Wright G.D.,Crane Trust |
Harner M.J.,Crane Trust |
Chambers J.D.,U.S. Army
Wilson Journal of Ornithology | Year: 2014
The last, self-sustaining population of Whooping Cranes (Grus americana), the Aransas-Wood Buffalo population, has overwintered almost exclusively along the Gulf Coast of Texas, USA, in and around the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge during recent decades. In late autumn and winter 2011-2012, Whooping Cranes were observed several hundred kilometers from coastal wintering grounds, with at least 13 Whooping Cranes in central Texas, south-central Kansas, and central Nebraska from November 2011 to early March 2012. Notably, family groups of Whooping Cranes were observed around a Texas reservoir, Granger Lake, over a 3-month period. An extreme drought, coupled with record warm temperatures in the southern and central United States, may have interacted to influence behaviors and distributions of Whooping Cranes during winter 2011-2012. Such observations suggest that Whooping Cranes may be more opportunistic in use of wintering habitat and/or more likely to re-colonize inland historical sites than previously thought. Continued documentation of Whooping Cranes overwintering in areas other than the Texas coast and/or altering timing of migration will be important for protection and management of additional winter habitat as well as for informing population estimates for the Aransas-Wood Buffalo Population of Whooping Cranes. © Copyright 2014 by the Wilson Ornithological Society.
Anthony D.,University of Nebraska - Lincoln |
Bennett Jr. W.P.,University of Nebraska - Lincoln |
Vuran M.C.,University of Nebraska - Lincoln |
Dwyer M.B.,University of Nebraska - Lincoln |
And 4 more authors.
IPSN'12 - Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Information Processing in Sensor Networks | Year: 2012
This paper presents CraneTracker, a novel sensor platform for monitoring migratory birds. The platform is designed to monitor Whooping Cranes, an endangered species that conducts an annual migration of 4,000 km between southern Texas and north-central Canada. CraneTracker includes a rich set of sensors, a multi-modal radio, and power control circuitry for sustainable, continental-scale information delivery during migration. The need for large-scale connectivity motivates the use of cellular technology in low-cost sensor platforms augmented by a low-power transceiver for ad-hoc connectivity. This platform leads to a new class of cellular sensor networks (CSNs) for time-critical and mobile sensing applications. The CraneTracker is evaluated via field tests on Wild Turkeys, Siberian Cranes, and an on-going alpha deployment with wild Sandhill Cranes. Experimental evaluations demonstrate the potential of energy-harvesting CSNs for wildlife monitoring in large geographical areas, and reveal important insights into the movements and behaviors of migratory animals. In addition to benefiting ecological research, the developed platform is expected to extend the application domain of sensor networks and enable future research applications. © 2012 ACM.
Felipe C.-R.,Gulf |
Wehtje W.,Crane Trust
Wetlands | Year: 2012
Whooping crane (Grus americana), a rare and critically endangered species, are wetland dependent throughout their life cycle. The whooping crane's small population size, limited distribution, and wetland habitat requirements make them vulnerable to potential climate changes. Climate change predictions suggest overall temperature increases and significant changes in precipitation regimes throughout North America. At the individual level, temperature changes should have neutral to positive effects on thermoregulation and overall energy expenditure throughout the whooping crane's range. In the breeding grounds, earlier snow melt and increasing temperatures should improve food resources. However, increased precipitation and more extreme rainfall events could impact chick survival if rainfall occurs during hatching. Increased precipitation may also alter fire regimes leading to increased woody plant abundance thus reducing nesting habitat quality. During winter, higher temperatures will lead to a northward shifting of the freeze line, which will decrease habitat quality via invasion of black mangrove. Large portions of current winter habitat may be lost if predicted sea level changes occur. Stopover wetland availability during migration may decrease due to drier conditions in the Great Plains. Current and future conservation actions should be planned in light of not only current needs but also considering future expectations. © Society of Wetland Scientists 2011.
Harner M.J.,Crane Trust |
Wright G.D.,Crane Trust |
Geluso K.,University of Nebraska at Kearney
Wilson Journal of Ornithology | Year: 2015
Over half a million Sandhill Cranes (Grus canadensis) migrate through Nebraska, USA, each autumn and spring, but only a few cranes have been reported in Nebraska during winter. In early winter of 2011, however, an estimated 4,000-5,000 Sandhill Cranes were observed in south-central Nebraska along the Platte River. At that time, we initiated a study to search for and document Sandhill Cranes within the Platte River Valley across three winters and relate winter crane observations for the recent period to historical late autumn, winter, and early spring sightings in Nebraska documented by citizen observers for a century. We observed thousands of Sandhill Cranes along the Platte River in winters 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, but none in 2013-2014. Winters 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 were notable for a combination of mild conditions in Nebraska coupled with severe to exceptional drought in the southern United States and northern Mexico at traditional wintering areas for cranes. Analysis of historical observations indicates such large numbers of Sandhill Cranes have not been documented previously during winter in Nebraska, with the exception of 5,000 cranes near Grand Island, Nebraska, on 15 December 1990 that were not reported again following an arctic blast 2-3 days after the sighting. Reported dates of first spring arrivals have shifted over time, with Sandhill Cranes returning progressively earlier in spring in more recent years. If Sandhill Cranes continue to overwinter and/or arrive earlier in spring, there may be consequences for inter-species interactions with migratory waterfowl, such as competition for waste grains or transmission of disease, within the Platte River Valley, as well as for the timing of habitat-management activities. Ongoing monitoring of cranes during winter and early spring will track these patterns to better inform managers of habitat and food resources to help meet the species' needs. © 2015 The Wilson Ornithological Society.