(Sheenin - Cranes)


Below are my animal research table. They are in Pages format.

Below is my first copy of my research.

Below is my final copy of my research:

I uploaded two copies to show my progress in my research. My first copy was not as elaborated as my final copy.


Checklist of things to do:
Choose a well-researched animal
Explore Wikispace
Set up bibliography for used sources
Find books about chosen animals
Complete Food Web Poster
Describe the role of Decomposers
Define Ecosystem
Describe Cranes' Environment
Cranes' Adaption Mind Map
Diurnal or Nocturnal?
Describe the season that cranes live in
Explain how cranes adapt to seasonal changes
Describe the symbiosis relationships
Explain the features of cranes
Describe the how the variations were inherited or caused by environment
Classify the organisms in a crane's habitat
MY body's adaptations

Why did I choose Cranes?

I chose Cranes because I wanted to research about birds. In my previous animal research, I was always researching about land animals. So, I decided that I will do something new for this research. I could choose between water animals or flying animals. I chose flying animals because I think that they are more interesting. I chose Cranes out of all of the other flying animal because of their spectacular Courtship dance. Also, they are majestic and beautiful. Therefore, I chose Crane as my research animal for this project.


Below is a comparison between four different species of cranes, the Siberian crane, Japanese crane(Red-crowned crane), Sandhill crane and Whooping crane.
Scientific Classification
Grus leucogeranus
Grus japonensis
Grus canadensis
Grus americana
1.4 m
~ 1.58 m
~ 0.8 m - 1.2 m
~ 1.5 m
~ 7.5kg
~ 3kg to 6.5kg
6kg - 7.8kg
Physical Identification
Adult forecrown, forehead, face, and sides of the head are bare of feathers and brick-red in color. The plumage is pure white except for the primaries, which are black. Eye color is reddish or pale yellow and legs and toes are reddish pink. - http://www.savingcranes.org/siberian-crane.html
The only crane species that have white primary feathers. Adult forehead and crown are covered with bare red skin, and a large white band extends from behind the eyes and meets sharply with the black lower neck. -
Gray plumage;
Has a red forehead, white cheeks and a long dark pointed bill
Has black wing tips and a pure white body
Marshes and other types of wetlands
Coastal salt marshes, rivers, freshwater marshes, rice paddies, and cultivated fields
Open fresh water wetlands
Marshes and other types of wetlands


BrainPOP - Food Chain
  • All living things are linked together by what they eat
  • They depend on each other for nourishment to survive and this is called a Food Chain
  • There are many food chains are everywhere
  • For example: In the lake -- If the food chain is broken, like the animals in that food chain are killed, the population will go endangered or grow completely out of control
  • Food Chains combine to form a food web
  • Example of Food Chain:
    • Plant plankton are eaten by small animals (shrimps etc.)
    • Shrimp are eaten by fishes, which are then eaten by even bigger fishes
    • Bears eat the big fish
  • Food web three main elements: producers, consumers, decomposers
  • Producers make their own food using photosynthesis, are the largest part of any food web, and they are at the bottom of all food chains
  • Consumers - that eat others, eat by getting them by producers (humans, birds, cows etc.)
  • Primary consumers eat the producers
  • Animals that eat plants are primary consumers, called herbivores
  • Secondary consumers eats the primary consumers are called carnivores (humans etc.)
  • Parasites are small organisms that live on the bodies of other organisms, using up the victim's energy
  • Scavengers eat the carcasses of other dead animals
  • Decomposers are mostly bacteria and fungi(mold on bread)

Below are mind maps to organise the information above about Food Web from BrainPOP:
Elements of a Food Web:

Types of Consumers:

Below are some examples of Food web. Below each of them, I have labelled the pros and cons of each food web.
This food web is good because it labels the name of every organism in the food web. Also, it has simple pictures for most of them to allow the reader to understand it better. However, the arrows are not outstanding enough. Instead, the text are more outstanding. Therefore, I will take a long time to understand the food web.
This food web is good because it labels the type of elements which the animal is categories. Also, it labels the type of consumer of each animal. However, this food web seems uncompleted and it is too simple. Additionally, the names of individual organism in the food web is not labeled.
This food web is very clearly done. However, it does not have names for each organism. Therefore, the reader might have a hard time to find out what some of the pictures represent.
This food web is also very clearly done. It has a title that tells the reader what the food web is about. Also, it has the names of each organism in the web. However, the food web did not label the type of elements and consumers of each organism in the poster.

