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 birds, which have made a tenuous rebound after dwindling almost to extinction in the 1940s.
Biologists swap egg-shaped data loggers for one of the two eggs that many cranes lay. The real eggs are incubated until they're nearly ready to hatch.
Then biologists return the real eggs to their home nests in southwest Louisiana and take back the fakes .
The data loggers transfer information to nearby computers. It's analyzed by crane experts in Canada.
Biologist Sara Zimorski says it will take years to get enough data for any conclusions.