Nesting Research: Hoping for Hatches
Are pesty black flies a cause of some nest failures? Experts are studying this question in hopes of learning more and preventing future nest failures.
Photo Richard Urbanek
Nest site with decoy for  black fly research.
Photo WCEP

Starting in summer 2009, a lot of work by a lot of people began in an effort to find out why the new flock's breeding success has been so limited. How are scientists studying the problem of the cranes leaving their nests?

  • The behavior of all of the nesting pairs will be monitored both on and off the nest.
  • Blinds (hiding huts or walls) can be built for unseen observers to watch some of the nests and birds.
  • DVR and cameras have been set up to monitor nests.
  • Black fly breeding areas have been mapped and carbon dioxide traps have been set up at research sites equipped with crane decoys. More about carbon dioxide traps

Joe Duff expresses hope: "Whooping cranes are full of surprises. Maybe this could be the year for success!"


Journal or Discussion Question
  • Think about each of the actions listed. Do you think experts are making a wise decision to closely study the Whooping cranes and their nests? What might be some pros? Cons? Explain.
  • Read what Operation Migration's Joe Duff said at the end of May, 2009. What would you ask Joe?
  • Do you think people making the decision to locate the new eastern flock at Necedah NWR were aware of every single challenge that might come up?