Nocturnal roosting behavior of sandhill cranes on the Central Platte River, Nebraska

The central Platte River Valley in south-central Nebraska attracts about 450,000 sandhill cranes each spring, forming the principal spring staging area for the midcontinental population. Cranes feed on lands adjacent to the river to acquire fat reserves and other nutrients needed for migration to their breeding grounds (from Siberia to the Canadian Arctic) and for reproduction. At night, the cranes roost in the braided channel of the river, preferring to stand in shallow, slow-moving water, far from potential sources of disturbance. Spring water flows in the central Platte River have been drastically reduced in recent decades as a result of upstream dams that supply water for irrigation. Limited water flows and the encroachment of woody vegetation have greatly reduced the availability of suitable roosting habitat. This has prompted management concerns (e.g., from the U.S. Fish and W [see Narratives for more information.]

Principal Investigator(s):

Pamela J Pietz

Project Status:

In Progress

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