A picture of my Food Web Poster:

Reflection of my Food Web poster:
I think that the information in my poster were well-organised. I had included clear and simple pictures as well as clear and big titles for each animal. My arrows were in red which had made them outstanding. Also, my arrows were drawn in the correct direction. Even though I made a mistake in one of the arrows, I managed to cover it up and made it blend in with the other arrows. However, I can improve by adding a decomposer into my poster. If I could do this poster again, I will do it on a bigger piece of paper so that I can include more examples of animals as well as decomposers.


Description of the Role of Decomposers:
Decomposers are organisms such as bacteria, fungi or worms. Most decomposers are usually microscopic animals, which means that they cannot be seen by the human's naked eye. Others, like fungi, can be seen. They consume and break down the remains of dead animals and plants, releasing the substances that can be used by other members of the ecosystem. They only eat dead things, and never eat any animal that is alive. Decomposers feed on other organic substance to obtain energy. Decomposers are very important for any ecosystem. If they weren't in the ecosystem, the plants would not get essential nutrients, and dead matter and waste would pile up. The job of decomposers is to break down dead organisms and recycle nutrients of the dead organisms. Or, our world will have piles of rubbish and dead organism everywhere.
"A decomposer is an organism that breaks down organic matter. Some bacteria and fungi decomposers. What they leave behind is used by primary producers."
- http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/foodchain/glossary.shtml

How do living organisms relate to decomposers?
All living organisms relate to decomposers in a similar way. When we die, decomposers help us to break down our dead body into simpler substances. They help us to clear out the dead matter and waste from our land. Without them, our whole world would be filled with dead bodies everywhere. Therefore, they play an important role in our ecosystem.

Pictures of decomposers:
external image giant_african_millipede-300x300.jpgexternal image 407bbbf39d65353e61c447d4dfa7c5f3.wix_mpMillipede, Ant

external image 54-02-FungiDecomposing.jpgexternal image pseudomonas_bacteria.jpgFungi, Bacteria


What are parasites?:
A parasite lives in a close relationship with another organism, its host, and causes it harm. The parasite is dependent on its host for its life functions. The parasite has to be in its host to live, grow, and multiply. Parasites rarely kill their hosts. For example, viruses are common parasites. - http://student.biology.arizona.edu/honors98/group15/whatisaparasite.htm

Are there differences between parasites and decomposers?:
A parasite requires another living organism to live. Without the living organism, the parasites will not be able to live, grow or multiply itself. It is fully dependent on the organisms for its life functions. On the other hand, decomposers do NOT rely on any living organisms to live. Decomposers only feed on and break down other dead organisms into simpler substances.
In conclusion, parasites LIVE off another living organism while Decomposers FEED ON and BREAK DOWN dead organisms.


BrainPOP - Ecosystem
  • Ecosystems are made up of living and non-living things that interact with each other. (Examples => Deserts)
  • Ecosystems are categorized by the amount of rainfall and sunlight they get and the condition of the soil
  • Every ecosystem has their own community of plants and animals that have adapted.
  • In an ecosystem, communities can be divided into different populations
  • Populations are made up of just one type of organism
  • Every organism has its own home that's called a habitat
  • Examples =>Water ecosystems - ponds, lakes, rivers and oceans

What are the similarities and differences between Habitat and Ecosystem?
Both habitat and ecosystem are places where organisms live. Living things live in both places. However, ecosystems are also made up of non-living things too. In conclusion, habitat is made up of living organisms while ecosystems are made up of both living and non-living organisms.

Picture of the difference between community, habitat and ecosystem:

A description of ecosystem:
Ecosystems, also known as Ecological Systems, are made up of living and non-living things. It is where different populations in a habitat interacts with one another and with the physical environment around them. Different ecosystems has their own unique community of plants and animals that have adapted to that ecosystem's environment. Also, ecosystems are most often categorized by the amount of rainfall and sunlight they get or the condition of the soil.


Cranes can live in almost any continent of the world. However, they do not live in Antarctica and South America. Whooping cranes only appear in North America. Along with Sandhill cranes, it is one of the only two crane species found in North America.
There are many different types of cranes. Different cranes lives in different continent , depending on their adaptations. Cranes can live almost everywhere because of their amazing adaption. Most of cranes live in wetland habitat. As long as a continent has wetlands with suitable conditions for them, cranes will be able to live there.
In my opinion, cranes cannot live in Antarctica because of the harsh climate. Antarctica is the coldest, driest and windiest continent of the whole Earth and the weather is too unpredictable. Cranes are only adapted to warm and wet weather. Therefore, many species of cranes need to migrate to warmer countries in winter. As for South America, it still stays as a mystery for scientist. South America is near to the Antarctica. In my opinion, South America has a similarly harsh climate as Antarctica.

