North American Crane Working Group


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Duan, Wenrui, Theodore A. Bookhout, and Richard P. Urbanek. Home range and habitat use by isolation-reared sandhill cranes. In: Urbanek RP, Stahlecker DW, eds. 1997. Proceedings of the Seventh North American Crane Workshop, 1996 Jan 10-13, Biloxi, Mississippi. Grand Island, NE: North American Crane Working Group. pp. 72-78.


Used by permission of the North American Crane Working Group.


We isolation-reared, placed radio transmitters on, and released 38 greater sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis tabida) on Seney National Wildlife Refuge (Seney) in 1988-90 to develop procedures for initiating new populations of cranes. Here we report on habitat selection by breeding birds with functional radio transmitters. Home ranges established by 6 cranes in 1992, when they were 2 to 4 years old, averaged 199±50.8 (SE) ha (harmonic mean method, 75 % utilization) and were of 2 types: feeding grounds separated from nesting habitat and feeding grounds adjacent to nesting habitat. Home ranges consisted of 36% emergent palustrine wetlands, 28% forested upland, 11 % open upland, and 11 % forested palustrine; the remainder was scrub-shrub, upland shrub, bog, or open water. Four of 5 cranes monitored in 1993 nested-all in emergent palustrine wetlands, also the nesting habitat of wild sandhill cranes at Seney. Open field and mudflat were the major feeding habitats, as they were for wild cranes. Five of the 6 cranes did not use habitats in proportion to availability in the home range (X2 , P < 0.05). Three cranes significantly selected emergent palustrine wetlands and no crane avoided this habitat type; 2 cranes selected open upland, and no crane avoided this type; and 4 cranes avoided forested palustrine, and no crane preferentially selected this habitat type. The nesting areas of the 4 cranes in 1993 were the same areas they used in 1992, when they were paired but were not known to have nested. Feeding grounds changed according to their availability in the 2 years.