Moderately dense stands of emergent vegetation (cattails, sedges, phragmites, and bulrush) that can conceal the nest are important. “Sandhill Cranes in Morrison County.”, Henderson, Carroll L. 2016. Swanson, Evadene B. Survey-wide, since 1966 cranes have demonstrated a statistically significant annual increase of 4.74% per year; since 2005 the rate of increase has been even steeper, at 7.23% per year (Sauer et al. Sixteen states offer crane hunting: Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, Montana, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Idaho, Minnesota, Arizona, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alaska, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota. 2 vols. The Sandhill Crane Natural Area is comprised of 533 acres of biologically significant lands which are unique to the Twin Cities metropolitan region and also notable to the state of Minnesota. “Sandhill Cranes at the Carlos Avery Wildlife Area.”, Magnus, Lester T. 1955. These conditions combined with the species’ low annual productivity and delayed sexual maturity slowed the pace of recovery. 2014. 1.6 [For text of subpart 1, see Minnesota Rules] 1.7 Subp. “Conservation Status of North American Birds in the Face of Future Climate Change.” PLoS One 10: e0135350. In Wisconsin, a 1973 study estimated a statewide population of only 850 adults distributed across 31 counties. As the crane population continues to expand, prevalence and severity of damage, and increased demand for depredation control should be expected. The cost to replant one acre due to crane depredation will exceed the total cost to treat a forty-acre field. 2006). The expanding populations witnessed in the latter half of the 20th century have continued to grow both in distribution and abundance. Although permitted under the eastern population plan, at present hunting is not open on Minnesota’s portion of the eastern population. “Possible Sandhill Crane Breeding.”, Drewien, Rod C., Carroll D. Littlefield, Lawrence H. Walkinshaw, and C. E. Brown. Minnesotans will be able to hunt sandhill cranes this fall for the first time. Special to the Times. Roberts (1932) described them as “much reduced in numbers and nesting only locally in a few places.”. This amount of inactivity could bring challenges of its own. Sandhill Crane Hunt In Minnesota July 22, 2010 Well, I guess I better keep my lower back covered in orange this fall: The Minnesota DNR announced that after 94 years they are reopening a hunting season on sandhill cranes this fall . Only a handful of accounts pertain to the species’ breeding status in the state. A recent modeling exercise by National Audubon predicted that climate change could have a significant impact on the crane’s coastal wintering habitats, of which 58% are predicted to be lost by the year 2080 (Langham et al. Therefore, regardless of scale, treatment of seed is a cost-effective means of mitigating spring losses of a corn crop to cranes. As of 1998, Hertzel and Janssen had delineated 18 counties where nesting had been confirmed since 1970, ranging from Houston County in the southeast corner to Kittson County in the far northwest. Since the surveys began, the number of cranes seen statewide has averaged 10 birds per 160 km. 2015). In 2006 through 2009 the United States Environmental Protection Agency granted temporary approval for the use of the non-lethal crane repellant Avipel®, formerly known as Avitec™, and applications for long-term use of Avipel® are being pursued for future planting seasons. In central and east-central Minnesota, nesting habitat consists of lowland emergent marshes and meadows dominated by sedges and grasses, often with stands of phragmites, cattails, bulrush, and wild rice occurring in deeper water in larger basins. In Minnesota, the crane was officially listed as a state Special Concern Species in 1984 (Coffin and Pfannmuller 1988), prompted largely by concerns regarding the availability of suitable habitat as agricultural practices continued to intensify and wetland acres continued to be drained. An inhabitant of open landscapes, the Sandhill Crane is most closely associated with large, isolated wetlands that are surrounded by shrublands, woodlands, grasslands, and agricultural fields (Figure 5). 1940. The North American Breeding Bird Survey, Results and Analysis 1966–2015. Although the cranes nearly disappeared from Minnesota at the turn of the century, visitors can now find these stately birds in a variety of locations in and around the refuge. It is unclear if this recent estimate represents a population decline or simply reflects more accurate survey estimates. It was unclear if the birds in this region of the state were remnants of the former population in the area or if they reflected an expansion of a breeding population from the Crex Meadows Wildlife Area in Grantsburg, Wisconsin (Henderson 1979b). In northwestern Minnesota, for example, Provost (1991) found birds nesting in wetlands as small as 0.6 ha and as large as 1,862 ha. They group together in great numbers, filling the air with distinctive rolling cries. 