Real Cranes ...
Possibly the oldest bird on earth, real cranes - the kind that come from eggs - are known for being especially long: long-legged, long-necked, long-billed, and long-lived. In Japanese legend they are said to live for a thousand years. There is fossil evidence that cranes inhabited the earth 60 million years ago. The Sandhill Crane is the oldest living species of bird and has been virtually unchanged for 9 million years.
Cranes mate for life and are devoted to their partners in all seasons. Female and male work together to build their nest and share equally in caring for their young. Throughout Asia, the crane is a symbol of eternal youth and happiness and has inspired poets and artists for centuries.
There are fifteen species of cranes on five continents. The Japanese crane is among the most majestic, standing nearly five feet tall with its red crown, large white body, and wingspread of more than six feet. Most cranes breed in wetlands and build their nests in remote marshes.
Today, seven of the fifteen species are threatened with extinction largely because of the destruction of their habitats. Since 1973, the International Crane Foundation has been dedicated to studying and preserving the world's cranes.
For more information about cranes, captive breeding methods, and how you can help, write to the International Crane Foundation, E-11376 Shady Lane Rd., Baraboo, Wisconsin 53913. Ask about their Adopt-A-Crane Program. Their Web site address is: http://www.savingcranes.org/