Farm crops as food supplements for whooping cranes

  • Published source details Shields R.H. & Benham E.L. (1969) Farm crops as food supplements for whooping cranes. Journal of Wildlife Management, 33, 811-817.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Provide supplementary food through the establishment of food populations

Action Link
Bird Conservation
  1. Provide supplementary food through the establishment of food populations

    A small replicated study over the winters of 1964-1968 in 2 fenced experimental fields (39 ha each) within a coastal wildlife refuge in Texas, USA (Shields & Benham 1969), found that whooping cranes Grus Americana preferred supplemented grains and seeds to planted crops during periods of low food availability.  On average, 164 and 100 whooping crane use-days were observed for planted crops from October-December and January-April respectively, whereas the average use-days over the same periods for spread grain were 390 and 524 (3607 use-days over the study period in total). Whooping cranes significantly preferred hegari Sorghum vulgare, corn and wheat. Whooping cranes preferentially fed along the tidal flats in good weather. However, the crops (especially wheat, corn, legumes, peanuts and peas) were extensively used by sandhill cranes Grus canadensis, snow geese Chen hyperboreanI and Canada geese Branta canadensis (181 000 goose and 233 000 crane use-days in total from 1964-1967).


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