Woman acts fast to save chick

2012-02-11 00:00

QUICK thinking by Boston resident Kirsten Cromhout this week led to the rescue of a day-old Grey Crowned Crane chick, one of South Africa’s endangered bird species.

Late Tuesday afternoon in her garden she spotted the strange-looking bird, “resembling a guineafowl baby, except it wasn’t”. She had the presence of mind to lock up her five dogs and then called her neighbour, David Clulow, to come and check it out.

Clulow fetched another neighbour, Crystelle Wilson, and when they joined Cromhout they immediately identified it as a baby crane. The little creature was confidently trotting around the lawn.

The biggest mystery is how it came to be in the garden, as the nearest known nesting site for Grey Crowned Cranes is about 200 metres away, a distance covered by dense vegetation and separated by a donga and small stream.

The chick was placed in a box with grass and Clulow took it home and contacted the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Drakensberg Crane Project in Howick. The advice was to keep it warm and quiet and hydrated.

On Wednesday morning Tanya Smith, senior field officer of the crane project, arrived to collect the chick. She estimated that it must have hatched on Monday afternoon.

By then the baby was ravenous. David had fed it wheat-free Pro-Nutro, which turned out to be a good choice.

Smith delivered Baby Boston to the Hlatikulu Crane Sanctuary where it will hopefully be raised safely and rehabilitated. The aim is to colour ring it when it has grown and then release it back into the wild. — Supplied.

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