COLUMBUS, OH – The population of sandhill cranes in Ohio has gradually been increasing in recent years. In the past decade, the number of pairs in the state has grown from two to 25 this year, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife. The division has been seeking ways to improve the accuracy of the count of the birds and is currently undertaking a study to help with this process.
Satellite transmitters have recently been attached to five adult and three juvenile sandhill cranes in Ohio. Following the movements of these marked birds will improve biologists’ understanding of migration and allow Wildlife managers to find the birds and/or their locations in order to establish a more reliable count. Ohio is joining Ontario, Canada, Wisconsin, Minnesota,Indiana and Tennessee in this study.
Birds marked with transmitters for this study were located in Lucas, Geauga, Holmes and Trumbull counties.
Greater sandhill cranes are listed as a state endangered species in Ohio. Observations of breeding pairs and confirmed sightings of nests or young (colts) indicate breeding by sandhill cranes in Ohio since 1985. At least 23 crane pairs were observed in 2008 with 19 young cranes fledged. The number of nesting pairs declined to 19 in 2009, but 23 young were fledged.
Growth of the breeding population has been slow, primarily centered in the Killbuck/Funk Bottoms region, and Geauga, Trumbull and Williams counties.
Wildlife enthusiasts are encouraged to follow the birds’ movements online at wildohio.com under Wild Resources. Also, sing up for updates from the Division of Wildlife on Facebook at facebook.com/ohiodivisionofwildlife or on Twitter attwitter.com/ohiodivwildlife.
Federal funds for the sandhill crane project and other wildlife diversity efforts of the Division of Wildlife are provided through the State Wildlife Grant Program, which targets species with greatest conservation need.
The division’s sandhill crane project is funded by the sale of cardinal license plates, the division’s new Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp, and contributions to the state Wildlife Diversity and Endangered Species Tax Check-off Fund. Taxpayers may donate directly or designate all or part of their state income tax refunds to the effort by checking the box on the Ohio Income Tax Form. Donations can also be made online at wildohio.com.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR web site at www.ohiodnr.com.