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Tuesday, January 30 • 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Poster Display. Evaluating the Effect of Forced Re-nesting on Whooping Crane Nest Success

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AUTHORS: Jessica Jaworski, College of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Current address: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Brad Strobel, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Necedah National Wildlife Refuge; Shelli Dubay, College of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

ABSTRACT: Whooping Cranes (WHCR) are federally endangered (CWS and USFWS 2007), and in 2001, a reintroduction effort was initiated at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge (NNWR) in Wisconsin, in order to establish an Eastern Migratory Population (EMP). However, despite nearly sixteen years of reintroduction efforts, reproductive success remains low because nest success, defined as the proportion of nests that result in at least one hatched egg, is near 0 % and the population is not self-sustaining. Greater Sandhill Cranes (SACR, Grus canadensis tabida) are biologically similar to WHCR’s and have similar breeding ecology. Both crane species nest on and around NNWR, but SACR’s appear to have greater nest success. Blood-feeding black flies (family Simuliidae) are present on NNWR for 3 weeks during nesting and WHCR appear to abandon their nests during black fly parasitism, likely contributing to their low nest success. In addition, after eggs are salvaged from nests (forced re-nesting or natural re-nesting), WHCR’s re-nest within 3 weeks. Our objectives were to (1) reduce black fly duress on incubating WHCR’s via egg salvage induced nest failure, and (2) identify if egg salvage induced nest failure increases WHCR re-nest propensity and nest success. We identified nest success of WHCR and SACR on NNWR from 2014-2016. Re-nest propensity for WHCR forced re-nests was 79% and for natural re-nests was 42%. For WHCR, nest success of both forced re-nests and natural second nests was 66%, but nest success for first nests was 28%. For SACR, nest success (no forced re-nests) was 52%. Our results indicate that WHCR’s that nest later are more successful than ones that nest during black fly parasitism suggesting re-nesting without the presence of black fly parasitism could increase overall WHCR nest success.

Tuesday January 30, 2018 6:00pm - 9:00pm CST
Ballroom C & Foyer