In 2008, ten Sandhill Cranes were banded in the Homer area, part of a project in collaboration with the International Crane Foundation. The satellite and radio transmitters allowed researchers to track the local movements of these cranes here in Homer, on their migration back to California’s Central Valley near Sacramento, and around their wintering areas. This information is helping biologists protect critical areas for feeding and roosting in the fast developing Central Valley. Homer’s cranes are Lesser Sandhill Cranes which need roosting and feeding areas together within 6 miles of each other. Agricultural conversions to vineyards and orchards, subdivisions, and other development threaten these important feeding areas.
January 23, 2008, C016, was captured and marked at Staten Island, in the Sacramento Delta region of California. He was marked to help researcher, Gary Ivey, with his study of wintering ecology of sandhill cranes. C016 was spotted in Homer by one observer and subsequently showed up at Inspiration Ridge Preserve with three other cranes. They rested, fed, and preened until after 11 pm when they finally left for their night’s roost. Even though the batteries are now dead on these tracking device, we are still interested in the travels of these cranes. If you see banded cranes please report them to Kachemak Cranes Watch at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 235-6262 to leave your report.
If you have not yet reported to Kachemak Crane Watch about the nesting pair of Sandhill Cranes in your neighborhood, please send in a report so we can get a more solid number. So far, 20 pairs have been verified, with about 4 still unconfirmed.
If you have had a pair hanging around and now only one is showing up, then disappears, and then one shows up again, it probably means the pair is now nesting. Most Homer cranes lay their eggs in the first week of May. Let Kachemak Crane Watch know if you have a pair showing up one at a time. We would like to confirm nesting. Note the date so you will know in 30 days to be watching for colts.
Enjoy all the birds and the programs at the Shorebird Festival. See you out birding!
If you want to see nesting Sandhill Cranes, the boardwalk below Islands and Ocean Visitor Center is a great place to view pair behaviors like painting, mating, dancing, fighting, and feeding. This is the most accessible place in Homer to easily view nesting Sandhill Cranes.
Reports to Kachemak Crane Watch indicate all 3 pairs of Beluga Slough cranes are back in their territories. Watch for some great crane action here! Remember it is nesting season so if you are walking with your dog, please keep them on a leash and on the boardwalk.
The cranes are still filtering but a good part of the local flock is here. A flock of 76 has been reported out East End Road, and 18 pairs have returned to their territories. Two of the three pairs that nest in Beluga Slough near the boardwalk were sighted today. One pair was mating next to the boardwalk. Please call Kachemak Crane Watch to report the return of your nesting pair.
Kachemak Crane Watch is pleased to announce the launching of its new, updated website. We still have a couple of buttons to activate, but other than that, the new version is up and running. You will find lots of crane photos in our photo gallery and a link to our Youtube playlist of sandhilll crane videos. Please share with your friends and families. Who knows you just might turn someone into a craniac! The link is the same: www.cranewatch.org Many thanks to Jason Sodergren for his technical expertise in getting this website set up and online. Thanks also to Michelle Michaud for her help in transferring and updating information from the old website.
A new feature of the website is the blog which will allow us to post updates more frequently. You can visit the website and subscribe to the blog if you would like to get updates about our cranes.
Reminder for Shorebird Festival crane presentations: Friday at 4 pm – 5 pm “A Fledge for Freedom” will be shown, and on Sunday at 1 pm, “Raising Kid Colt” will be featured. Both films will be accompanied by a slide program. If you cannot make these showings, check with Island and Ocean Visitor Center to find out when these films will be shown during the summer. Keep the reports coming in, and hopefully, I will see you at Shorebird Festival!