Humans in Bird Costumes Bring Whooping Cranes Back to Louisiana’s Wetlands

Costume-reared chicks are key to establishing a self-sufficient non-migratory flock of the endangered species.

Eva Szyszkoski grew up on a farm on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula where her family always had a brood of chickens. Later, while studying biology at Michigan Tech in the mid-aughts, she had a pet Umbrella Cockatoo, a sensitive bird known for its delicate beauty and demanding nature. While it was always her professional aim to work “at something in the field with animals,” she doesn’t remember being particularly focused on birds. So she’s as surprised as anyone that her job calls for her to impersonate a bird, and a big and rare one at that.

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