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PROCEEDINGS OF THE EIGHTH NORTH AMERICAN CRANE WORKSHOP

PREFACE 

This volume includes reports from the January 2000 conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, 2 papers not included in the previous proceedings, and a small number of invited papers intended to broaden the scope of the volume and to replace the few papers presented at the conference but withdrawn from publication. In serving as Editor, I wish, first of all, to express thanks to the many authors, reviewers, and associate editors, and to Gary Lingle who hosted the conference and was the intended Chief Editor: Gary underwent an employment change early in 2001 and so passed the task to me. I hope he is pleased with the final product. We also express our deep appreciation to Scott Hereford, President of the North American Crane Working Group, for his role in organizing and conducting the conference. Richard Urbanek also deserves special mention for his role in managing the review of one-third of the papers in these proceedings. Special thanks go to Cathy Ellis: she spent even more time than I in preparing the volume for publication. We appreciate Billi Wagner for use of her crane drawings to enhance the text. 

In my role, I have the opportunity to make mention of some remarkable people whose names seldom or never appear elsewhere in this volume. All 3 have made long-term, substantial contributions to crane husbandry. The first, Bruce Williams, came to Patuxent from the National Zoo in 1966. Very likely there was never an endangered species enclosure built at Patuxent without his input, and most of our facilities involved his labor and his supervision. Bruce is pictured on page 219 in the volume, Cranes: Their Biology, Husbandry, and Conservation (Crane Manual). As Bruce nears the end of a long and dynamic career, I convey the deep appreciation of myself and my colleagues and coworkers for all that he has accomplished. 

For the last 9 years, much of Bruce's administrative and husbandry responsibilities have fallen to Jonathan Male. Like Bruce, Jonathan came to Patuxent from the National Zoo. He also worked in Liberia, Africa for 2 years. Also, like Bruce, Jonathan prefers to work behind the scenes. He has repeatedly refused authorship on papers depending importantly on his work. Although Jonathan is not pictured in the Crane Manual, several of his photos are included there (pages 246-251). Jonathan constantly exemplifies cheerfulness, that trait so important in any employee or colleague. All at Patuxent offer him our thanks. 

Last of all, we focus on Scott Swengel who recently left the position of curator at the International Crane Foundation where he served for 19 years. Scott has been prominent in the international crane community, although he is so quiet and self effacing that only those who know him well realize his monumental worth. Scott has published often: he was senior author on 4 chapters in the Crane Manual and has published more than 40 other papers (mostly on owls, grassland birds, and butterflies). 

During a lifetime, you will very occasionally meet someone who personifies integrity. Scott is such an one. From our close association while working together describing the social behavior of the world's cranes (a task that for me would have been impossible without Scott's help), I noticed that his daily speech was without affectation, seemingly devoid of the exaggerations that typifies most mortals. Although his honesty and courage are the traits I most admire, you should also know that Scott may have the world's literature on cranes in his head: he can very often provide exact bibliographic citations at will. No surprise when you learn that he invented his own form of calculus when 14 years old (I scolded him that he owes it to the world to slow down and transcribe the process he follows in his head: perhaps his method is superior). He can also calculate the cube root of a 4 digit number to 3 decimal places in 20 seconds without touching pencil to paper. As Scott leaves full time involvement in crane husbandry and research, we express our gratitude for having walked in his shadow. 

In closing this introduction, I must mention that the papers presented herein reveal a quiet revolution as the recent advances in many fields of science and technology have been applied to crane conservation. Ten years ago, who would have forecast that today we would be reestablishing cranes to long lost migration routes by leading them with motorized craft. Little more than a decade ago, we saw the first avian experiments with satellite transmitters, each weighing hundreds of grams. Today satellite transmitters are smaller than the conventional transmitters used for cranes. And the list goes on: populations of cranes are today assessed by nighttime infrared photography; improved molecular genetics techniques will likely provide the key information in saving the whooping crane. This revolution would be of limited value if only a few species benefitted, but it is not difficult to forecast a time when airships will be used to train song birds of many species (all on the same flight) to return to rehabilitated forests in the Pacific Northwest and Central America and even South America. 

Yet for those without access to the high-tech, expensive toys, there are many questions, some the most important of all, awaiting the ardent naturalist or patient lab worker. How do we train cranes to avoid bobcats in Florida? How do we meet the habitat needs of migrant whooping cranes in new populations? Can we test for intelligence and predict survival? How do we meet disease challenges? Can we return the whooping crane to White Lake, Louisiana? With most of the world's cranes in danger of extinction, the list of projects yet needing attention surely is endless. 

David H. Ellis, November 2001, Oracle, Arizona 

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