Movement of Whooping Cranes Tracked by Cellular Towers

This past summer in Wood Buffalo National Park, (WBNP), ten juvenile whooping cranes were trapped and fitted with solar-powered Cellular Tracking Platforms, (CTPs). Last month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Geological Survey biologists trapped and banded 7 more cranes on their wintering grounds at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, (ANWR).

The new CTPs worn by the banded cranes will collect precise location data every half-hour, resulting in 48 data points collected daily. When the bird is within range of a cellular tower, location data points are transmitted to biologists who will use the information to track migration routes, stopover locations, and habitat use on the breeding grounds at WBNP and wintering grounds at ANWR. Biologists will a have better understanding of what habitat the whooping cranes prefer. All this will help wildlife agencies, and landowners to better manage coastal prairies and wetlands for whooping cranes and other resident wildlife.

Whooping cranes

Photo by Kevin Sims ©2015

To read more about this project, CTPs, and the procedure for capturing and banding the whooping cranes in this project, click here.

 

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***** FOTWW’s mission is to help preserve and protect the Aransas/Wood Buffalo
population of wild whooping cranes and their habitat. *****
Friends of the Wild Whoopers is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization.

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Tom Stehn “Whooping Crane Science Advisor’

By Chester McConnell, FOTWW

Tom Stehn is now the “Whooping Crane Science Advisor” for Friends of the Wild Whoopers (FOTWW). Tom will provide answers to questions about Whooping Cranes posed by the interested public. Tom will also provide guidance to FOTWW concerning conservation, management and future needs of the Aransas-Wood Buffalo population of wild Whooping Cranes. The Aransas-Wood Buffalo Whooping Crane flock is the only self-sustaining wild population on earth.

Tom Stehn

Figure 1. Tom Stehn checking on Whooping Cranes.

A question and answer section “Ask Tom Stehn” has been established on FOTWW’s web page. Questions asked by anyone will be entertained on the web site in an effort to provide scientifically accurate information to the public. To go to the site click here.

Tom Stehn’s professional qualifications and experience with Whooping Cranes are well known in the scientific community. He is a world class Whooping Crane biologist. He retired from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2011.

Tom served as the refuge biologist at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge for 15 years and as the U.S. Coordinator of Whooping Crane Recovery Program for 14 years.  During these years he kept tabs on the only wild population of Whooping Cranes on earth, serving as the observer on weekly census flights.

Tom Stehn

Figure 2. Tom keeping watch over the Whoopers.

He served as a member of the Whooping Crane Recovery Team for 25 years.  He directed management and research efforts on the Whoopers, publishing 17 scientific articles.  Twice he helped radio-track the cranes between Texas and Canada, helped get erosion control mats installed along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, and served for many years as the burn boss at Aransas carrying out prescribed burns to promote upland whooping crane use.

In 2016, Tom was selected by the North American Crane Working Group as the 8th recipient of the Walkinshaw Award given for long-time contributions to crane research and conservation. He has received may other awards during his distinguished career.

Tom Stehn has always stood ready to help others who needed to tap into his knowledge base and sought his advice. Friends of the Wild Whoopers is pleased and honored that he is continuing his willingness to share his knowledge about Whooping Cranes.

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