Feeding Stations for Wild Whooping Cranes
Contributed by Tom Stehn, USFWS Biologist
Aransas National Wildlife Center, Austwell, Texas


Provide supplemental calories for some cranes that hopefully
will provide a boost during a winter when natural foods are in short supply
and whooping cranes are having to live off their reserves of stored fat

Corn does not provide a balanced diet because it does not contain protein.

Makes cranes more tame

Could possibly boost production in the upcoming nesting season and reduce additional mortality (deaths) at Aransas

Possibly makes cranes more vulnerable to predation while at the feeding stations

Possibly increases intraspecific aggression (fights among members of the same species) at the feeders

Get cranes used to coming to feeders, which would be very advantageous
if there was an oil spill and we had to provide major amounts of food

Increases disease risk as other mammals and birds concentrate at
feeding stations. At the feeders we are seeing small flcoks of grackles
that could carry disease.

Get cranes used to coming to feeders, where we might be able to set up
a capture station if we decide to attach radio transmitters or do health checks on these cranes

Risk of birds getting sick from eating moldy grain (alphlatoxin) if the food gets wet
Possibly keeps cranes from pioneering to new areas on the coast since
feeders would tend to concentrate the cranes and keep them in a small area
What actions might wildlife biologists take to minimize the factors in the "Cons" column? >>
Copyright 2009 Journey North. All Rights Reserved.
Please send all questions, comments, and suggestions to
our feedback form.