Intern Position: Lead Whooping Crane Chick Rearing - Autumn Release

Organization: International Crane Foundation (AZA Member)
Location: Baraboo, Wisconsin, Country
Job or Internship: Internship


The International Crane Foundation (ICF) works worldwide to conserve cranes and the wetland, grassland, and other ecosystems on which they depend. ICF uses the charisma of cranes to bring diverse people together to solve problems of significance for wildlife and people. ICF’s conservation activities include protecting important crane habitats by establishing or strengthening protected areas, securing freshwater inflows through sustainable water management practices, restoring damaged ecosystems, reintroducing rare crane populations, linking poverty alleviation with conservation, and working with local landowners or communities on issues such as solving crop damage problems. ICF’s headquarters are based in Baraboo, Wisconsin, where our educational programs feature live bird displays for all 15 species of cranes. ICF maintains a captive flock of ~120 birds for display, breeding to support conservation programs, and reintroduction programs focusing on the endangered Whooping Crane.


ICF’s Lead Whooping Crane Chick Rearing Internship position is for the Direct Autumn Release Project. This position lasts 9 months; March thru November. The Lead Intern will receive intensive hands-on training in the care and management of endangered crane chicks, specifically whooping cranes for captivity and release. Additional duties will include organizing housing while in the field, tracking and monitoring released whooping cranes, data entry, leading the work of others, projects documenting chick development, food studies, updating chick weights and growth charts and end of year reports. The internship includes free shared housing and a stipend.


Lead Whooping Crane Chick Rearing Intern may help with all aspects of the captive flock and responsibilities will vary depending upon timing and number of chicks hatching. Daily cleaning, food & water provision and care for chicks comprises the majority of the chick-rearing duties. Other tasks assisting the Crane Conservation Department may include: video-monitoring of crane behavior, record keeping, speaking with the public, and adult crane care. Daily routine varies as the chicks grow and to adjust for moving to new locations. Expect to spend between 1- 8+ hours wearing a crane costume while exercising and socializing chicks. The rearing program starts at ICF in Baraboo, WI. The chick rearing staff and interns will relocate to one or two WI Wildlife Refuges in late summer or fall as the program dictates.

Working conditions:

The work week is five consecutive days, including holidays and weekends. Hours worked in a week will average 40-45 hours, but will vary based on seasonal duties and field conditions. Be prepared to work outdoors in all weather conditions that may occur in Wisconsin.

Shared housing with team members includes sharing a room in the guest house or farm house, and moving to comparable housing when relocated to working on the Refuge(s).

Required Qualifications:

• Two years of college or equivalent practical experience.

• Knowledge of or interest in bird conservation

• Good organizational skills.

• Good written and verbal communication skills.

• Ability to follow directions.

• Ability to work independently and as a team member.

• Ability to carry a 50 lb. feed bag and do hard physical labor.

• Ability to handle changing work conditions, tasks and schedules.

• Ability to work outdoors in diverse weather conditions.

• Ability to adjust to changing locations and housing.

• Valid driver’s license and acceptable driving record required.

• Commitment to work the required start and end dates of the 9 month assignment.

Preferred Qualifications:

• 4 year college degree is preferred.

• Tracking and/or captive management of animals.

• Basic CPR & First Aid certification.

Application Procedure:

Send cover letter and resume with 3 references to Chick Rearing Supervisor, International Crane Foundation, P.O. Box 447, Shady Lane Rd., Baraboo, WI 53913. If replying by email, send to Please include Lead Whooping Crane Chick Rearing Internship in the subject line. Applications accepted through February.