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Monday, January 25 • 11:00am - 11:20am
Distribution, Migration Chronology, and Survival Estimate of Eastern Population Sandhill Crane

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AUTHORS: David L. Fronczak; US Fish and Wildlife Service; David E. Andersen*; US Geological Survey; Everett E. Hanna; Long Point Waterfowl; Thomas R. Cooper; US Fish and Wildlife Service

ABSTRACT: The Eastern Population (EP) of greater sandhill cranes Grus canadensis tabida (hereafter cranes) is rapidly expanding in size and geographic range. Little information exists regarding the geographic extent of breeding, migration, and wintering ranges of EP cranes, or migration chronology and use of staging areas. To address these information needs we trapped and deployed solar Global Positioning System (GPS) Platform Transmitting Terminals (PTTs) on 42 sandhill cranes from mid-December 2009 through January 2012, in known fall and winter concentration areas. On average, tagged cranes settled in summer areas late-March in Minnesota (7%), Wisconsin (42%), Michigan (26%), and Ontario, Canada (26%) and arrived at their winter terminus beginning mid-December in Indiana (15%), Kentucky (3%), Tennessee (45%), Georgia (5%), and Florida (32%). Cranes departed mid-February for spring migration to their respective summer areas on routes similar to those used during fall migration. Twenty-five marked cranes returned to the same summer area after a second spring migration. During the 2010-2012 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Cooperative Fall Abundance Survey for EP cranes, we estimated that approximately 29-31% PTT-marked cranes that summered in both Wisconsin and the Lower Peninsula of Michigan were not in areas included in the survey. We used resulting GPS monitoring data to estimate an annual survival rate of 0.95 for adult EP cranes. The information we collected on EP sandhill crane movements provides insight into distribution and migration chronology that will aid in assessment of the current USFWS fall survey. In addition, information on specific use sites can assist state and federal managers to identify and protect key staging and winter areas.

Monday January 25, 2016 11:00am - 11:20am EST