Miss your chance at a tax deduction for 2014? Want to start your charitable giving right in 2015? Here is a chance to help Friends of Ladd Marsh with an exciting and interesting project to learn more about “our” sandhill cranes. We have a plan to put satellite radio transmitters on 3 local Greater Sandhill Cranes and need to raise funds to put the plan into action. Our total fundraising goal for the project is $18, 150 to cover the transmitters, data plan, supplies and web access for the public to see the birds’ locations. We have been successful with grants for $10k so far and are hopeful about additional grant applications for $6k. We need to raise $2k from the membership and we have a great start on that with donations of $325 so far. If you would like to donate to this project, you can send a check to Friends of Ladd Marsh, 59116 Pierce Rd, La Grande, OR 97850. Attach a note or write on the check that the funds are to be dedicated to the sandhill crane project and let us know if it is OK to use your name as a sponsor of the project. Thank you for your support! More information about sandhill crane monitoring on Ladd Marsh is below.
Ladd Marsh staff has been color-banding sandhill crane chicks (colts) hatched on the wildlife area since 2007. At this time, there are 10 of these banded birds and they have taught us about how they seem to be anchored to Ladd Marsh. They were captured as unfledged chicks; at least 1 was captured each year except 2013. They return to the marsh with their parents the year after hatching and stay with them until the adults are ready to nest and drive them off. Then they join other non-breeding, young birds in areas not defended by nesting birds and continue to stay on the marsh for as much as 2 months. We don’t know where they go for the summer but one banded bird was seen north of Enterprise with a few other cranes in its second summer. In the fall, the banded non-breeding birds return to Ladd Marsh to stage with the rest of the Ladd Marsh and Grande Ronde Valley population before their southward migration.
Because of the banded birds, we know now that the birds that hatch here have some attachment to the place but we don’t know where they go when they are not here. That is, we don’t know where they spend the winter. Nor do we know where they spend the summer when they are not yet of breeding age. Satellite radio transmitters will help us answer those questions as they track the locations of the birds throughout 2 or more years of their lives.