North American Crane Working Group


Date of this Version


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Folk, M.J., S.A. Nesbitt, S.T. Schwikert, J.A. Schmidt, K.A. Sullivan, T.J. Miller, S.B. Baynes, and J.M. Parker. Breeding biology of re-introduced non-migratory whooping cranes in Florida. In Chavez-Ramirez, F, ed. 2005. Proceedings of the Ninth North American Crane Workshop, Jan 17-20, 2003. Sacramento, California: North American Crane Working Group. Pp. 105-110.


Reproduced by permission of the NACWG.


In the face of record-setting drought, the re-introduced flock of non-migratory whooping cranes in Florida has shown slow but steady progress toward achieving the first natural recruitment to the flock. Fourteen nests were initiated between 1999 and 2002. Two clutches have hatched a total of 4 chicks and 1 chick was raised to fledging. Captive-raised, soft-released whooping cranes have shown that they are capable of forming pair bonds, defending territories, building nests, laying fertile eggs, and hatching and rearing young. The key to the success of the project will be to have enough pairs producing enough young to offset annual flock mortality.