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Greetings all,

The following report is forwarded with permission from Tom Stehn, USFWS biologist and US Whooping Crane Coordinator.

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See below the email from Mark Bidwell, Whooping Crane Coordinator for CWS.
A record 75 nests were found on May surveys, surpassing by one the 74 nests found last year.

Habitat conditions looked good, so hopes are high to have a good production season and an increase for the flock in 2011.  
With luck, a record 300 whooping cranes could make it to Aransas this fall!

Tom Stehn
 
----- Forwarded by Tom Stehn/R2/FWS/DOI on 06/08/2011 09:50 AM -----

Hello,

Just a quick note to let you know that Kathy St. Laurent (CWS-Ontario) and I completed this year's survey of nesting whooping cranes in and around Wood Buffalo National Park (WBNP) last week. We conducted the survey in close cooperation with Parks Canada (PCA) and were accompanied on one day by John McKinnon (PCA) who will also assist during the August survey. All in all, we flew 17.7 hours in a Bell 206 helicopter and 7.1 hours in a Cessna 210 fixed wing. In addition to surveying the usual nesting territories, we did some reconnaissance work in areas identified as potential habitat but that hadn't been searched recently.

We're pleased to report that we detected a record 75 nests, including a few in areas apparently being colonized by new nesting pairs. We made a number of changes, on scientific and safety grounds, to the way the survey is conducted so were happy to have good results despite the changes. We'll revisit the nesting territories in August to assess productivity, and with colleagues from USGS, USFWS and ICF to mark an additional 10 to 12 birds as part of the ongoing telemetry study that aims to better understand the ecology of, and threats faced by, the Aransas-Wood Buffalo population.

I appreciate the support for this year's survey from CWS and Parks Canada, and hope to build on this cooperation in the coming months and years. Many thanks to Kathy St. Laurent and John McKinnon, and especially to Dave Duncan, Mark Wayland, Lesley Dunn, and Stu MacMillan who made their participation in this year's survey possible.

Best regards, Mark

Mark Bidwell
Species at Risk Biologist | Biologiste
des espèces en péril
Canadian Wildlife Service | Service canadien de la faune
Prairie & Northern Region
| Région des Prairies et du Nord
Environment Canada | Environnement Canada
115 Perimeter Road, Saskatoon, SK S7N 0X4
mark.bidwell@ec.gc.ca

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Tom Stehn, Whooping Crane Coordinator
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Aransas NWR
P.O. Box 100
Austwell, TX 77950
(361) 286-3559 Ext. 221
fax (361) 286-3722
E:mail:  tom_stehn@fws.gov

Where applicable, CWS stands for Canadian Wildlife Service; USFWS is US Fish and Wildlife Service. Crane monitoring involves cooperative efforts and support by both countries, plus many volunteers and non-profit organizations along the way.