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With age comes knowledge for whooping cranes

Cara J

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It’s not only people who can learn from their elders, but also whooping cranes that tend to follow older generations’ overwintering behaviors, according to new research. As part of a study published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers studied the migratory and overwintering patterns of 175 federally endangered whooping cranes (Grus americana) from the species’ eastern migratory population. Most of the cranes were released as part of efforts led by the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP) — a collaboration between non-profit organizations, government agencies and individuals — to reintroduce a whooping crane population into the wild beginning in 2001. In this population, some cranes migrate as far south as Florida while others get only as far as southern Indiana, according to Sarah Converse, a research ecologist with the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center and second author of the study. “There are really extraordinary differences in terms of winter distribution between this population and the remnant population that winters on the Gulf Coast of Texas,” said Converse, who is a TWS member. The researchers examined data collected from radio and satellite transmitters on birds that were released as part of WCEP’s reintroduction effort. Of these, some birds hatched at the Patuxent [...]


Read more: http://wildlife.org/with-age-comes-knowledge-for-whooping-cranes/

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