North American Crane Working Group


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Goroshko, O.A., J.E. Cornely, and S.H. Bouffard. Reduction of crop depredations by cranes at Daursky State Biosphere Reserve, Sibera. In: Folk, MJ and SA Nesbitt, eds. 2008. Proceedings of the Tenth North American Crane Workshop, Feb. 7-10, 2006, Zacatecas City, Zacatecas, Mexico: North American Crane Working Group. pp. 65-70.


Reproduced by permission of the North American Crane Working Group.


The Daursky State Biosphere Reserve (SBR) in southern Siberia includes the Torey Lakes, the largest lakes in the Trans-Baikal region. The Torey Lakes support tens of thousands of breeding waterbirds and about a million waterbirds during migration. Peak numbers of birds staging during fall coincide with grain harvest. Crop fields around the Torey Lakes attract 50,000 to 70,000 waterbirds, primarily cranes with lesser numbers of waterfowl, causing significant crop damage in fields near Daursky SBR. Investigations of the problem have been ongoing since 1992. Field consultation by Cornely and Bouffard in 2001 resulted in recommendations to reduce depredations. The consultation was initiated by The International Crane Foundation with funding from The Trust for Mutual Understanding, and with support from the Daursky State Biosphere Reserve and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Implementation of the recommendations resulted in a significant reduction of crop damage. Changes in management practices implemented included moving main grain fields 10-15 km from roost sites, cultivation of lure crops near roost sites, and leaving fallow fields uncultivated to facilitate the growth of green bristlegrass (Setaria viridis), a preferred food item of cranes. The program is currently supported by the cooperative farms without government subsidies, as the lure crop program costs about one tenth of the previous damage.