Saving the Whooping Crane

This is an incredible story of perseverance, hardship, loss, and triumph. -School Library Journal






Whooping cranes were in danger of becoming extinct.  At one point, there were only fifteen of them left in the wild.  Scientists knew they needed to help create a new flock.  They used an incubator to hatch them, but who would raise the chicks?   And, even harder, who would teach them to fly and migrate south for the winter?


Clear and accessible language…engaging illustrations…a good choice for endangered species units for younger grades.  -The Horn Book Guide

The amazing story of the efforts of scientists determined to save the whooping cranes, complete with the ultra light aircraft used to lead them on their first migration journey makes wonderful reading.  -Yellow Brick Road

This exciting story for young readers is made all the more engaging by the trials and tribulations of the whoopers and the caring and devoted scientists who managed the early lives of these magnificent birds.  Children’s librarians would do well to add the book to their collections.  -American Association for the Advancement of Science


In this story, scientists raise baby whooping cranes by wearing whooping crane costumes, using puppets, and teaching the chicks to fly by making an ultralight plane also look like a crane. Click on the descriptions below to see videos, thanks to Journey North, that show the scientists at work.

Watch a baby crane learn to eat         Watch young cranes fly with their “leader”