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Field Use by Staging Eastern Greater Sandhill Cranes

James R. Lovvorn and Charles M. Kirkpatrick
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 46, No. 1 (Jan., 1982), pp. 99-108
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3808412
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3808412
Page Count: 10
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Field Use by Staging Eastern Greater Sandhill Cranes
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Abstract

Factors influencing field selection by migrant greater sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis tabida) were studied at the Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area in northwestern Indiana. Factors considered were weather, cover type, proximity to roosts and the refuge, disturbance, and site fidelity. In fall, distances flown to fields were reduced during strong winds, but were unaffected by other weather elements. Fall migrants preferred corn stubble and avoided soybeans, winter wheat, and fallow-pasture areas. Cranes apparently responded to greater human disturbance in fall by minimizing distances to the refuge and by returning repeatedly to the same undisturbed fields. Fall site fidelity extended from year to year. In spring, cranes concentrated in larger flocks during high winds, but distances flown were unaffected by weather. Spring migrants avoided fall-plowed corn and soybeans, preferring unplowed corn stubble and, unlike in fall, showing marked preference for fallow-pasture areas. With decreased disturbance in spring, distance from refuge and site fidelity within and between years were far less significant than in fall, and distance of fields from roosts assumed primary importance.

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