this story of near extinction of a species into one of hope and success. Matt Mendenhall is Associate Editor of Birder’s World magazine. He has written about all sorts of birds — from the common Northern Cardinal and Varied Thrush to the endangered Whooping Crane and California Condor to the presumably extinct Imperial Woodpecker. He grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, and is a graduate of the journalism program at Marquette University. This episode of “The WildLife” was originally broadcast on The Radiator, WOMM-LP, 105.9 FM in Burlington, Vermont on January 4, 2010.
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