1.1 Department of Natural Resources 1.2 Adopted Expedited Emergency Game and Fish Rules: 2020 Hunting for Waterfowl 1.3 and Sandhill Crane; Game Refuges; Lac qui Parle WMA; and Feeding and Resting 1.4 Areas 1.5 6230.0100DEFINITIONS. The 2021 Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival has been canceled. 2008). As a result, when the Migratory Bird Treaty was first signed in 1916, hunting seasons were closed in both Canada and the United States. Joel Motylinski : Wayne Rasmussen : Sandhill Crane in wetlands of Sherburne Co Ecologically speaking, cranes employ a "slow" life-history strategy: they are long-lived, defer breeding for several years after fledging, exhibit very low reproductive rates and experience high annual survival. Once common, the sandhill crane was considered rare by 1900 and it has been estimated that only 10-25 pairs were nesting in Minnesota in the mid-1940's. Two sandhill cranes walk together through a marshy area Thursday, Aug. 13, near Common Goods thrift store in Baxter. 2010. These tall, gray-bodied, crimson-capped birds breed in open wetlands, fields, and prairies across North America. Habitat profile for the Sandhill Crane based on habitats within 200 m of point counts where the species was present during the Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas (2009-2013). Early records suggest that sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis) were common residents south and west of Minnesota's forested region until the mid-1870's. Minnesota Breeding Bird Distribution* Sandhill Cranes stand nearly 1.5 meters tall. Distances traveled depend on the origin of the breeding birds; Minnesota birds are short-distance migrants. Low shrub densities are preferred; as shrub density increases, sites become less suitable (Tacha and Tacha 1985). 1985. Seed correctly treated with the liquid form is the most effective for damage control with 100% aversion. More than 200 miles to the southeast, accounts were being reported from east-central Minnesota and from Morrison, Aitkin, and Anoka Counties (e.g., Grewe 1968; Angell 1961; Longley 1970). Printed and scanned version available at, Partners in Flight. Henderson, Carroll L. 1979b. If possible, plant crops other than corn within 1 mile of wet meadows and sedge wetlands; if this isn't possible, avoid planting corn directly adjacent to wetlands. 1975). Omnivorous and an opportunistic feeder that consumes a wide variety of plants and animals from the ground and shallow waters. Wires, Linda R., Stephen J. Lewis, Gregory J. Soulliere, Sumner W. Matteson, D. V. “Chip” Weseloh, Robert P. Russell, and Francesca J. Cuthbert. Landcover suitability of the Sandhill Crane in Minnesota based on habitat, landscape context, and climate data gathered during the Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas (2009-2013) using the MaxEnt modeling approach. Nonbreeding adults are found throughout the summer months in upland habitats, including hayfields, fallow fields, and small grain fields (Provost 1991). Link. Breeding distribution of the Sandhill Crane in Minnesota based on the Breeding Bird Atlas (2009 – 2013). Habitat data collected within 200 m of MNBBA point counts where Sandhill Cranes were detected demonstrate the species’ strong association with shrub wetlands, marshes and wet meadows, and upland grasslands (Figure 6). Widely distributed from Alaska, across Canada and the northern United States; small, nonmigratory populations also occur in southern Georgia, northern Florida, and Cuba. Forty-five years passed before numbers began to rebound, prompting the reinstatement of hunting opportunities in Saskatchewan in 1959, and in New Mexico, Texas, and Alaska in 1961. © 2021 Minnesota DNR | Equal opportunity employer |, Call 651-296-6157 or 888-MINNDNR (646-6367), Wildlife Damage Management Program material assistance, University of Minnesota Extension Service tips. As the population expanded and interest in initiating a hunting season in northwestern Minnesota grew, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources added cranes to their annual August roadside pheasant survey in 2009. Bill Reynolds : Here is a Sandhill Crane in my backyard. Everyone knows birds head south for the winter. Once rare, the sandhill crane is now common in Minnesota. “Distribution, Migration Chronology, and Survival Rates of Eastern Population Sandhill Cranes.” MS thesis, University of Minnesota. By the middle of October, the refuge hosts thousands of cranes as they roost at night in refuge wetlands, and then fly out to area croplands to forage during the day. Cranes will still be observed foraging for waste grain and larval insects (particularly beetle larvae) in treated fields but will not probe for corn. 2010). North American Breeding Distribution and Relative Abundance:,,,,,,,,,, Bremer, Paul E. 1966. Adults have red crown. To date, field biologists with the Minnesota Biological Survey have reported 633 Sandhill Crane breeding season locations distributed across northern Minnesota and including small pockets in the southeast region. 2017). In addition, hunters can pursue sandhill cranes in portions of Mexico, and Manitoba and Saskatchewan. However, hazing is essentially the only practical option for growers in emergency situations. “Record Flight of Sandhill Cranes.”