CV'S of white crane

Фото: Садчиков Павел / АиФ

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Species: white crane or white Siberian crane (Grus leucogeranus)

Sex: rooster

Date of birth: unknown, arrived to hatchery on January 4th, 1982.

Origin: eastern population (Yakutia)

Home № 1-19 № in the international white crane register: 15

Uchur has been living in the hatchery starting from the beginning of 1982. The autumn of 1981 became the last one of his free life in the Yakut tundra. The poacher shot his right wing. Fortunately, the white crane managed to escape from the usual fate of the shot birds – to be eaten or die from hunger and injures. Y.M. Marin, the former junior research scientist of the Oksk hatchery and now its Director wrote in the article “The Flight after the Crane” published in the newspaper “Komsomolskaya Pravda” on February 19th, 1982 the following: “Once the white crane came to the settlement of the geologists and prospectors, situated on the border of Yakutia and Khabarovsk region. He could not fly: his injured wing was hanging. Some scoundrel’s shot made him dropped him behind the flock half way to the wintering. He did not yield to people at once but there was no other way. The local doctor did his best to cure the injured bird. He was taken at home, fed with everything there was at hand… But it was the end of the field season and it was decided to send the white crane to the settlement Chagda by plane. So he found himself at school and the teachers with their students took active part in his fate”. Further on Y.M. Marin describes the difficulties they bumped when transported the white crane at 30 degrees below zero from Yakutia to Ryazan region.

In the hatchery the big bird with long beak which revealed a rooster in him was given the name- Uchur. This is the name of one of the rivers wherefrom he was taken. Nobody knows how old he was during his unfortunate migration. The rooster had a coat that wear the grown-up birds: they put it on during the third year of their life and it do not change it till the end of their further life. It exactly known that in 1981 Uchur was more than 2 years old. Nobody knows how old he was in reality – 3,5 or 25. In 2012 Uchur had a so kind anniversary – it was the thirtieth anniversary of his stay at the hatchery.

Uchur got used to the life in the open cage rather quickly, started eating the food and drinking form the drinking bucket. It was easy with him for the people taking care of him. The bird which came through the awful stress put up with the human presence on its territory and was not aggressive so as all other roosters of the white cranes grown up by people.

In 1991 it worked to unite Uchur with the hen Mark. The hen was born in 1980 from the egg brought from Yakutia to the Hatchery within the project “Sterkh” and was grown there. Like all other white cranes who never saw their parents Mark when became mature was looking for the spouse among people and did not stand the roosters of her species.

She chose Vladimir Grigoryevich Panchenko, the Head of the Hatchery as her spouse. After that he had to pay more attention to the capricious hen – to come to her open cage several times a day and make a nest together with her. Uchur patiently endure this “infidelity” of his spouse.

Next year Mark laid the first egg and the chick Fateyi hatched from it. He was liberated to the habitat of the famous couple of white cranes on the territory of Kunovatsky reserve in Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area/Okrug. The injured wing did not let Uchur to tread and the hen was artificially inseminated.

In July 1993, when Uchur and Mark were bringing up a chick, their relation towards each other radically changed. They started to fight with each other as if they were arguing about how the chick was to be brought up. Uchur was put into the neighbouring open cage and on the seventh of July, seemingly after the usual fight he broke the maxilla almost up to nostrils through the metal grating. The most beautiful and the longest beak of the Hatchery was broken, the 8 centimeter fragment was in the grass. During some time, until the injure was not skinned over he was fed by force – the pieces of foods were put into his beak. Soon he started eating by himself. To reduce the difference between the length of the maxilla an the mandible the later had to be shorten and to regularly perform this operation, about once a month, as soon as the mandible became longer. After the trauma the birds made their piece and multiplied each year but in 1997 Mark broke her beak and died.

In the autumn of the same year Uchur was placed near the young hen Samgym and in winter seeing their obvious affection to each other they were put in to the same open air cage.


Species: white crane or white Siberian crane (Grus leucogeranus)

Sex: hen

Date of birth: June 21st, 1996

Origin: western population (Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area/Okrug)

Home № 1-120 № in the international white crane register: 219

Samgum was brought as an egg from the basin of the river Kunovat right from the place and the nest of those white cranes who had been the last known couples of the vanishing West-Siberian population. Her parents lived on the large marsh between the islands of the forest in the place where there had been the boring apparatus before.

