North American Crane Working Group


Date of this Version


Document Type



Littlefield, C.D. Impact of management changes at an autumn greater sandhill crane staging area in Oregon. 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. 47-52.


Reproduced by permission of the NACWG.


Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon was the most important autumn staging area for greater sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis tabida) in the northwest Pacific coastal states. During 1983-88, changes in management including increases in human disturbance and habitat alterations resulted in significant declines in autumn crane use. Compared with the period 1975-82, mean annual autumn crane peak numbers declined from 2,454 to 1,352, whereas mean biweekly numbers declined from 791 to 353. Management changes included roost site drying and flooding of a primary feeding area; disturbance factors included cattle herding through a loafing site and dump trucks traveling through a primary feeding area. Although Malheur was a traditional autumn staging area for greater sandhill cranes for at least 5 decades, management changes had contributed to greatly reduced use of the refuge staging area by 1988.