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Habitat use by migrant sandhill cranes in Nebraska

January 1, 1984

The principal spring staging areas of the midcontinent population of sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis) are along the Platte and North Platte rivers in south-central Nebraska. Most of these lands are privately owned and managed for corn and cattle production. Diurnal habitat use by radio-tagged cranes was primarily in cropland (55%), native grassland (28%), and tame hayland (15%). Ninety-nine percent of the cropland use was in cornfields; 55% as grazed stubble, 36% as disced, cultivated, and plowed stubble, 7% as ungrazed stubble, and 1% unclassified. Grazed pastures accounted for 93% of the grassland locations and mowed alfalfa fields 77% of the tame hayland locations. Other habitats were seldom used. Time budget analyses indicated that cranes, while in croplands, grasslands, and haylands, spent 35, 36, and 50% of the time foraging, respectively. Cranes roosted in the shallows and on nearby sandbars of about 111 km of river channel. Cranes usually roosted where the channel was at least 150 m wide and avoided stretches narrower than 50 m. Height of woody vegetation along shorelines and on islands influenced where cranes roosted when unobstructed channel width was less than 150 m; bridges or roads adjacent to the channel also reduced use by about half. Management recommendations are made for maintaining suitable habitat for sandhill cranes on their staging areas in Nebraska.

Publication Year 1984
Title Habitat use by migrant sandhill cranes in Nebraska
Authors G.L. Krapu, D.E. Facey, E. K. Fritzell, D. H. Johnson
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Wildlife Management
Index ID 1001561
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center