Ringing Blue Crane chicks

Next to the Dullstroom area, the Waterberg is the second most important area for blue cranes in the northern parts of South Africa.

Welgevonden is the most important breeding grounds for blue cranes in the Waterberg with 5 breeding pairs on the reserve.

Part of the conservation effort of blue cranes, led by the EWT, is to ring the new chicks before they learn to fly. This will assist in getting to know the population, and to monitor what happens with the chicks once they grow up, for example, do they come back to the areas they were born in, and will they eventually breed in the same areas?

Kobus Pienaar from the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism is leading the project in the Waterberg district.

Of the five breeding pairs on Welgevonden, three pairs bred successfully, and the fourth pair is still unconfirmed. There are four confirmed chicks on Welgevonden this season. In a joint effort between Kobus, Joseph Heymans and the Welgevonden staff three of the four chicks were ringed. Staff from the next door Shambala Game Reserve also assisted by providing a gyrocopter to search for the birds from the air.

The cranes are ringed with several rings, a large green ring on the right leg, which means that is a Waterberg or Mpumulanga crane, and then three smaller rings on the left leg, in various color combinations which identifies the specific bird. The chick is also ringed with a numbered metal ring from SAFBIRD.

The birds are then weighed and blood samples are collected for genetic tests. It is then released to join up with its parents again, and will hopefully grow up and form a new breeding pair on the reserve.
Please report sightings of birds with rings to Welgevonden Management.