Seasonal movements and multiscale habitat selection of Whooping Crane (Grus americana) in natural and agricultural wetlands

Waterbirds
By: , and 

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Abstract

Eleven of 15 species of cranes (family: Gruidae) are considered vulnerable or endangered, and the increase of agriculture and aquaculture at the expense of natural wetlands and grasslands is a threat to Gruidae worldwide. A reintroduced population of Whooping Crane (Grus americana) was studied in coastal and agricultural wetlands of Louisiana and Texas, USA. The objectives were to compare Whooping Crane movements across seasons, quantify multiscale habitat selection, and identify seasonal shifts in selection. Whooping Cranes (n = 53) were tracked with satellite transmitters to estimate seasonal core-use areas (50% home range contours) via Brownian bridge movement models and assess habitat selection. Whooping Crane core-use areas (n = 283) ranged from 4.7 to 438.0 km2, and habitat selection changed seasonally as shallow water availability varied. Whooping Crane core-use areas were composed of more fresh marsh in spring/summer, but shifted towards rice and crawfish (Procambarus spp.) aquaculture in the fall/winter. Within core-use areas, aquaculture was most strongly selected, particularly in fall when fresh marsh became unsuitable. Overall, the shifting of Whooping Crane habitat selection over seasons is likely to require large, heterogeneous areas. Whooping Crane use of agricultural and natural wetlands may depend on spatio-temporal dynamics of water depth.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Seasonal movements and multiscale habitat selection of Whooping Crane (Grus americana) in natural and agricultural wetlands
Series title Waterbirds
DOI 10.1675/063.040.0404
Volume 40
Issue 4
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher The Waterbird Society
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Atlanta
Description 12 p.
First page 322
Last page 333
Country United States
State Louisiana