That is why they were called the “boring” couple. Samgum father’s name was Gora (in Russian it means “mountain”) because he was as lofty as a mountain and due his tough temper and her mother’s name was Ruchey (in Russian it means “brook”) due to her mild temper unlike her spouse. In 1996 during one of the regular expeditions to Gora and Ruchey’s nest two eggs were put therein which were got from the white cranes of the Hatchery. These two eggs were put instead of two ones from Gora and Ruchey’s to replenish the genetic variety of the captive population. The chicks hatched out of them were named Bur (i.e. bore) (per the name of the paceBurovaya (i.e. boring) and Samgym (per the name of the lake in thereabouts).

The chicks were grown with the so called isolate or costume method application. The point is that people who take care the chicks wear special clothes that disguise their faces and body but imitate the grown up white crane. Both chicks turned out to be hens. Bur as well as Samgym lives and multiplies in the Hatchery – her spouse is the rooster whose name is Bardeau.

However the family life for Samgym was not so smooth. Uchur started reechoing with the neighbor-hen Glasya and Samgym was so offended that kept going away to the opposite side of the open air cage. The couple stopped singing in unison. To save the family the rival in love Glasya was taken to the other open air cage complex. As they say - out of sight, out of mind. In spring 2000, when she was 4, Samgym started ovipositing. There were 23 of them during 11 years.


Species: white crane or white Siberian crane (Grus leucogeranus)

Sex: rooster Date of birth: July 2nd, 1980.

Origin: eastern population (Yakutia)

Home № 1-10 № in the international white crane register: 33

Sergey was brought to the Hatchery as an egg from the second batch of the eggs from the Yakut white crane population in 1980. The eggs on the last stage of brooding were taken out of wild white cranes’ nests. There was taken only one egg form each nest to leave the second chick to the parents. The eggs were transported to the hatchery in the special transport incubator first by helicopter, then by plane and at last by car. The chicks were named after the participants of the project “Sterh”: Flint (Vladimir Eugeneyevich Flint – the leader of the project, the Head of the All-Russian R&D Institute of Nature of the Ministry of Nature Resources), Sanya (Alexander Sorokin - a scientific officer of All-Russian R&D Institute of Nature), Punch (Vladimir Punchenko – the Head of the Oksk Hatchery of crane rare species), Svet (Svyatoslav Georgievich Priklonsky –the Director of the Oksk Hatchery), Nazar (Edward Nazarov – the cameraman who filmed the white cranes in natural environment), Mark (Yury Markin – a scientific officer of the Oksk Hatchery, Joy, Libby (the workers of the International Fund of Crane Protection, the USA) and Sergey (Sergey Babylyulko – the pilot of the helicopter whereby the expedition was searching the white cranes’ nests and collected eggs).

It was the first year when the chicks of the white cranes were grown in the hatchery. The humans were with them all the time so the chicks thought them to be their parents. But this results in the late multiplication due to the difficulties in finding “common” language between the hen and the rooster and couples matching.

Sergey grew up and out of the quiet, bushy chick turned into a big, large and aggressive rooster of white crane. When he was three he became aware that he is the owner of the territory where he lives (open-air cages) and started vigorously protect it from the keepers. Due to his tough temper it was hard to match him with anyone. There were fewer hens in the Hatchery than roosters so each hen had the possibility to choose. Sergey was turned down by Mark, Pra and Julia – they preferred the roosters with the less tough temper. Only in 1989 he was found a spouse – Banyl the hen. Sergey lives with her till the present time.


Species: white crane or white Siberian crane (Grus leucogeranus)

Sex: hen

Date of birth: July 3d, 1986

Origin: eastern population (Yakutia)

Home № 1-31 № in the international white crane register: 68

Banyl was brought to the Hatchery as an egg from the same Yakut white crane population as Sergey but six years later – in 1986. She was also brought up by the people. When a chick she was very aggressive and she was too inventive in fights with the chicks of the same age. It is impossible to tell the rooster from the hen with the white cranes since they do not have visual sex differences. The employees based on the observation of the behavior and according to all signs Banyl was a rooster.

Besides, when the chick became older there was the second, though secondary but still indicator of the rooster – the long beak. There was a great surprise when the chromosomal analysis of the bird was revealed. Banyl turned out to be a hen. Then the idea emerged to match two aggressive birds in to a couple. And it worked! The couple turned out to be very harmonious especially in respect of the open-air cage protection- it was impossible to enter it, especially during the mating season. The birds attacked the visitor using all means available: beaks, wings and strong legs. Due to her temper in 1998Banyl broke her beak when attacked through the metal wire of the open-air cage people, who brought some food for her chick. After the trauma she was not left the chick. There was a danger that she might not be able to feed the chick: chicks cannot pick up the food even it is put in front of it - parents should give it to their chick “beak-to-beak”.

However Banyl coped with the task since she had a quite healthy Sergey’s beak at her disposal. Banyl laid 51 eggs and 27 chicks were grown out of them.

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