North American Crane Working Group


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Mummert, Daniel P., Ellis, David H., and Chambers, Carol L. Fate of the survivors of the 1995 and 1996 Arizona trucking migrations of costume-reared greater sandhill cranes. 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. 127-131.


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


In 1995 and 1996, we trained 2 groups of costume-reared greater sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis tabida) (10 in 1995, 14 in 1996) to follow a truck. Thereafter we led 10 in 1995 and 12 in 1996 from Garland Prairie, northern Arizona, to the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, southern Arizona (ca. 620 km). These techniques were being developed to create additional, disjunct populations of the whooping crane (G. americana). The cranes taught the migration route in 1995 did not follow the desired migration route in 1996 but did travel north 140 km along the route in spring 1997. By the summer of 1997, we did not know the locations of any of these birds. Results were better for the 1996 trucking cranes. Between 1997 and 1999 there was a 92% (11 of 12) success rate for the 1996 trucking cranes with known locations flying unassisted from the summering to wintering grounds. Through 1999, 7 of the 12 cranes became lost on flights from the wintering to summering grounds. (Some of the trucking cranes apparently followed wild cranes to or toward breeding grounds.)