News

Killing two husbands in a row, the white-naped crane “loves between people and birds” is intoxicated by the spring breeze

   Chris Crowe has loved animals since he was a child, but even he never thought that he would “marry” a crane in the future. To be precise, it was a white-naped crane called “Walnut”. After killing his two husbands, he lived happily with Crowe, and they also gave birth to offspring together…
  ”Black Widow”
   Crowe grew up in the downtown area of ​​Rockville, Maryland. Although there are few animals around him, he has a special affinity for animals. Wild animals can be found everywhere he goes. He feeds squirrels in the yard, takes care of the fallen chicks at home, and observes bison in the mountains. Animals are not nervous when they see him, and even attach to him. This trait allowed Crowe to become a breeder protecting endangered animals after graduating from Virginia Tech in 1998.
   He has recorded wood ducks in the Blackwater and Patuxent National Wildlife Refuges, introduced bald eagles in the California desert, and detected wolves on the hillsides of North Carolina. In 2004, Crowe ended his job of caring for the cranes in Patuxent and came to the Smithsonian Institute of Biological Conservation to apply to be a breeder of the white-naped cranes.
   Because of his excellent qualifications, he easily passed the assessment and was responsible for raising 17 cranes and 36 ducks in the institute.
   Warren Lynch, the zookeeper of the Institute, appreciates his ambitiousness, but warns him: “This job is not easy. Everything else is easy to say, but you have to be especially careful with a crane, which is called’Walnut “The crane.”
   Among the cranes, Crommer recognized which crane was a walnut because it was so different. When most birds see Crowe approaching, they will evade and hide behind the bushes. But Walnut was different. It walked aggressively to the barbed wire, raised its feathers at him, roared, and seemed to yell for Crowe to get out. Crowe realized that Walnut had a strong sense of territory and was not afraid of humans at all, but he didn’t understand why Walnut’s personality was like this.
   Several months later, he knew the reason: Walnut thought he was a human being. Because of this, it has been unable to reproduce offspring for a long time, which disappointed the American crane conservation community.
   Cranes are one of the most endangered birds in the world. Because of the reduction of wetlands and poaching, 11 of the 15 species of cranes are endangered. The same is true for the white-naped crane to which the walnut belongs, and it is more special because its parents are from China, and its genes are very different from those of the American crane, so its offspring can greatly expand the gene pool of the American crane population.
   Since the birth of walnut in 1981, the American crane conservation community has placed high hopes on it, hoping that it will give birth to as many children as possible. Who knows, Walnut is not interested in the same kind at all, let alone looking for a husband. This is because walnuts were raised by humans. The first thing you see at birth is humans, and it creates an “imprint” on humans.
   “Imprinting” is a phenomenon that is widespread in birds. When a newly hatched bird sees a human at first sight, it will treat humans as mothers and be close to them. They will treat themselves and humans as the same creatures, try to imitate the characteristics of humans, and even when they become adults, they want to find a human companion. This of course is not feasible, so many animal keepers will reduce the markings in advance and take many measures to make the young cranes look at the same species, such as installing mirrors, placing them in groups, or finding them bird parents.
   But the situation of walnuts is different. Lynch said that he has never seen a crane with such a serious imprint of walnuts. He suspects that the breeder at the time raised it as a human baby and walked around holding it. No matter how good the previous breeder intended, this is doomed to Walnut’s loneliness.
   In the protected area of ​​the International Crane Foundation, Walnut is indifferent to the male cranes, and even threatens them when they approach. After all, how can “people” be with cranes? After more than ten years of this, the Foundation saw that it could not solve its lifelong event, so it handed the walnuts to the Denver Zoo and asked them to assist in mating.
   The Denver Zoo found a husband for Walnut and locked the two cranes together in an attempt to increase their relationship. But before long, the male crane died strangely, his abdomen torn apart by his claws.
   Afterwards, Walnut was transferred to the Cincinnati Zoo and matched a husband again. After a few months, the second husband died again, exactly the same.
   Although the zoo did not say the murderer who killed the male cranes, watching the scene, walnuts can’t get rid of the relationship…
   Since then, walnut has the nickname “Black Widow” in the crane protection circle, and no zoo dares to take over it. In 2004, under the coordination of many agencies, walnuts were sent to the Smithsonian Institute of Biological Protection for individual care, only one month earlier than the breeder Crowe.
   After hearing his colleague’s admonition, Crowe was very patient and considerate of Walnut, and tried to appease it with his gentle qualities.
   In the beginning, Walnut did not allow Crowe to enter his yard at all, but Crowe made it a little bit to adapt to his own existence, gave him snacks (dead mice), talked to him softly, and slowly entered the yard. The distance between them has gradually shortened. Crowe can only feed the walnuts a few meters away at first, and then can get closer to within a meter, and even occasionally touch the walnuts. Finally, Walnut ushered in his first heartbeat in the summer of 2005. But, not to the male crane.
  People Love Crane
   Crowe noted that walnuts seem particularly interested him, when he stayed in the yard, walnut drop their head, spread his wings, like dancing. He thought Walnut was very happy to see himself, but he soon saw the same gesture from the other cranes. So…Is Walnut courting him?
   The average person would be a little embarrassed to see this situation, but Crowe didn’t have it at all. After all, he loves animals.
   When Walnut danced the courtship dance again, Kromman danced with it. When Walnut shook his head, he also shook his head, and when Walnut flapped his wings, he shook his arms up and down. Sometimes, the walnut will make a loud chirping sound, which is the beginning of the bird love song duet. If there is no one around, Crowe will also sing the male part, making a sound similar to “wow roar”.
   After summer passed, Walnut’s enthusiasm slowly cooled, and by the spring of the following year, it flapped its wings to Crowe again. This is not random, Walnut has a soft spot for Crowe. It is not interested in other breeders (although it has a better attitude towards male breeders than to female breeders), hates other humans approaching, and when the male crane comes over and winks, he will also be threatened with death by walnut.
   Crowe found out that Walnut really regarded him as his partner, the kind of one person and one bird all his life.
   White-naped cranes are monogamous animals. They will be jealous, passionate, and loyal. If one of the white-naped cranes died, the other would be heartbroken, unwilling to eat, and wailing for weeks.
   He was moved to find that Walnut had such feelings for him. He also thought of a more practical question: If he establishes a relationship with Walnut, does that mean that he can more easily inseminate Walnut by artificial insemination? Before, in order to expand the number of white-naped cranes, he and his colleagues performed artificial insemination on walnuts. The two forcibly pressed it and injected the male crane’s semen into its cloaca. That insemination was a bit dangerous, and walnuts were very uncomfortable. If you become its partner, you may be able to make it cooperate.

