Date of this Version
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NORTH AMERICAN CRANE WORKSHOP 14:120-125
Wintering whooping cranes (Grus americana) in the Aransas-Wood Buffalo Population have a restricted range along coastal Texas, and they rely on coastal salt marshes and tidal ponds for feeding and roosting habitat as well as upland freshwater ponds for dietary drinking water during drought periods. These upland ponds were used extensively by wintering whooping cranes during a multi-year drought (2011-2014), and use terminated when frequent localized rainfall events occurred across the wintering range. Despite optimum bay salinities that occurred during this study (February-March 2016) in a 6-week winter period, whooping cranes continued to use at least 1 of the 3 upland ponds when tidal pond salinities were >23 ppt, suggesting that need for dietary water is influenced by tidal pond salinities rather than bay salinities.