USGS USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center


USGS Patuxent Crane Facilities Repaired with a Little Help from Their Friends

This picture story is just a sampling of the extensive work that was done by so many people to help the PWRC whooping crane program recover from the disasterous February snowstorm that damaged 105 of our 115 netted pens. Without the contributions of time, effort, and real physical labor from so many, the whooper breeding season would have been lost, not merely delayed. Everyone in the crane program wishes to express our most profound gratitude to all the folks who answered our call for assistance.

We received help from every department of the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, including biologists, statisticians, other researchers, technicians, facilities staff, administrative staff, IRM staff, volunteers and interns. We owe a debt of gratitude, also, to the USGS staff in Reston for easing the way for emergency purchases of netting and other equipment, and for helping with contractual assistance. We received a great deal of support from FWS Patuxent Research Refuge staff include refuge managers, refuge biologists, technicians, office staff, volunteers and interns. We want to thank in particular Refuge Manager Brad Knudsen who was extremely supportive, giving us his staff, and his own time, not to mention offering tools and equipment that was sorely needed. FWS staff from other refuges traveled to Patuxent to help us, giving us the benefit of their experience and labor, for which we are very grateful. And in particular, we would like to thank Patuxent's Center Director, Judd Howell, not only for his total support during this extremely difficult time, but for his presence, and his own contribution of labor to help us recover. Judd worked side by side with us every day that we were in the field, and that, more than anything, demonstrated to us his concern for the success of our program.

THANKS, EVERYONE!!

Working in the whooper's prime breeding complex, the Blue Series, USGS Patuxent Facility's Staff, (from left) Eric Lewis and Tom Collins stand on ladders repairing broken netting support cables while Robert Leffel, a FWS manager from another refuge (in uniform), prepares to assist, while discussing the repair job with USGS Patuxent Facility's Manager, Scott DeClemente who is holding the excess cable. Photo by USGS volunteer, Charles Robinson.

Working in the whooper's prime breeding complex, the Blue Series, USGS Patuxent Facility's Staff, (from left) Eric Lewis and Tom Collins stand on ladders repairing broken netting support cables while Robert Leffel, a FWS manager from another refuge (in uniform), prepares to assist, while discussing the repair job with USGS Patuxent Facility's Manager, Scott DeClemente who is holding the excess cable. Photo by USGS volunteer, Charles Robinson.

Crane technician Sharon Marroulis scans the ground of a Blue Series whooper pen with a metal detector to make sure no metal hardware has been accidently left behind during the pen repairs. Photo by USGS volunteer, Charles Robinson.

Crane technician Sharon Marroulis scans the ground of a Blue Series whooper pen with a metal detector to make sure no metal hardware has been accidently left behind during the pen repairs. Photo by USGS volunteer, Charles Robinson.

In another whooper breeding complex, the Silver Series, Crane Administrator John French (in light blue jacket lower right) supervises a large crew to help stretch the new netting over the pen. In the group are staff members from USGS, FWS, volunteers, biologists, technicians, facility workers, and administrators, including the Patuxent's Center Director. Photo by USGS, Glenn Olsen.

In another whooper breeding complex, the Silver Series, Crane Administrator John French (in light blue jacket lower right) supervises a large crew to help stretch the new netting over the pen. In the group are staff members from USGS, FWS, volunteers, biologists, technicians, facility workers, and administrators, including the Patuxent's Center Director. Photo by USGS, Glenn Olsen.

In the Silver Series, Crane Aviculturist Jonathan Male (from the right) directs a crew to stretch a net across a pen. In front of Jonathan is PWRC Center Director Judd Howell, followed by Facility staffer Eric Lewis, then Crane technicians Charlie Shaffer and Dan Sprague who are getting ready to hand the net to visiting FWS refuge manager Robert Leffel. Photo by USGS volunteer, Charles Robinson.

In the Silver Series, Crane Aviculturist Jonathan Male (from the right) directs a crew to stretch a net across a pen. In front of Jonathan is PWRC Center Director Judd Howell, followed by Facility staffer Eric Lewis, then Crane technicians Charlie Shaffer and Dan Sprague who are getting ready to hand the net to visiting FWS refuge manager Robert Leffel. Photo by USGS volunteer, Charles Robinson.

In the Silver Series, another large crew stretches the net to cover the large expanse of the pen.Photo by USGS, Glenn Olsen


In the Silver Series, another large crew stretches the net to cover the large expanse of the pen. Photo by USGS, Glenn Olsen.

Crane technician Charlie Shaffer (far left) and PWRC Center Director Judd Howell straighten out netting while visiting FWS refuge manager Robert Leffel on the ladder prepares to attach the corner ties. On the ground, USGS biologist Dan Day and Crane technician Brian Clauss discuss the next step in the project. Photo by USGS volunteer, Charles Robinson.

Crane technician Charlie Shaffer (far left) and PWRC Center Director Judd Howell straighten out netting while visiting FWS refuge manager Robert Leffel on the ladder prepares to attach the corner ties. On the ground, USGS biologist Dan Day and Crane technician Brian Clauss discuss the next step in the project. Photo by USGS volunteer, Charles Robinson.

