Record nesting season in Wood Buffalo National Park

A record number of whooping crane nests have been found in Wood Buffalo National Park during the 2017 nesting survey carried out by Parks Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada. This year’s survey found 98 nests, an increase of 16 over the previous record of 82 set in 2014. Mike Keiser of Parks Canada told us that habitat conditions were excellent with most wetland basins being full. Surveys were conducted May 18-21, 2017 and were done by Parks Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories. This was the 51st year of annual surveys of the whooping crane population. Mark Bidwell of Environment and Climate Change Canada said that the large jump in nests from previous years is a result of 2 things; the arrival at breeding age of the large number of young that were produced during the period 2010-2013 and the excellent habitat conditions that provided an abundance of suitable nesting sites for the cranes. The next set of surveys will be conducted in August to determine the number of young fledged.
Photo courtesy of John McKinnon Parks Canada.