. Fronczak, David L. 2014. “Sandhill Crane Nest Habitat Selection and Factors Affecting Nest Success in Northwestern Minnesota.” In Proceedings of the Tenth North American Crane Workshop, Feb. 7-10, 2006, Zacatecas City, Zacatecas, Mexico, edited by Martin J. 2015. Regionally, the greatest numbers are seen in the east-central survey region (average of 40 birds per 160 km), followed by the northwest region (average 25 birds per 160 km; Davros 2015). Citation: Dubovsky, J.A. Breeding population trend for the Sandhill Crane in Minnesota for 1967–2015 based on the federal Breeding Bird Survey (Sauer et al. The landcover suitability model prepared for the Sandhill Crane predicts the species’ high abundance in central and northwestern Minnesota east of the intensely cultivated lands of the Red River valley (Figure 4). Despite the lack of nesting evidence, a few observers commented on the species’ abundance during the breeding season, including in central Minnesota, in the vicinity of Heron Lake in Jackson County, and throughout the Red River valley. Once a limited Sandhill Crane harvest season was launched in the fall of 2010 in northwestern Minnesota, the department also initiated a far more intensive regional survey to properly track potential impacts of the harvest on the local breeding population (Lawrence et al. Recently, state and federal agencies have conducted surveys that provided more precise estimates, resulting in an estimate of 507,000 individuals (Gerber et al. Indeed, their numbers have continued to flourish in the Floodwood region of central St. Louis County, where a landscape matrix of large peatlands interspersed with forests and small farms provides ideal habitat. Although one study demonstrated that birds were not found on sites where the water was deeper than 35.7 cm in northwestern Minnesota, depredation occurred significantly more often when nests were placed on sites where the water was less than 9.7 cm deep (Maxson et al. These include variability in the arrival of resident nonbreeding birds and variable habitat conditions from year to year. Description. Indeed, northwestern and east-central Minnesota now support some of the densest breeding concentrations seen across North America (Figure 1). Hunting cranes, for example, is a long-established tradition and one that nearly brought the species to its demise. Therefore, it's not surprising that rapid human expansion in the 1880's and settlement of Minnesota's prairie region resulted in the extirpation of cranes in much of their former range. 2008). Longley, William H. 1970. 2011. What I find amazing in the case of my Sandhill Cranes is that the female and male take turns incubating. “Biology of Sandhill Cranes on Breeding and Fall Staging Areas in Northwestern Minnesota.” MS thesis, University of Minnesota., North American Waterbird Conservation Plan. Shallow water depths allow easier access to nests by mammalian predators. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said the sandhill crane season will begin Sept. 4 … Cranes generally return to their breeding areas from late-March through mid-April, and depart on their fall migration in early-September through mid-November. In the interim, we can marvel at the remarkable recovery that Sandhill Cranes have made in the state and work to ensure that their future remains bright. By 1944, Walkinshaw (1949) estimated that only 10 to 25 nesting pairs remained in the wetlands and grasslands of Minnesota’s remote northwestern counties. During the summers of 1994 and 1995, the birds made their first appearance on Minnesota’s federal Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) routes in St. Louis County (#35 and #73). Do the following if cranes are observed on site during 2 week seedling emergence period: Use multiple propane exploders, move daily and set to explode at random intervals. “Conservation Committee Report on Status of Sandhill Cranes.”. Birds in eastern Minnesota migrate southeast to Georgia and Florida; birds in northwestern Minnesota migrate south to the Gulf coast of Texas. Nevertheless, adjustments to the hunting season continue to be made to insure that the harvest is primarily focused on migrants and that the local breeding population is managed sustainably. Summary statistics for the Sandhill Crane observations by breeding status category for all blocks and priority blocks (each 5 km x 5 km) surveyed during the Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas (2009-2013). Despite their overall variability, suitable breeding areas always contain four primary elements: water, nesting cover, isolation, and a nearby foraging area (Provost 1991). ... Minnesota, and Quebec. Found in several scattered areas of North America, Sandhill Cranes reach their peak abundance at migratory stopover points on the Great Plains. The federal BBS continues to provide a reliable indicator of long-term population trends across North America as well as in Minnesota. Growers in Minnesota can also reach Dr. Eileen Cullen (UW-Extension) for more information on the use of Avipel® at (608) 261-1507. Gray body, sometimes with intense rusty staining. Various