Cranes on Farms 1
Introducing some important habitats for Brolgas and Sarus Cranes on production properties in eastern and northern Australia. Eleven of the world's fifteen crane species are threatened in at least part of their range. Where cranes are surviving or doing well, the keys are good land managment and good relationships with people.
← Field Day for threatened Brolga wetlands (Matthew Herring, Victoria, SE Australia)
Landholders and other interested visitors gather at Warren and Judy Miles' wetland in the Durham Ox district and discuss management issues, during one of three Brolga field days held across northern Victoria in September 2004. Brolgas were one of eight case study species in the Threatened Species and Farming project undertaken across Victoria by the Department of Sustainability and Environment and the Department of Primary Industries, together with the Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research. More: Read Matt's article ‘Dancing Brolgas’ on managing wetlands for Brolgas.
← Pastoral dam hosting thousands of Brolgas and a few Sarus Cranes in the northern non-breeding, or flocking, season (Rupert Russell, Upper Herbert, far north Qld)
This shallow 12 ha pastoral storage was built in 1972 by pushing an embankment to dam overland Wet season flow. Thousands of waterbirds, including significant Brolga numbers, feed, rest and roost here in the northern winter (the Dry, non-breeding season). This ideal crane ‘flocking’ habitat has shallow water, surrounded by grassy woodland with moderate grazing to keep grasses short. The Brolgas and some Sarus Cranes feed in neighbouring maize croplands and pasture most of the day. In drought, numbers at this Crane Count site drop to about 200.
Croplands & Pasture
Wintering Sarus Cranes on the Atherton Tableland feed most often in maize stubble and well-grazed pasture, and only occasionally in cane trash (images cranesnorth and G & J Holmes) ↓
Dr John Grant is surveying daytime flocks of Sarus Cranes on the Atherton Tableland to determine preferred feeding habitat, with preliminary results showing maize and short pasture are preferred over canefields. A key focus for the ongoing annual north Queensland Crane Counts is the importance of changing agricultural industries in the area for this significant part of Australia's Sarus population.
Goodbye Sarus?» Grazing seems essential to maintain crane roost habitat on the Atherton Tableland. Once cattle are removed, rank growth can only be controlled by fire and/or mechanical or chemical means.
Burning for Brolgas» Restoring overgrown wetlands with grazing and fire in north Queensland.