North American Crane Working Group


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Littlefield, Carroll D., Cornely, John E., and Ehlers, Bradley D. Effects of an early spring burn on greater sandhill crane nesting success at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon. 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. 45-47.


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


A 2430 ha prescribed burn was conducted on Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Harney County, Oregon in March 1985. About 35 days later, 11 greater sandhill crane (Grus canadensis tabida) pairs nested within the burned area; 9 of these hatched. The remaining 2 clutches were destroyed by coyotes (Canis latrans). Crane hatching success was significantly higher (P = 0.01) on the burned area (81.8%) than elsewhere (38.5%). Two factors were likely responsible for the higher success rate in the burn; nests were placed in deeper water and the smaI1 mammal prey base was temporarily reduced or eliminated resulting in reduced predator activity during incubation. Although hatching success was high for the burned area, no young fledged, probably because of increased predator pressure by late May.