Date of this Version
Urbanek, Richard P., and Theodore A. Bookhout. "Development of an Isolation-Rearing/Gentle Release Procedure for Reintroducing Migratory Cranes.", In: Stahlecker D. W., ed. 1992. Proceedings of the Sixth North American Crane Workshop, Oct. 3-5, 1991, Regina, Sask. (Grand Island, NE.: North American Crane Working Group, 1992), 120-130.
During 1988 -90, in an effort to develop a reintroduction technique for the whooping crane (Grus americana), we reared 38 greater sandhill crane chicks (G. canadensis tabida) in isolation from humans and gentle-released them on Seney National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Chicks were reared in the field with a puppet/costume technique. After chicks completed acclimation to wild conditions in a release pen, we induced them to migrate by breaking their flock into small groups, translocating some groups, and using guide birds. Solutions to migration initiation problems encountered in 1988-89 were developed and then successfully tested on an additional cohort in 1990. For 38 chicks released in 1988-90, minimum survival, 1 year after release, was 84%, minimum return rate to Upper Michigan was 74%, and estimated return rate was 97 %. Return rates were similar for males and females.