by Friends of the Wild Whoopers
Twenty-three Whooping Crane fledgling chicks were observed on Wood Buffalo National Park nesting grounds during a survey on August 7-11, 2015 according to Stuart MacMillan, Manager, Parks Canada, WBNP. The survey was conducted by staff from Wood Buffalo National Park (WBNP) and the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS).
According to MacMillan, “During the five days of surveying the team observed a total of 179 cranes. The 23 fledglings were found in 23 family groups. No families with 2 chicks were observed this year.”
In addition to the family groups with fledglings, the surveyors observed 1 group of three, 50 groups of two, and 7 individual Whooping Cranes.
Data from the survey are used to document the breeding success of the Whooping Crane population.
Preliminary analysis shows that the number of young fledged per nest is 0.34, similar to last year’s rate of 0.39 and within the normal range of variation.
MacMillan explained that “During the 2015 nesting period it was an exceptionally dry year in the region. Ponds in the nesting area were noticeably dryer, but what impact this may have had on crane productivity is not yet known.”
According to WBNP/CWS data base, in 2014, 32 chicks were produced from 82 nests for a breeding success rate of .39 fledged young per nest.
“During the 2014 Survey, a total of 202 cranes were observed. The survey team counted 32 fledglings in 30 family groups (28 families with one chick and 2 families with two chicks), 6 groups of three, 43 groups of two, and 6 individual cranes” according to WBNP officials.
MacMillan pointed out that: “Knowing annual breeding success allows Parks Canada, the Canadian Wildlife Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other partners to effectively manage issues related to the cranes recovery. By counting the number of fledgling chicks, we gain important insights into the health of the nesting flock, and contributes greatly to our ongoing stewardship of the species.”
***** FOTWW’s mission is to help preserve and protect the Aransas/Wood Buffalo
population of wild whooping cranes and their habitat. *****
Friends of the Wild Whoopers is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization.