North American Crane Working Group


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Mummert, Daniel P., Ellis, David H., and Chambers, Carol L. A reintroduction experiment involving mated pairs of parent-reared greater sandhill cranes in northern Arizona. In: Ellis, David H., ed., Proceedings of the Eighth North American Crane Workshop, 11–14 January 2000, Albuquerque, New Mexico (Seattle, Wash: North American Crane Working Group, 2001), pp. 155-159.


Reproduced by permission of the North American Crane Working Group (NACWG).


In April 1997, 4 mated pairs of adult greater sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis tabida) were abrupt-released at Monnon Lake, Arizona. Five of 8 adult cranes died within 10 days of release. One crane flew from the release area within 10 days after release and was never relocated. One pair of cranes, with 1 pair member sustaining a broken wing 4 days after release, survived for 4 months and demonstrated the importance of maintaining pair bonds after release. The cause of death of at least 5 birds was predation. The high immediate mortality and complete long-term mortality experienced in this pilot project suggests that adult cranes are poor candidates for release. These poor results encourage that, in future release attempts with mated pairs or other adult cranes, it is important to provide the cranes with roosting habitat while still in captivity and to hold the cranes in an acclimation pen at the release site for several days prior to release.