measures have been utilized to reduce agricultural damage with limited success. Studies are now underway to examine these populations more closely. Snappy wingbeats. Officially listed as a Special Concern Species in Minnesota in 1984 but delisted in 1996. Powder treatment is more variable, particularly if other slicking agents are used during planting, but can be expected to reduce damage by 50-70%. Sandhill Crane breeding ground survey results in northwestern Minnesota, 2012–2016 (Lawrence et al. “Status, Production and Migration of Greater Sandhill Cranes on Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge, Minnesota.” In Proceedings 1988 North American Crane Workshop edited by Don A. Banded Gand’r Outfitters offers fully guided Duck, Canada Goose, Sandhill cranes and Spring Snow Goose hunts in Minnesota, Missouri, South Dakota Oklahoma and Texas. The birds eat corn from the grain fields and then sleep on the sandbars. “Last Call for Cranes?” Minnesota Conservation Volunteer 42(May/June): 48–57. Finally, once the young have hatched, the family forages in the shallow wetlands and in adjacent grasslands and agricultural fields. Meanwhile, as populations increase statewide, so do crop depredation complaints by farmers. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. The U.S. 2015 Minnesota August Roadside Survey. Breeding distribution and relative abundance of the Sandhill Crane in North America based on the federal Breeding Bird Survey, 2011–2015 (Sauer et al. Suitable breeding habitat can include any shallow, flow-through or isolated wetland adjacent to open, upland foraging areas. The highest densities are expected along the transition zone between Minnesota's forest and prairie regions where wetland densities are high and upland habitats are dominated by agriculture. Nests placed in shallow waters also are more likely to be inundated when water levels rise due to heavy rain events. Others subspecies are the Lesser, Canadian, Florida, Mississippi, and Cuban sandhill cranes. Each flyway manages several different populations of cranes, two of which occur in Minnesota: the midcontinent population, which includes northwestern Minnesota and is managed by the Central Flyway, and the eastern population, which includes east-central Minnesota and is managed by the Mississippi Flyway. In October the Sandhill crane migration takes place where thousands of cranes gather in numbers to roost in the wetlands at night and feed in the upland fields in preparation for migrating to Florida. This formulation provides the best protection. Twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, for a month, one of the cranes is sitting on the eggs. Cranes detect AQ at very low levels and avoid it. Three together and they all started walking while I took their photo. This map shows reports of Sandhill Cranes near your location from January 6 to February 5, 2021. Some crane species may travel as far as 500 miles (804 km) a day when seeking food. 2017. Beginning in the 1950s, the number of reports of nesting birds in the northwest began to increase with accounts from Minnesota Department of Natural Resources field staff and the birding public (e.g., Magnus 1955; Jensen 1959; Bremer 1966). “Sandhill Cranes in Roseau County.”, Johnson, Jay M. 1976. These lowland areas are interspersed with upland wooded ridges, open prairie knolls, oak savannahs and agricultural fields. Henderson expects the cranes to remain at Carlos Avery for quite a while, giving the … Sandhills are birds of wet meadows and open landscapes. T. Cooper and D.P. Minnesota’s Endangered Flora and Fauna. Tacha and Tacha (1985) summarized suitable breeding habitat as comprising “any large, shallow, relatively open, isolated wetland adjacent to open, upland foraging areas.” Wetlands owned and managed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Minnesota initiated a sandhill crane hunting season on Mid-continent Population cranes in 2010, and Eastern Population cranes are currently hunted in Kentucky and Tennessee. Partners in Flight (2017) has assigned the Sandhill Crane a moderately low Continental Concern Score of 8/20 while the North American Waterbird Conservation Plan (2006) ranked it as a species of Low Concern. Swanson (1940) compiled additional observations from published reports and newspaper stories of the same period. Use the search tool to explore sightings in other areas in North America. Staging fall migrants feed in agricultural fields, primarily small grains and waste corn. The population has ranged from a high of 4,469 birds in 2012 to a low of 1,952 birds in 2014 (Table 2). *Note that the definition of confirmed nesting of a species is different for Breeding Bird Atlas projects, including the definition used by the Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas, compared with a more restrictive definition used by the Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union. Swanson (1940) cited a report from a game warden in Kittson County who noted that cranes were still present in the county in 1892, but “their importance as a game bird ended in the 1880s.” By the turn of the century, they were considered rare. This damage is limited to the first 14-17 days of growth, when gymnosperm is available in the seed, and usually involves minor losses of up to 1 acre adjacent to individual crane breeding territories. The Sandhill Crane Natural Area is located in north central Anoka County, within the City of East Bethel. 