Great Basin Naturalist


We assessed the influence of water depth, extent of unobstructed view, and human disturbance features on use of roost sites by Sandhill Cranes along the Platte River, Nebraska, during spring migratory stopover. Aerial photos taken near dawn were used to determine areas of flock use and habitat availability in four sample reaches, and measurements were made on the ground at flock roost areas. In general, depths of 1–13 cm were used by sandhill cranes in greater proportion than those available. Exposed sandbars and depths >20 cm were avoided, while depths of 14–19 cm were used in proportion to their availability. Sites 11–50 m from the nearest visual obstruction were used significantly greater than their availability, while sites 0-4 and >50 m from visual obstructions were avoided. Sandhill Cranes avoided sites near paved roads, gravel roads, single dwellings, and bridges when selecting roost sites; however, they did not appear to be disturbed by private roads, groups of residential buildings, gravel pits, railroads, or electrical transmission lines.