"South America is a place of extremes: It is home to the driest place on Earth (the Atacama Desert) and one of the wettest (the Amazon Rainforest)" -

Whooping cranes live in the wetlands. Wetlands are land areas that have wet soil, such as marshes and swamps. However, because of the habitat destruction caused by humans, whooping cranes now live in Aransas Wildlife Refuge in winter and Wood Buffalo National Park in summer. These two areas have a wetland-like environment so that the cranes can continue to live in those areas for a long period of time. Aransas Wildlife Refuge is located near in the Gulf of Mexico in Texas. Cranes live there because there are many marshes and swamps around the refuge. Wood Buffalo National Park is located in the Northern Canada. Around the home of the cranes, there are large forest lands of the northern wilderness. This environment allows the cranes to continue to have a wetland surrounding.
Below are pictures of cranes in the different refuge parks:
Cranes_in_aransas_-_Sheenin.jpg cranes_in_aransas_park_-_Sheenin.jpg
Whooping cranes in Aransas Wildlife Refuge, Texas
Whooping cranes in Wood Buffalo Park, Northern Canada

Maps of the two refuge:


What is the difference between Ecosystem and Environment?
Ecosystem and environment could be used in the same situations. However, there is a slight difference between them. Environment is used when describing about the conditions of an ecosystem while ecosystem is used to describe the relations. Also, ecosystem only focus on a certain type of plant, animal etc. community while environment is used for all situations.
For example, the ecosystem of cranes is the wetlands of North America. However, the environment of cranes would be the amount of rainfall and sunlight they get, the condition of the soil etc. of the wetlands in North America.

Non-living conditions of cranes Table:
Non-living conditions
Rainfall of 20mm or less in a year in Northern Canada
Part of their diet are small animals that lives in rivers
Rainfall of 31cm in a year in Texas
Lives in the wetland
Cold Temperatures
Migrate to Texas during winter
Has a small back toe so that their feet will not be caught in the mud
Lots of water in the wetlands
Has long legs so that their body will not get wet after they go into the water
Has long skinny toes that helps them to balance
Has a long neck, long legs
Their bodies will not get wet when they stand in the ponds to look for food
Lays two eggs a year
Whooping cranes are listed as endangered species;
Many conservation groups are helping to preserve the whooping cranes species
Overall Environment of Cranes' ecosystems:
Northern Canada in Summer:
Low precipitation and cold temperatures favour permafrost and suppress vegetation growth, resulting in treeless tundra - National Resources Canada


Mind Map picture:

Information Table:
Features No.
Feature Name
How do they adapt to those features?
Long, Skinny legs
- Standing in water without getting body feathers wet
- Balancing a long skinny neck when a bird is in flight
No webs between toes
Spent time in the water but doesn't swim
Has a small back toe
Nest on the grounds instead of the trees
Has long toes
To balance and support their body on mud
Has black feathers on the tip of the wings
The melanin makes primary feathers much stronger. That's important. The wing tips get the most wear and tear from flying. The melanin helps the primary feathers last longer.
Has Hollow Bones
Contains extensions of the air sacs from the lungs to give oxygen to allow the cranes to fly quickly and easily
Has Soft and
Stretchy Esophagus
Carries food from the mouth to the stomach, and can stretch enough for the crane to swallow large blue crabs
Heart and Lungs
To receive enough oxygen during high altitude flights which may reach up to 1800 meters
Migration to the North
Has strong heart and lungs to provide enough oxygen during their long flight
Complex Courtship
Has a loud and striking voice
Has a long neck to bow to their mate
Has large wings to flap
V-shaped/ Single-lined
flying formations
Fly and migrate in small groups of three or more
Good Links:
External Adaptation of:
Legs and Feet


Are cranes diurnal or nocturnal?
Cranes are diurnal animals. Their body has adapt to the daylight. One of their diurnal adaption is their yellow eyes.
"The piercing yellow eyes are great adaptations for seeing in the daylight, but the pupil is not large enough for night vision. Therefore, the whooping crane is a diurnal organism." - http://bioweb.uwlax.edu/bio203/2010/fisher_all2/adaptation.htm

Below is a picture of the eyes of whooping cranes:


Four Seasons or tropical?:
Whooping cranes live in Northern Canada for most of the year. In winter, they migrate to Texas for a warmer place to live in. Therefore, Whooping cranes lives in a four seasons country.

