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Jim Blackburn [00:00:01] The cranes require kind of, quote, unquote, "fresh" water.

Jim Blackburn [00:00:04] Once the, I think, the salinity rises above 20 parts per thousand, maybe 25, the cranes have to come inland to freshwater ponds to, to get, to get fresh water, to flush the salt out of their system. They can work with estuarine water as long as it's in the 15 to 20 parts per thousand range. But, once you get saltier than that, and this water was getting up into 30, 35 parts per thousand, they can't use the estuarine water.

Jim Blackburn [00:00:32] When they fly into these ponds that are in the prairie, kind of between the brush and the marsh, there are alligators in those ponds. And one of the dead cranes was found in the mouth of an alligator, literally, in the mouth of an alligator.

Jim Blackburn [00:00:47] And they were running out of food sources. One of the survival techniques is that the young, kind of cinnamon-colored juvenile gets run off of the home territory, because there's not enough crabs to support three cranes. And it's sort of a triage decision that's made. And these youngsters were being chased out of territories.

Jim Blackburn [00:01:14] I have an image of a cinnamon-streaked crane walking down the middle of the road that goes through the brush country up in, up in the kind of the uplands of the, of the refuge that somebody had shot driving by. And that was a dead bird walking. That bird would not survive the night because bobcats, or coyotes, or whatever are going to kill that bird. Whooping cranes cannot survive in the brush.

Jim Blackburn [00:01:44] But those youngsters were being forced out of their territories then, and they had nowhere to go. So many of the fatalities were with youngsters of that season.