Date of this Version
In the springs of 1989 and 1990, we collected 15 lesser sandhill cranes from native grasslands along the Platte River. Macroinvertebrates constituted 89% of the diet, whereas plants constituted 11%. Scarab beetles were the predominant macroinvertebrate food. Other foods included earthworms, snail shells, sedge tubers, ground beetles, and crane fly larvae. Cranes exhibited differential use patterns on the study area; they extensively used areas composed of wet meadow and lowland grassland, but minimally used areas composed entirely of lowland grassland. Macroinvertebrate numbers and biomass were significantly different between areas extensively used by cranes and areas minimally used. Recommendations for management of native grasslands for sandhill cranes are given.