Ferguson – East African Crowned Crane
The East African Crowned crane or Grey Crowned crane is a bird in the crane family Gruidae. It is endemic to Africa and does not migrate.
East African Crowned cranes roost in trees. Ferguson and Olivia sleep on top of the tall shelter in their aviary. They sound an alarm when they think they hear a predator. Sometime the cranes call all night long. We wonder if they are having nightmares since there are no crane predators any where near the sanctuary. Ferguson and Olivia greet visitors by dancing, bowing and jumping. Most people think that this means they are performing a welcome dance. In fact, Olivia and Ferguson are actually saying, “Stay away. Pandemonium Aviaries belongs to us.”
Olivia is not pinioned. Pinioning is the practice of cutting a muscle under the wing so the bird can not fly. Why are female cranes usually pinioned? Because a male will stay with his mate – and if the female can’t leave, then the male won’t. We do not endorse pinioning. Our first crane, Bridget, died as a result of improper pinioning that happened before she arrived here.
Our aviary is about 20 feel long and 25 feet high. This is not nearly enough for these beautiful birds. Our dream is to provide these birds with a larger enclosure near a stream so that they can fly and fish to their hearts’ content. In the meantime, they have two kiddie pools (one with sand and another with water) to enrich their aviary.
Ferguson and Olivia eat a specialized crane diet. In addition they are excellent insect hunters. When given a tray of meal worms hidden in sand they find these treats with ease! We are currently coming up with new ways to put their hunting skills to the test and provide them with fresh challenges. Varying the lives of aviary birds by changing aspects of their environment and offering their food in ways that allows them to use their brains and instincts to find it is called enrichment. Each species at Pandemonium is provided with unique enrichment experiences tailored to encourage and satisfy instinctual behaviors and to keep them from becoming bored.
You can see Olivia and Ferguson on the Birdcam.