A Few Less Than 1,000 Cranes

Crane ArtMany people have probably read the book or heard the story of Sadako and the 1000 Paper Cranes. It’s about a girl from Hiroshima who gets sick as a result of the bombing in her hometown. She decides to make a thousand origami cranes because legend says that it will bring her luck and good health.

Zoo staffWhether you know the story or not, you might have heard that cranes are considered very special in Japanese culture. And so I felt very lucky to get to visit the Tancho Japanese Crane Reserve in Kushiro.  They don’t have a thousand cranes — they have less than 20. Cranes are endangered and they are working to protect them and study them. Baby cranes that are born at the sanctuary are often released into the wild.

EggWith the help of our awesome translator, Mr. Hatagami San, we learned all about cranes. The ones we saw at the reserve were Red Crowned Cranes, and their red spots are not feathers — they are sort of bald spots like the red crest thing on a chicken. They are faithful to their mates and raise their young together. We got to watch several sets of parents interacting with their babies, and we learned about what crane eggs look like too.  These majestic birds were once very common in Japan, and now they are slowly coming back but still endangered.

Anyway, the best way to appreciate cranes is to see them, so here they are. We also saw a Grey Heron (a relative of the Great Blue Heron) while we were there, so see if you can spot the pictures of him in these photos. After, make sure to watch the video to listen to the crane calls.

Categories: Japan

12 replies »

  1. Wow! These cranes are beautiful!
    Do Red Crowned Cranes only live in Japan? Also, I’m just curious, but how did a Grey Heron get into Japan? Is “Sadako and the 1000 Paper Cranes” a true story?
    Glad to hear that the Red Crowned Cranes are making a comeback! 🙂 Loved the baby cranes too! So adorable!
    ~ Anna

  2. The herons are so pretty. I was wondering if the brown ones were babies or if they are a different animal?

  3. Those cranes are amazing! Did you see all of the cranes in those pictures or not? Also did you take that video or it was made by someone else? You said that they are endangered. How are they coming endangered? Also I live on a brook, and we have this one crane that is always there near the brook.

    • Yes, I took this video. The cranes are endangered but the people here are working to bring them back.

      That’s neat that there’s a crane by your house. Do you know what type of crane? I wonder if they have that one in Japan!

  4. By watching the video on the Red Crowned Cranes, cranes seem like very interesting animals. I also have never heard of the story of “Sadako and the 1000 paper cranes “. It is also interesting that cranes are considered very special.

  5. After reading the post, watching the video, and seeing the photos I decided two things:
    1.Cranes are amazing.
    2.My favorite is the little brown one because it was so adorable.

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