Date of this Version
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NORTH AMERICAN CRANE WORKSHOP 13:90-93
Whooping cranes (Grus americana) spend nearly half their annual cycle in coastal habitats within and around the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge Complex (ANWRC) located in the central portion of the Texas Coast. When drought conditions prevail in their winter range and salinities in the local bays exceed 23 parts per thousand (ppt), whooping cranes must seek alternate sources of dietary drinking water (Stehn 2008, Chavez- Ramirez and Wehtje 2012). They begin frequent (often daily) trips to freshwater sources in upland areas. These trips may result in extra energy expenditures that can impact their overall health and ability to store energy for spring migration (Canadian Wildlife Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2007). We opportunistically used game camera images obtained from a physiological research project (B. Hartup, unpublished data) to gain additional information on how whooping cranes used refuge-managed freshwater resources in relation to prevailing environmental conditions.