Sandhill Crane Research

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife initiated the Sandhill Crane Satellite Telemetry Project in spring 2015 with the assistance of Dr. Blake Grisham (Grisham Climate Response Lab, Texas Tech University), Friends of Ladd Marsh and others. On this page you will find information about the project including capture, color banding and some of the birds’ movements since being fitted with transmitters.  This page is a work in progress with information added as time permits so please check back for updates.

  Project Partners and Sponsors:

  • Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Friends of Ladd Marsh
  • Grisham Climate Response Lab at Texas Tech University
  • Oregon Wildlife
  • The Wildhorse Foundation
  • The Norcross Wildlife Foundation, Inc
  • The Oregon Chapter of the Wildlife Society
  • Oregon Birding Association

Project Background:

Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area is host to at least 15 nesting pairs of Greater Sandhill Cranes plus fifty or more non-breeding birds that arrive on the wildlife area in spring, disappear for the summer, then return to stage and presumably migrate with the nesting birds in the fall.  Ladd Marsh staff and partners initiated color banding of cranes hatched on the marsh in 2007 in an effort to learn where these birds winter.  By spring 2015, we had received no reports of banded birds on the wintering area. In 2015 Friends of Ladd Marsh applied for and received grants and private donations begin attaching GPS satellite transmitters to sandhill cranes in collaboration with Dr. Blake Grisham and Texas Tech University.

We placed 3 GPS satellite transmitters on cranes in 2015 (2 adults, 1 hatch year chick) and have begun to learn more about their migration and wintering behavior.  As spring turns toward summer of 2016, we will learn about nesting areas and where the now 1-year old bird spends the summer and whether it returns to Ladd Marsh in the fall.