171,284 cranes counted in Spain

© Günter Nowald

How many cranes spend the winter in Spain? The monthly nationwide census during the wintertime aim at answering this question. This large-scale counting campaign is possible thanks to a very strong voluntary crane protection: the cranes are counted at a large number of roosting sites. Afterwards the results are compiled. A great achievement that allows to draw conclusions about the development of the wintering population.

The results of the December census have now been published: 171,284 cranes were counted throughout the country. Of these, in Extremadura alone 76,861 could be observed. The region in the western part of Spain with its extensive holm and cork oak forests is the most important wintering area of the grey crane on its western European migration route.

Compared to the previous year, the number of cranes counted in December 2022 is significantly lower. One approach to an explanation for the decline is that very little maize and rice is being cultivated in the area. For this reason cranes could have moved to other areas that are currently unknown to the volunteers. Another hypothesis is that more cranes are wintering in France. Because a nationwide census does not take place in France, it is unfortunately not possible to confirm or reject this theory.

The next count in Spain will take place at the end of January. We are looking forward to the results.

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© Crane Conservation Germany 2017-2019

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