migration conditions over the last two weeks have allowed most
of the cranes to complete their migration. Most of the cranes
now back at their summer home in the marshes of Wood Buffalo National
late migrating pair was still in Saskatchewan on April 30 but
should be arriving on the breeding grounds any day now. The mild
temperatures in April have melted most of the snow. Only the
larger lakes and rivers remains frozen. All the creeks and small
rivers are open.
wetlands were fairly dry last fall and over the winter
only about 75% of normal snow fell. This lack of snow and a warmer-than-normal
winter followed by a cool spring has left the nesting area with
lower than normal water conditions.
We hope that spring rains will replenish some of the
areas. The Klewi River nesting area was particularly dry
and is in need of increased rain this summer to refill
During years with lower than normal water conditions the
survival of young whooping cranes is usually lower than average.
Last summer there were a record 62 nesting pairs and I hope the
lower water conditions will
not prevent any of those pairs from nesting; however, it
reduce their nesting success.
will be starting aerial surveys to look for the nesting
pairs beginning around May 15. I hope that we will have as many
last year — and possibly a couple more! I will be especially
looking for White-Red to see if she has found
a new mate. (White-Red is the female whose mate since 1986 died
two weeks ago on migration.)