North American Crane Working Group


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Folk, M.J., S.A. Nesbitt, J.M. Parker, M.G. Spalding, S.B. Baynes, and K.L. Candelora. Current status of nonmigratory whooping cranes in Florida. 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. 7-12.


Reproduced by permission of the North American Crane Working Group.


Two hundred eighty-nine nonmigratory whooping cranes (Grus americana) were released in Central Florida from 1993-2005. As of January 2006, we had monitored 50 birds (16 pairs) but suspect 10 others had also survived, for a population estimate of 60 birds. The sex ratio for monitored birds was 1:1. From 47 nest attempts (1999-2005), only 4 chicks have fledged and survived to independence. Efforts are underway to determine why recruitment has been lower than expected. Other challenges for the project have included birds colliding with power lines, dispersing beyond their normal range (beyond Florida), forming pair bonds with Florida sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis pratensis), and venturing into urban settings. Birds were translocated in order to help solve the latter 2 problems. Of 9 translocations, 3 resulted in new long-term pair bonds.