Distribution and migration chronology of Eastern population sandhill cranes

Journal of Wildlife Management
By: , and 



The Eastern Population (EP) of greater sandhill cranes (Antigone canadensis tabida; cranes) is expanding in size and geographic range. Little information exists regarding the geographic extent of breeding, migration, and wintering ranges, migration chronology, or use of staging areas for cranes in the EP. To obtain these data, we attached solar global positioning system (GPS) platform transmitting terminals (PTTs) to 42 sandhill cranes and monitored daily locations from December 2009 through August 2014. On average, tagged cranes settled in summer areas during late‐March in Minnesota (7%), Wisconsin (29%), Michigan, USA (21%), and Ontario, Canada (38%) and arrived at their winter terminus beginning mid‐December in Indiana (15%), Kentucky (3%), Tennessee (45%), Georgia (5%), and Florida (32%). Cranes initiated spring migration beginning mid‐February 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, of which 19 (76%) settled <3 km from the estimated mean center of the summer area of the previous year. During the 2010–2012 United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Cooperative Fall Abundance Survey for cranes in the EP, we estimated that approximately 29–31% of cranes that summered in both Wisconsin and the Lower Peninsula of Michigan were not in areas included in the survey. The information we collected on 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 particularly during current and future recreational harvest seasons.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Distribution and migration chronology of Eastern population sandhill cranes
Series title Journal of Wildlife Management
DOI 10.1002/jwmg.21272
Volume 81
Issue 6
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Leetown
Description 12 p.
First page 1021
Last page 1032
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