   Crowe thought so, so he did it. He took on the responsibility of his husband and took the initiative to caress the walnut every day, touching its back and legs with his hands for 30 seconds. Five days a week, several times a day.
   In the beginning, their husband and wife’s lives were not harmonious, and Crowe was often still stroking, but Walnut suddenly lost his sexuality and walked away. He found through observation that when other cranes mate, the male crane will keep pressing the female crane, so he cannot leave both hands at the same time. After learning, Walnut is really happier and will grunt comfortably.
   In addition to caressing, Crowe also handed the walnut grass and branches, telling it to build a nest together. Walnut is quite satisfied with Crowe’s serious attitude, but it is very picky about the length and thickness of the branches. Once a good one is found, it will happily flap its wings and take it away.
   Crowe told the Washington Post that Walnut is a picky wife, and the standard for good branches changes every year, so he has to try again and again.
   Although it sounds weird to be a couple with a bird, Crowe’s results are undoubtedly outstanding. After all the artificial insemination of walnuts, they have done very well. In the past 17 years, walnuts have given birth to 7 children, of which two have given birth to more children.
   Crowe often joked that he and Walnut are already grandparents.
  A bird and a man for life
   , although often lay eggs, but Crowe did not dare let myself walnuts raising children, on the one hand it is worried about the child as heterogeneous ( “My God, the children turned out to be not a person!”), On the other hand, the white pillow Crane must be incubated together, he really does not have this ability.
   After Walnut gave birth to the insemination eggs, Crowe would secretly send the eggs to the nests of other crane couples and let them raise them on their behalf. In order not to make the walnuts sad, he also made a lot of realistic-looking fake eggs, and let the walnuts sit on them to incubate. Incubating eggs is very hard. Walnut often sits for six hours. Crowe feels distressed and lets him rest whenever he has the opportunity.
   “I will walk over, walk to the bird’s nest and say,’You take a break.’ It will walk away, take a bath by the creek, and then come back in 15-20 minutes and sit in the nest again.” Crowe Said in the interview.
   Crowe tried his best not to let his “husband” be incompetent, but he knew that he was far from the standard of Crane. Once the male and female cranes are paired, they rarely separate, but Crowe disappears every weekend (holiday). At first, Walnut couldn’t bear it, and when I saw him again, he would peck him and drive him away, but over the years, their feelings are like old couples and wives, and Walnut is used to it.
   Because he is the breeder of cranes, Crowe needs to take care of other cranes, including female cranes. Walnut will also be unhappy when he sees it, hoping that he will only come to his side. Crowe is grateful that Walnut has accommodated many of his shortcomings. “The ideal partner doesn’t exist. You have to accept what the other person can’t change. I mean, even if I can’t dance and sing, it will tolerate me.” What
   really makes Crowe nervous is what he does for other female cranes. Artificial insemination. Yes, from a technical point of view, Crowe is “derailed”. After Crowe and Walnut became a partner successfully, the institute allowed him and two other female cranes to also become partners, thereby increasing the success rate of artificial insemination.
   Of the two female cranes, one is paired with a male crane, and the other is sexually interested in humans and cranes. Although they didn’t regard Crowe as a lifelong partner, it was enough to make him nervous. “Walnut hasn’t seen it, so I don’t know it. Fortunately, it can’t be seen.” Crowe said with a awkward smile.
   From a breeder to Crane’s husband, Crowe is famous for this peculiar work experience, and it also ushered in some ugly jokes. Some people suspect that he has perverted thoughts about animals, and some believe that he is satisfying his own selfish desires. Crowe said that the most classic he has heard is this: “How to distinguish pornography and perversion? Pornography uses feathers. Perversion is use. The whole bird.”
   Crowe thinks that there is no problem with his professional ethics, and he is open to these bad jokes: “When it comes to the protection of endangered animals, ordinary people may just talk about it in general and forget it. If this is about My weird jokes can make everyone pay more attention to their reproduction and protection, then I don’t care.”
   Having said that, Crowe does have a lot of affection for walnuts. In an interview in 2018, he said that because the white-naped crane has strong feelings for his partner, if he disappears, Walnut will be very painful. Therefore, he must continue to do this job until the death of Walnut. “Even if I reach the age of retirement, as long as it is still here, I can’t leave, otherwise I feel like a scumbag.” The
   white-naped crane can reach 60 years old, and such a promise can be regarded as a lifetime.
   Because of Walnut, he also rejected other loves. When the reporter asked him whether his human partner would be jealous because of walnuts, he replied: “Walnuts have set the standard too high. It is difficult for me to find another woman who would dance happily because of seeing me. Come.”
   Walnut would be happy if it could understand human language…