How do cranes adapt to seasonal changes?:
Migration in Winter:
Whooping cranes only stay in Canada for MOST of the year. They travel several thousands miles to the Gulf of Mexico that is near Texas in winter. The cranes travel there in winter because they need to be living in a warmer place so that they will be able to find enough food. Therefore, Whooping cranes are known as migratory birds too.
Below is a map of the cranes' migration route:
external image whooper-migration-routes1.jpg

Cranes are omnivores feeders. Throughout the year, they will eat berries, acorns, fruits, plants and many more. However, on their wintering grounds, cranes mostly eat Blue crabs. They can even eat up to 80 blue crabs a day!
"During winter, Whooping Cranes feed mostly in estuaries, mostly on blue crabs and clams, and move to upland areas that were flooded or burned, exposing acorns, snails, mice, voles, crayfish, grasshoppers, and snakes. When they leave Texas, they must switch to a freshwater diet of frogs, fish, plant tubers, crayfish, and aquatic insects; and also on insects and waste grains in harvested fields. Once they reach their breeding grounds, they’ll be eating mollusks, crustaceans, aquatic insects, minnows, frogs, and snakes." -
external image Crab_WildCrane_AlanMurphy.jpg


BrainPOP - Symbiosis:
symbiotic relationship, or symbiosis, occurs when two species live in close contact with one another
Example: birds that hung out in a crocodile mouth

3 main categories of symbiosis: They are distinguished by whether the relationship is harmful or helpful to one or both of the species
Mutualism: Benefits both species
Parasitism: One species grows stronger by harming another species
Commensalism: One species benefits, while the other is unaffected

Below are pictures that shows some examples of symbiosis relationship:
Mutualism - Butterfly and flowers
Mutualism - Oxpecker and Zebra
Mutualism - Egyptian Plover and Crocodiles

What are the feeding and symbiotic relationship that cranes have with organisms in it's habitat?
Cranes + ???
Type of Relationship
Cranes + Humans
Cranes + Humans
Cranes + Gapeworms
Cranes + Mosquitoes
Cranes + Humans
Cranes + Rivers
Cranes + Wetlands


Features of cranes as a species:
Some examples of the physical features of cranes are its long legs and long necks. It has short beaks with sharp tips. Its large wings helps the cranes to fly during the migration easily. Cranes also have a pair of small yellow eyes. Therefore, cranes are diurnal animals. Their eyes are good for the daylight but, too small to be used at night. Cranes are well known for its complicated and loud courtship dances. Cranes have loud piercing voice that can be heard from at least a kilometer away because they have a long windpipe in their body. Cranes are also known as faithful parents. When cranes mate, they stay with the same partner for the rest of their life, unless their partner dies. Cranes take very good care of their eggs. They will only build nests in quiet and hidden places where predators will not disturb them or try to eat their eggs. Females lay two eggs, which both parents will help to incubate. However, males usually take the responsibility for defending the nest. When their babies hatches, cranes bring them around and teach them how to survive. Baby cranes learn by watching what their parents do and try to imitate the same thing.

Features of whooping cranes:
  • Large birds
  • Long and slender legs
  • Long necks
  • Pointed beaks
  • Has large wings
  • Has red skin on its forehead and cheeks
  • White, with Black feathers on its wing tips

Below are pictures of the different body parts of a crane. It shows the features of the cranes.

Below is a table of the differences between an Whooping crane and a Sandhill crane:
Whooping Cranes
Sandhill Cranes
Has black wing tips
Grey wings
Pure white body
Grey to reddish-brown body
Loud and piercing calls
Click here to listen to the call of Whooping cranes
Raspy and Choppy calls
Click here to listen to the call of Sandhill cranes
Very tall; Up to 1.5 meters
Tall, but smaller than whooping cranes; Up to 1.2m

Page 13 - How are variations inherited or caused by environment?

Some examples of whooping cranes variations:
Description of variations
Why and How?
Bald Red Crown on their heads
The color intensifies when the crane is mating or territorial. The crown enlarges or shrinks depending on whether the crane needs to draw attention to itself or is hiding. - http://www.learner.org/jnorth/tm/crane/AdaptationsHead.html
Has a small back toe
Cranes nest on the ground and lives in the wetlands. Therefore, they cannot have long back toes because it will cause the cranes to get stuck in the squishy mud of the wetland when they are walking around. Their toes are just long enough so that they can balance themselves.
Loud and piercing voice
When cranes live in the wetlands, there will always be many dangers around them. Therefore, their loud voice is a form of protection against the predators.
Large and Broad wings; Wingspan of 2.3 m
Their large and broad wings are for their long distance migrants. If their wings are too small, they will need to continuosly flap it in order to keep flying fast. Then, the cranes will need to stop every now and then because they will get tired of flapping many times and quickly when in flight.