2016. Here in Minnesota we enjoy the company of Greater sandhill cranes. Provost, Jodie L. 1991. 1990; Maxson et al. The data set is still too short to determine if there is impact to the local breeding population from the fall harvest, but Lawrence and his colleagues point to several factors that may be influencing annual variations. Favors marshes and agricultural fields where they eat primarily grains. Fish and Wildlife Service and state resource agencies, one for each major migratory flyway. ... Sandhill Crane Tours. North American Crane Working Group. Both surveys will need to continue for more years before long-term trends will be discernable. 1992. For details see the Data Methods Section. 2006. Similar to most birds, sandhill cranes have hollow bones adapted for flying long distances. Jensen, Jack R. 1959. Ecologically speaking, cranes employ a "slow" life-history strategy: they are long-lived, defer breeding for several years after fledging, exhibit very low reproductive rates and experience high annual survival. Overall, the species’ composition of the vegetation is less important than structure. This annual survey of Sandhill and Whooping Cranes spans over 90 counties in six states of the upper Midwest (Wisconsin and portions of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, and Minnesota). National Audubon Society. Spring damage to emergent small grains has also been reported. Henderson, Carroll L. 1979a. The season continues through Sunday, Nov. 15, in North Dakota and Sunday, Oct. 25, in northwest Minnesota. Minnesota, however, delayed until recently, when the first hunting season since 1916 was reopened in 2010. Concentrations of fall migrants in the northwest can cause severe depredation problems, especially during wet autumns when farmers are unable to harvest swaths before September. The powder formulation is placed directly into the seed box at the time of planting, while the liquid form involves treatment of the seed corn prior to planting. Finally, like so many wetland-dependent species, the influence of warming temperatures on current populations is a growing concern. Many seasons are limited and require a special permit. Principal crops affected are wheat, oats, barley and rye. 2014). Herr, Andrea M. 1992. In flight, neck is outstretched, unlike herons with tucked necks. 2017. “Conservation Status and Distribution of Solitary-Nesting Waterbird Species [A Species-level Categorization Relative to All Waterbirds and Derived within the Spatial Context of the NAWCP Area]. But did you know there are thousands of sandhill cranes passing through Minnesota right now? 31, 1992). As a result, crane populations are more vulnerable to exploitation than species exhibiting "faster" life histories. Eastern population cranes that breed in Minnesota winter in north and central Florida, and mid-continent cranes from northwestern Minnesota winter along the Gulf-coast of Texas. William H. Keating’s account of the Long Expedition up the Minnesota and Red River valleys in 1823 included an account of mistaken identity when a large flock of Sandhill Cranes seen along the Minnesota River was initially mistaken for a herd of elk. In central and east-central Minnesota most depredation by cranes occurs on sprouting corn, and has been documented around the Little Falls area since the late-1980's. To visit the cranes is a sight to be seen and the Sherburne Wildlife Refuge puts on a guided crane bird watching tour in October. The majority of these accounts, however, are descriptions of birds observed during the spring and fall migration, when no doubt tens of thousands of cranes nesting in Canada were passing through and hunters were proud to proclaim their success in securing the highly prized quarry. Seen them east of Twin Valley, Mn. Avipel® has an active ingredient of 9,10 Anthraquinone (AQ), a naturally occurring substance used by plants to deter bird foraging on seeds and fruits, and is marketed in liquid and powder forms. Minnesota also lies on the major flyway for birds nesting in Canada and Alaska.So during fall migration season, resident cranes that belong to eastern population are joined by migrating sandhill cranes from mid-continent population, and, as a result, over 10,000 sandhill cranes congregate at several bird areas scattered between Minnesota's forest and prairie regions. Status and harvests of sandhill cranes… “Assessing Spatial Patterns of Greater Sandhill Crane Nesting Habitat using GIS and Remote Sensing.” MS thesis, University of Minnesota. Resident cranes were being reported throughout north-central Minnesota, with reports in Todd, Cass, Hubbard, and Crow Wing Counties constituting a bridge between the formerly isolated centers in the northwest and east-central regions. Today, the harvest and management of Sandhill Crane populations are overseen by four national Flyway Councils, each a partnership between the U.S.