Skip Navigation

Species Search:
Ask an Expertthreatened and/or endangered

Cranes and parasites

Cranes (sandhill?) feed in our pond each spring. Our neighbor also has a large pond, and was told that cranes have parasites in their droppings, which cause "warbles?" in fish. The neighbor shoots these cranes to prevent parasites. Does the crane truly have fish damaging parasites in its droppings?

Birding Expert - George H. Harrison

First of all, sandhill cranes (all cranes and herons and egrets) are protected by state and federal laws, and your neighbor should (could) be arrested for shooting them. The reason for the delay in answering your question is that I was researching parasites in fish and how they are acquired. I have found out that the life cycle for some fish parasites does include birds. In our Wisconsin lake, the sunfish have two tiny parasites that are harmless to people, but are acquired in fish from freshwater snails, that get them from the droppings of belted kingfishers, whose droppings are absorbed by snails, that pass on to fish, and the kingfisher gets them again by eating the fish. Whether sandhill cranes carry them like kingfishers, I do not know, but it may be a cycle like that the one in our lake in which the cranes or herons are a part. In any event, the parasites are harmless to humans, do no harm to either the fish, or the birds.

Related to this Question

Sandhill Crane
Grus canadensis

3 articles:
New Search