North American Crane Working Group


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DeRagon, W., W. Brown, G. Garber, and M. Richard. Sandhill crane mortality during fall migration stopover in north-central New Mexico, Fall 2001. 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. 3-6.


Reproduced by permission of the NACWG.


Seventy-three Rocky Mountain greater sandhill cranes died after being mired in mud at a traditional migration stopover site during a fall migration 2001. Drawdown of the Jemez Canyon Dam reservoir in New Mexico resulted in over 200 acres of deep saturated silt and clay into which sandhill cranes became entrapped. Harassment to discourage birds from landing in the area was implemented immediately and partially successful. Rescue efforts were delayed because of an inability to safely access the cranes in these conditions. After 9 days, the use of a specialized 20-horsepower motor mounted on a small aluminum boat was employed. Seventeen birds were rescued, and 14 were successfully treated and released. The rescue was a cooperative effort among Hawks Aloft, Inc., the Albuquerque Biological Park, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Reservoir managers and wildlife management organizations are encouraged to proactively prepare for the potential for a similar event.