Like their human counterparts, smart crane parents have to find a proper balance between providing for their young and teaching self-reliance. The video below was taken during a crane chick’s first day. While it might seem easier for a busy parent to simply feed the chick and get it over with, these parents make the extra effort to hold back just enough so their newly-hatched has to work a little bit and reach for the meal.
This seems to accomplish at least two things: (1) the crane chick is taught, rather than the food coming all the way to her, that she must make some of the effort, thus learning to “hunt” for herself; and (2) it’s a good way for the crane Mom or Dad to develop, and test, good beak-eye coordination, since the chick must focus in on the morsel of food and snatch it from her parent’s beak, not unlike the Grasshopper taking the pebble from his Kung-Fu Master.
By the way, a crane chick eats a widely-varied diet, often starting with leftovers from their eggshell to insects, plant fiber, tubers and roots, seeds, fishmeal, and diced or shredded amphibians, reptiles, crustaceans and worms. Yum!