North American Crane Working Group


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Stehn, Thomas V. Pair formation by color-marked whooping cranes on the wintering grounds. 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. 24-28.


Used by permission of the North American Crane Working Group.


Observations were made of color-marked whooping cranes (Grus americana) at Aransas during the 1977-94 winters. Suhadult cranes wintered near their juvenile home ranges in flocks averaging 3.12 birds. One and 2 winters prior to nesting, subadults at Aransas tended to form duos apart from other subadults. Frequencies of association 1 year prior to nesting averaged 65.4%. However, 27.7 % of pair bonds (n = 18) formed during spring migration or on the breeding grounds without any observed prior association at Aransas. Sixty-eight banded cranes formed pairs. Pair members averaged 1.06 years difference in age. Winter territories of adults tended to be established near the juvenile home range of the male. Information on typical subadult behavior and pair formation at Aransas can be used to compare with pairing behavior in newly established whooping crane flocks.