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By Janet McConnaughey The Associated Press

These ‘eggs’ are spying on whooping cranes to boost survival

NEW ORLEANS — Scientists are using fake eggs to spy on whooping cranes in hopes of learning why some chicks die in the egg, while others hatch.

Data gathered by the spy eggs could help biologists in Louisiana and Canada preserve the endangered long-legged birds, which have made a tenuous rebound after dwindling almost to extinction in the 1940s.

Louisiana’s whooping crane comeback: 5 chicks this year

JEFFERSON DAVIS PARISH, La. — In a southwest Louisiana crawfish pond, two endangered whooping crane chicks peck about for crawfish, insects, plants and other food. They’re only 2 months old, but they dwarf the full-grown great egrets nearby. Their tall white parents bugle alarm at an ATV and people across the pond, and all four cranes move farther away.

New tarantula species named after singer Johnny Cash

A tarantula named after singer Johnny Cash is among 14 new species identified by scientists who spent a decade collecting the hairy spiders and studying nearly 3,000 of them.

The spider doesn’t sing, but it’s black and can be found near the California prison that was the setting of Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.”