FLORIDA NON-MIGRATORY POPULATION

Marty Folk, with Avian Research for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission provides the latest news on the Florida non-migratory population of Whooping cranes.

So far they have had one chick hatch from one nest (now about 11 days old) and have another nest that is currently active.

Marty said, “We have five other pairs in the population, but low water levels may prevent them from nesting. Drought conditions, which have plagued Florida for about the last 13 years, continue. This year we are wrapping up our study of nesting in both Whooping cranes and Florida Sandhill cranes, collecting considerable data on all aspects of nesting, but with a focus on behavior of the birds during incubation. It is an exciting study and we are making some interesting discoveries.”

For the first time, a data logger was successfully introduced to a Whooping crane nest. The device allows remote monitoring and avoids the negative effects of repeated nest checks. The pre-programmed instrument is used to detect such things as temperature change, giving researchers an indication of when the parent is on/off the nest. Such valuable information collected by Florida’s researchers can be used to inform the scientists and biologists involved in other Whooping crane projects through analysis of the data collected throughout the nesting cycle.

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