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Relationship That's Saving a Species

A keeper named Crowe shares a special bond with Walnut the crane.

The rumors are true… a crane with a crush on her caretaker lives at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute! White-naped crane Walnut was hand-raised and imprinted on humans, so she never bonded with other birds. At 23 years old, Walnut had never produced chicks. Then, in 2004, she met Chris Crowe. Crowe is Walnut’s caretaker at SCBI, and the two have a very special bond - Walnut considers Crowe her mate. Crowe built a trusting relationship with Walnut and has successfully performed artificial inseminations using genetic material from male cranes. Walnut has had eight chicks since she arrived at SCBI, contributing to the survival of her endangered species.


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