USGS
Patuxent Home

A REINTRODUCTION EXPERIMENT INVOLVING MATED PAIRS OF PARENT-REARED 
GREATER SANDHILL CRANES IN NORTHERN ARIZONA 

DANIEL P. MUMMERT, Northern Arizona University, School of Forestry, P.O. Box 15018, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, USA

DAVID H. ELLIS, USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, 11410 American Holly Drive, Laurel, MD 20708-4019, USA 

CAROL L. CHAMBERS, Northern Arizona University, School of Forestry, P.O. Box 15018, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, USA 

In April 1997, 4 mated pairs of adult greater sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis tabida) were abrupt- released at Mormon Lake, Arizona. Five of 8 adult cranes died within 10 days of release. One crane flew from the release area within 10 days after release and was never relocated. One pair of cranes, with 1 pair member sustaining a broken wing 4 days after release, survived for 4 months and demonstrated the importance of maintaining pair bonds after release. The cause of death of at least 5 birds was predation. The high mediate mortality and complete long-term mortality experienced in this pilot project suggests that adult cranes are poor candidates for release. These poor results encourage that, in future release attempts with mated pairs or other adult cranes, it is important to provide the cranes with roosting habitat while still in captivity and to hold the cranes in an acclimation pen at the release site for several clays prior to release. 

PROCEEDINGS NORTH AMERICAN CRANE WORKSHOP 8:155-159 

Key words: abrupt release, Grus canadensis, parent-rearing, reintroduction, sandhill crane.

Return to Table of Contents