Imprinting is a survival strategy that occurs when a newly hatched bird sees another animal and then forms a strong attachment to it. Usually, it’s the baby’s mother, but sometimes it can be an inanimate object, such as a stick, or a different animal, such as a human.

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The most impressive demonstration of this has to be from Italian hang glider pilot Angelo d’Arrigo. He reared a flock of Siberian cranes under the wing of his hang glider, and then in 2003, guided them all the way from northern Siberia to the Caspian Sea in Iran; a journey of 5,500km.

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Asked by: Gary Simms, via email

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Authors

Helen Pilcher
Helen PilcherScience writer, presenter and performer.

Helen Pilcher is a tea-drinking, biscuit-nibbling science and comedy writer, with a PhD in cell biology.

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