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Publication number 59. Stichting WIWO

Title: Cranes (Grus grus) in NW-Russia in autumn 1996
Author(s): Toon Veerman & Henk Wessels
Publication date: 1998
PDF-download: Cranes (Grus grus) in NW-Russia in autumn 1996


In 1996 research was done in the northwestern part of European Russia (district Kargopol) into cranes. These birds use this area as halfway stage on their route from their nesting ground to their wintering place. In order to map this migratory route it was decided to catch a number of these birds and give them coloured rings. It was tried to lure them to a feeding field on which grain mixed with the anaesthetic alphacholoralose was scattered.
This report deals with the research done from 21 August to 12 September 1996.
During the preparations and attempts to catch the birds it was soon apparent how difficult it is to bring the cranes where you want to have them within a large research area and to keep them there.
In all three attempts were made to capture the birds, but they were all unsuccesful. Because of the vastness of the investigation area and the fact that the birds were scattered all over it in an unstructured way, catching the cranes turned out to be practically impossible.

Also there were quite a few disturbances, so that we came to the conclusion that even if birds would appear in the pre-arranged places of capture, the chances of actually catching them were very small. The risks of using alphachloralose under these circumstances seem unacceptable. When disturbed, birds that have taken in alphachloralose can leave the catching location. You have then lost control over the things that may happen.
The main conclusion of the research done must be that catching the birds at meeting places during migration using this method cannot be recommended.

The report contains:
  • Description of the study area
  • Data on time, weather and operation
  • Detailed counts of Cranes
  • Count from aeroplane