Page 14 - Classifying the organisms

Types of living organisms:
Animal Name
Vertebrate/ Invertebrate
Type of vertebrates/invertebrate
Great Blue Herons
Painted Turtles
Blue-spotted Salamander
Northern Leopard Frog
Northern Watersnake
Giant Water Bug
Aquatic Insects
Aquatic Insects
Northern Pike
Yellow Perch
Marsh Wren
Blue-grey Gnatcatcher

  • Cattails
  • Water Lily
  • Bulrushes
  • Arrowhead
  • Common Duckweed

  • Amoeba - A shapeless unicellular(Has only one cell) organism
  • Nitrogen-fixing organism
  • Different types of bacteria

  • Rust
  • Puffball
  • Mushrooms

Page 15 - What are some examples of MY body's adaptations?

Mind Map picture:

Information Table:
My Features
How do I adapt to those features?
Has long fingers
Started playing the violin at the age of 4
Find it easier to play the violin
Small frame of body
A feature that is passed down from my parents
Easier to do sports; Clothes have to be long and 'slim-cut"
Sensitive hearing
Always take good care of my ears
(e.g. when listening to music, don't play it too loud)
Take good care of my ears
(e.g. Cover my ears if the noise around me is too loud)
Good digestive system
High metabolism rate
Eat more
Wear my spectacles at all times
Without my spectacles, I cannot see anything
Never misplace my spectacles
(e.g. Keep my spectacles in a safe place with my belongings or myself if I have to take it down)
Tilt to the left when I am standing
Prolong standing in the same position while playing the violin
Always remember to tilt back to a straight position when I am standing still
Don't get sick as easily as before
Immune system has became stronger as I got older
Pay attention to what I eat or do

Page 16 - Interesting Facts

Courtship Dance:
Click the link below to watch a slideshow of Japanese cranes(Red crowned cranes) doing their courtship dance:
(Photos taken by my family in Ueno Zoo, 7th August 2011)

Scientific Name - Grus americana:
The scientific name of Whooping crane is "Grus americana". Grus is a word from Latin, that refers to the large birds in the crane's family, while americana means from/of America. Therefore, Grus americana means large birds of America.
Whooping cranes are well-known for being the tallest bird in America. They are one of the largest birds in the world. Additionally, Whooping cranes lives in Northern America. Therefore, "Grus americana" suits the Whooping crane.

Page 17 - Glossary (Words that are bold in the page)

Definition/ Ideas/ Examples
  • When experiment has more trials and repetition, the result will be more accurate.
  • Longer and sensitive materials/apparatus will have more accurate result
  • The quality or state of being correct or precise
  • The results are more accurate when more sensitive materials/apparatus are used.
Food Chain
  • All living things are linked together by the food that they eait
  • Depends on each other for nourishment to survive
Food Web
  • Contain many linked food chains.
  • Food web has three main elements: producers, consumers and decomposers
  • Make their own food using photosynthesis
  • They are the largest part of any food web
  • They are at the bottom of all food chains
  • They eat plants and other animals.
  • Two types of consumers: Primary consumers and Secondary consumers
Primary Consumers
  • They eat the producers, such as plants
  • Also known as herbivores
Secondary Consumers
  • They eats the primary consumers(herbivores)
  • Also known as carnivores (humans etc.)
  • Breaks down dead animals and plants into simpler and useful substances, such as mineral salts and carbon dioxide that are used by plants.
  • Examples: Bacteria and Fungi
  • Animals which eats only plants
  • Always a prey
  • A primary consumer
  • Animals which eats only meat
  • Either a predator or a prey
  • Not a primary consumer
  • Animals eats plants and meat
  • Both a predator and/or a prey
  • Can be a primary and secondary consumer
Ecosystem(Also known as Ecological System)
  • Different populations in a habitat that interacts with one another and with their physical environment
  • Made up of living and non-living things that interact with each other
  • Categorized by the amount of rainfall and sunlight they get, the condition of the soil etc.
  • Has their own community of plants and animals that have adapted
  • Habitat = Only made up of living things, Ecosystem = Made up of living and non-living things
  • The habitat and all of the factors that affect the survival of organisms living together in the habitat
  • The place where an organism lives / The home of an organism
  • Provides the organisms with food and all that it needs to live and reproduce
  • A group of organisms of the same species living in the same place and the same time
  • Made up of just one type of organism
  • Different of species living and interacting in a habitat
  • Can be divided into different populations
  • The raising, keeping and care of birds
  • Producing offspring from parents of different stock
  • A low-lying land that is wet and soft at all times
  • Gullet
  • Portion of the digestive tube that conducts food from the mouth to the stomach
  • The covering of feathers on a bird
  • An organism that consumes dead organic matter


Bibliography - science.png