Brian Reports: Nest Checks Coming Up!
May 9, 2008
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As you read Brian's report this week . . .

1. What are conditions like on the nesting grounds? How might this affect adults? Nests? Eggs? Young?

2. Why will nests be started in a shorter range of time this spring?

2. Where is Brian going next week, and why?

Thank you for your great field reports, Brian!

How many nests will Brian find?
Photo Brian Johns

Dear Journey North,

The large wetlands of the nesting grounds are still frozen (as of May 5). The Hay River is breaking up but the Slave River is still frozen
at Fort Smith. Lower water conditions should not create an increased predation problem for the adults but it will mean that eggs and young chicks are more vulnerable to predation. Most of the breeding birds have arrived and with the later spring this year they will get down to nest building as the water opens up. Nest initiation dates will be less strung out and will be initiated over a shorter time period this year.

I am off to Fort Smith on May 12. From where I am based in Saskatoon, SK, it's 1,000 KM to Fort Smith, near the the breeding grounds in Wood Buffalo National Park. (For the cranes, 1,000 KM is about a 3-day flight.) I will be starting aerial surveys to look for the nesting pairs beginning around mid May. I hope that we will have as many nests as last year. And I hope that we will have warm weather in June when the eggs begin to hatch, so the chicks have the greatest possible chance of survival.

Brian Johns
Wildlife Biologist
Canadian Wildlife Service
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada