Migratory and non-migratory Whooping Cranes (Grus americana) historically inhabited southwestern Louisiana until they were extirpated in 1950. Little is known about the feeding habits or dietary items of these cranes except for anecdotal evidence from local residents provided to R. P. Allen for his influential 1952 work on Whooping Cranes. Other populations of Whooping Cranes have been characterized as opportunistic omnivores, consuming small vertebrates, invertebrates, and plant material. In 2009, southwestern Louisiana was selected as a reintroduction site for Whooping Cranes. We report on four observations of reintroduced Whooping Cranes depredating at least two different species of turtles (common snapping turtle and mud turtle), which have not been previously reported as a dietary item for this species.
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Vol. 125 • No. 2