s+an+lally Increased size. 1+ is s+ill one of the best bargains In birding publications we know. Jon is sugar-coating the increased rate by offering a 50? discount
on the purchase of A Guide to North American Bird Clubs, as long as the supply lasts,
for all renewals and new subscriptions to Birding News Survey. For $7.50, this is a
bargain, and Jon will cheerfully practice his penmanship should you desire it uto-
graphed! Send your checks to Avian Publications, Inc., P.O. Box 310, ElIzabethtown,
Kentucky 42701, Including $6.00 for the subscription and $7.50 for the book.
** Tony Gallucci sends word via Ted Eubanks, Jr. that the Mountain Plover at Fort
Davis hatched 3 chicks and has moved them away from the nesting area.
** Tess Barry, an 0G member from Beaumont, was moving In exalted birding circles
in May she took a boat trip to the Dry Tor+ugas, wl+h 6 leaders aboard: Will &
Maude Russel, Rich Stallcup, Rich Rowle+te, Jon Dunn and Davis Finch! She says it
was quite an experience, and lots of fun. James Vardaman, trying for that 700 birds
this year, met the group at Ft. Jefferson and birded with Will Russell while there.
** A SPOONBILL subscriber from Indianapolis, Larry Peavler, was mentioned in a recent
newsletter from Vardaman as being a member of his Alaska 9-man par+y. After reading
about this Alaska trip, one word comes to mind: STRENUOUS! By the end of this year
of striving to reach that magical number of 700, James Vardaman Is liable +o consider
a dead run just a pleasant stroll!
TRACKING SANDHILL CRANES from Natural History Survey, March 1979
In cooperation with the University'of Wisconsin and the U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service
Survey wildlife biologists William W. Cockran and Arlo Raim studied the fall migration of sandhill cranes from the Interlake region nor+h of Winnepeg, Manitoba, where
these birds breed, to their wintering grounds on the Texas coast. Raim devised two
radio transmitter designs for mounting on the leg band normally used by wildlife
researchers for marking this species. One of the designs was conventional, being
powered by batteries for a predicted life of I year. The other used photocells to
provide an Indefinite period of operation. A total of 12 transmitters was constructed. The Canadian Wildlife Service placed the transmitters on nestlings in late July.
Personnel from the University of Wisconsin and the Canadian Wildlife Service monitored the birds as they dispersed from their breeding area to southern Manitoba and
North Dakota, where they spent the last part of August and all of September. Cockran
went to North Dakota in early October, prior to the migration of the sandhill cranes,
to instruct personnel from the University of Wisconsin In the techniques used for
following migrants. One bird, in a flock of about 500, was followed to a wintering
area for the species southwest of Houston, Toxas. These birds turned out to be easy
to follow because they travel slowly and make their migratory flights during the same
period each day (from 1100 to 1730 hours).
Cockran's interest was in the possibility for observing the homing phase of this migration during which the birds were expected to alter their generally southward
course to seek out their specific wintering areas. It was expected that a rather
abrupt change would be noted about the time the birds reached the latitude of their
The cranes' flight was almost due south for the first 800 miles (this took 4 days)
after which the flight distance covered per day was reduced to about 80 miles and tht
flight direction became rather unpredictable. Flight was generally to the southeast,
south, or southwest, seemingly dependent upon wind direction. However, during the
last half hour to hour of flight each day, the direction shifted to almost straight
east or west. During this period, the flock size (the number of birds with the radlc
equipped bird) was reduced gradually to about 200 birds and, finally +o about 70
These observations suggest that experienced members of the flock search out familiar
landmarks during the latter portion of the migration, with flock breakup due to differing goals. If this Is the case, this species Is a poor one for definitive studies
of orientation and navigation mechanisms.
The principal objectives of the study were to evaluate habitat use during migration
and to field test the technique and train personnel for a follow-up study of the endangered whooping crane In 1979-80. The study wt11 be continued with the spring migration of the sandhill cranes already radio tagged (and later, the whooping cranes)
by researchers from the University of Wisconsin. (Natural History Survey is a division of the Illinois Institute of Natural Resources).
LThere may be a record number of whooping cranes for the researchers to track this
next winter, for at least 14 young whoopers have been seen at Woods Buffalo National