Our second oldest chick, Pepper Jack, has been one of the more interesting crane personalities ever since he was a hatchling. I remember when he was 2 days old I was trying to feed him with the puppet, but he kept pecking at the puppet’s eye and then glaring through the costume mask into my eyes. I’d always take extra precaution to divert his attention from my eyes and to the puppet head, but I’m pretty sure he’s known since the start that we’re not really cranes.
PJ is so independent from the costume and relaxed around other chicks that his personality is strikingly different from Nacho’s (who loves costume, and sometimes bullies other chicks). So different, in fact, that all the interns assumed he was a girl for the first 2 months of his life. When the blood tests came back showing he was male, it still took a few weeks to adjust our pronoun usage.
Today, the jerk bit me. It took me completely by surprise. He nailed me 7 times with enough force to bruise me in the arm (or the puppet’s neck) and the leg. Well, it would’ve bruised if I’d been wearing less clothing. I was so surprised that I quickly put him back in the night holding and ran to my supervisor to get some advice about this novel behavior.
Marianne suggested that maybe he’s old enough to start challenging the parent, and this is to be expected. All we have to do is show a little bit of dominance by placing our hand on the base of his neck and guide him away from the costume (gently, of course). So I did this. It took 7 tries, but it worked. He stopped pecking me. It didn’t help his tendency to stray, though. I guess I can’t have everything.
On the other side, Pepper Jack is so gorgeous! His wing feathers have grown in, and they have the most beautiful shading from white to brown of all the birds. I’ve attached pictures below. He looks like a little angel.