Crane technicians, biologists, volunteers, facilities staff, and FWS staff work on ladders and on the ground to pull the nets taut across the pen. Nets had to be stretched several times over the course of a few days before they were adjusted properly. Photo by USGS volunteer, Charles Robinson.

Crane technicians, biologists, volunteers, facilities staff, and FWS staff work on ladders and on the ground to pull the nets taut across the pen. Nets had to be stretched several times over the course of a few days before they were adjusted properly. Photo by USGS volunteer, Charles Robinson.

Crane technicians, biologists, facilities staff, and others on the netting repair crew raise the center support pole. Photo by USGS volunteer, Charles Robinson.

Crane technicians, biologists, facilities staff, and others on the netting repair crew raise the center support pole. Photo by USGS volunteer, Charles Robinson.

The center support pole has a cable running through it at the top that is part of the netting support structure. The pole is raised, then slid into a sleeve cemented into the ground that holds it securely at the bottom. In this way, it's secured at top and bottom as it supports the net. Photo by USGS, Glenn Olsen

The center support pole has a cable running through it at the top that is part of the netting support structure. The pole is raised, then slid into a sleeve cemented into the ground that holds it securely at the bottom. In this way, it's secured at top and bottom as it supports the net. Photo by USGS, Glenn Olsen.

Another crew climbs ladders to stretch the netting over the sides. Crews changed daily as staffers from USGS, FWS, and other facilities, rearranged their personal work schedules and sometimes their free time to dedicate hours to crane pen repair. Photo by USGS, Glenn Olsen

Another crew climbs ladders to stretch the netting over the sides. Crews changed daily as staffers from USGS, FWS, and other facilities, rearranged their personal work schedules and sometimes their free time to dedicate hours to crane pen repair. Photo by USGS, Glenn Olsen.

Sometimes there is a free lunch! Everyone working on the pen repair crews were able to enjoy hot lunches and breakfast treats generously provided by the Centers' administrative staff. Special thanks goes to Marilyn Whitehead who organized breakfast, lunch, and break refreshments, with additional help from Sarah Bennett, Leslie Lammons, and Regina Lanning.

Sometimes there is a free lunch! Everyone working on the pen repair crews were able to enjoy hot lunches and breakfast treats generously provided by the Centers' administrative staff. Special thanks goes to Marilyn Whitehead who organized breakfast, lunch, and break refreshments, with additional help from Sarah Bennett, Leslie Lammons, and Regina Lanning.

Marilyn Whitehead and Regina Lanning, administrative staff from the Director's office, work in the crane crew's shop, transforming it from a generic government workroom into a trendy bistro serving breadfast goodies and hot lunches to the workers toiling in the frozen trenches of the Blue and Silver Series. Photo by USGS, Barb & Brian Clauss.

Marilyn Whitehead and Regina Lanning, administrative staff from the Director's office, work in the crane crew's shop, transforming it from a generic government workroom into a trendy bistro serving breadfast goodies and hot lunches to the workers toiling in the frozen trenches of the Blue and Silver Series. Photo by USGS, Barb & Brian Clauss.

Finally, it's moving day! Crane technician Barb Clauss carries a whooping crane from a temporary holding pen to a waiting truck. Photo by USGS, Kathleen O'Malley

Finally, it's moving day! Crane technician Barb Clauss carries a whooping crane from a temporary holding pen to a waiting truck. Photo by USGS, Kathleen O'Malley.

From left, crane technicians Dan Sprague, Robert Doyle, and Brian Clauss hold whooping cranes to transport them from their temporary holding pen in the Green Series to their own pens in the repaired Blue Series. (Barb Clauss is holding a forth bird, but is blocked by Dan.) The trip from one series to another is a short distance; the truck drives about five miles an hour over the unpaved roads inside the crane complex. Photo by USGS, Kathleen O'Malley

From left, crane technicians Dan Sprague, Robert Doyle, and Brian Clauss hold whooping cranes to transport them from their temporary holding pen in the Green Series to their own pens in the repaired Blue Series. (Barb Clauss is holding a fourth bird, but is blocked by Dan.) The trip from one series to another is a short distance; the truck drives about five miles an hour over the unpaved roads inside the crane complex. Photo by USGS, Kathleen O'Malley

Crane technician Sharon Marroulis precedes Barb and Robert, who are holding whooping cranes, into the pen. She's carrying the birds' gravity feeder, which she'll hang in the feed shed. Barb and Robert will release the birds once they're safely inside the newsly restored pen. Photo by USGS, Kathleen O'Malley

Crane technician Sharon Marroulis precedes Barb and Robert, who are holding whooping cranes, into the pen. She's carrying the birds' gravity feeder, which she'll hang in the feed shed. Barb and Robert will release the birds once they're safely inside the newly restored pen. Photo by USGS, Kathleen O'Malley.

The whooping crane pair known as B-2 inspect their repaired home and seemed to find it acceptable. Photo by USGS, Kathleen O'Malley

The whooping crane pair known as B-2 inspect their repaired home and seemed to find it acceptable. Photo by USGS, Kathleen O'Malley.