North American Crane Working Group


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Urbanek, R.P., S.E. Zimorski, A.M. Fasoli, and E.K. Szyszkoski. Nest desertion in a reintroduced population of migratory whooping cranes. In: Hartup, Barry K., ed., Proceedings of the Eleventh North American Crane Workshop, Sep 23-27, 2008, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin (Baraboo, WI: North American Crane Working Group, 2010), pp. 133-141.


Reproduced by permission of the North American Crane Working Group.


Reintroduction of an eastern migratory population of whooping cranes (Grus americana) into eastern North America began in 2001. Reproduction first occurred in 2005. Through 2008, eggs were produced in 22 first nests and 2 renests. All first nests failed–50% confirmed due to desertion by the parents and the remaining nest failures also consistent with the pattern of parental desertion. Nest failures were not related to stage of incubation, and they were often synchronous. Temperatures in winter and early spring affected timing of nest failure. An environmental factor such as harassment of incubating cranes by black flies (Simulium spp.) may be responsible for widespread nest desertion.