Hello! Welcome to the Coastal Crane Atlas! Many thanks to everyone who took the time to report their crane sightings in 2015 and 2016. Cranes were reported in many places with no previous known record of crane use, from Vancouver Island’s Carmanah Valley and Strathcona Park to Langara Point on Haida Gwaii!
The Coastal Crane Atlas is a citizen science project to map breeding areas of the small population of Sandhill Cranes that summers along the coast of British Columbia and southeast Alaska. In spring and summer, they can be seen foraging along beaches, but they generally nest and roost in upland wetlands. You can help to identify crane breeding areas and other habitat by mapping your sightings here.
These cranes winter in central California and on the Lower Columbia River. Their population is relatively small (appx. 5,000 cranes) and their breeding habitat is largely unprotected. It is thought to belong to a different subspecies (Grus canadensis rowani) than cranes breeding further north and west on the Alaska coast. Your observations added to the atlas will be used by crane researchers and resource managers to identify and protect crane habitat. To learn more about cranes that breed on the north and central coast of B.C., please visit rainforestsandhillcrane.wordpress.com.
It’s easy to participate in the atlas, simply record and report your sightings!
What to Record
- How many cranes you saw
- Where and when you saw them – the date and coordinates or specific place name. (Noting the coordinates or looking them up on Google Earth is super-helpful, especially in decimal degree format.)
- What they were doing – note any territorial behaviour that might indicate a nest or young nearby
- Number of young, if any
- What kind of habitat they were in: e.g. beach, wetland, forest, road, estuary
Please approach them carefully, they are very sensitive to disturbance during the breeding season.
Three ways to enter your observations in the Atlas
1. BEST WAY: Go to the Coastal Crane Atlas project page on iNaturalist.org, sign up and map your observations, and even add a photo to your record.
2. Use the form on the Report Your Sighting page on this site (no login required);
3. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org;
All observations will be entered on the above page on iNaturalist, from where they can be exported and shared.
How you can help
If you live in a coastal community in B.C. or southeast Alaska, you can help by putting up posters to advertise the Atlas. Click here to download a poster in pdf format.
Please consider donating to Great Bear Education and Research (GBEAR) to support this project and Sandhill Crane research on the central coast of B.C. Donations are eligible for a charitable tax receipt in Canada.
Thanks so much for your interest!