Hello! Welcome to the Coastal Crane Atlas! Many thanks to everyone who took the time to report their crane sightings since this project started in 2015. 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 volunteer-run 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. Observations added to the atlas were used during the Great Sandhill Crane Feather Hunt to identify areas to search for crane feathers, which were then used in population genetics research to understand differences between Coastal cranes and other crane populations. As there are no current surveys for cranes on the Coast, the Coastal Crane Atlas database may contribute to future crane research and conservation work. 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 email@example.com;
All observations will be entered on the above page on iNaturalist, from where they can be exported and shared.
Thanks so much for your interest!