A few months ago we talked about the project “Cranes fly over Huesca 2015”, carried out by the Grupo Ornitológico Oscense (GOO) (Huesca Ornithological Group). If you remember, the objective of the initiative was to study the migratory routes used by the large flocks of cranes when they cross the central Pyrenees during their return to the breeding sites in the north of Europe.

Between 14 February and 15 March 2015, GOO compiled a great amount of information about the prenuptial migration of the Common Crane: sightings provided by collaborators all around Huesca and neighbouring areas, daily registers of La Sotonera reservoir, daily study of the climatology, etc. In short, a titanic task of data compilation and cleaning.

With all this information, GOO has thoroughly reconstructed the prenuptial migration from 2015 and has compared the data with the information available from previous years. The result has been an interesting study that is worth reading and which provides answers to many of the questions about the migratory behaviour of the Common Crane.

Cranes flying over Gallocanta

Cranes flying over Gallocanta

The project “Cranes fly over Huesca 2015” has allowed us to know that at least 277,455 cranes crossed the Pyrenees during the prenuptial migration in 2015, a number strangely higher than the number of cranes registered in the whole Iberian Peninsula. It also made possible to prove the great importance of La Sotonera reservoir as a hiding place during the migration, and to discover the main routes used to overcome the Pyrenees.

This study gives an idea of the difficulties faced by the crane flocks to reach France, as well as the strategies used during their trip. Some of these strategies are truly impressive, like the explorer cranes which return to inform their congeners about the climatological conditions.

From these lines we would like to congratulate the Grupo Ornitológico Oscense and all of those who took part in the project “Cranes fly over Huesca 2015” for their great work. Congratulations.

On the following link you can download the bulletin in PDF format with the results of the project.


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