Dan Collins

Western Sandhill Crane Conservation and Management: A look Behind the Curtain

Saturday, September 3, 2022 - 1:30pm to 2:45pm
  • Library Hall
Yampa Valley Crane Festival's keynote talk with USFWS crane expert Dan Collins

In 2009, a working group associated with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service identified priority information that was needed for Sandhill Cranes in the west including basic ecological and biological information for the western crane population, and the effects of habitat changes on the Rocky Mountain crane population. A partner group formed and began working to fill these and other information gaps at local, regional and flyway scales. Over the past 10 years this group has worked towards answering a variety of different questions such as: How much corn is needed to support cranes in the Middle Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico? What habitats do the cranes prefer? What is the ecology of staging and stopover sites?  What do fall survey assessments tell us about crane movement? Dan will highlight much of the work that this group has done over the past 10 years focused primarily on the Rocky Mountain Population of Sandhill Cranes.

About the speaker

Dan Collins has spent the last 11 years at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Migratory Bird Office in Albuquerque, New Mexico, working on a variety of different species, such as, northern pintail, mottled ducks, Mexican ducks, redhead ducks, white-faced ibis, and last but not least sandhill cranes. For the past 10 years, he has been involved in research and monitoring of the Rocky Mountain and Lower Colorado River Populations of Greater Sandhill Cranes. He has been fortunate to trap and mark close to 1000 cranes, fly fall surveys, conduct recruitment surveys, and be involved with many aspects of western Greater Sandhill Crane management and conservation at local, regional and flyway scales. Previously, Dan worked in Portland, Oregon dealing with annual hunting regulations and survey and monitoring of game birds.

Dan played low-level professional soccer upon completion of his undergraduate degree in biology but ultimately decided against coaching and went back to receive his master’s degree at Sul Ross State University. During this time, he worked as a field technician with Gunnison sage grouse, gambels quail, mourning dove, and mearns quail, and as a Fire Management Technician. Dan earned his Ph.D. at Austin State University.

Dan lives in northeast Albuquerque with his wife, Julia, son Daniel (15 years old), daughter Evelyn (12 years old), daughter Emily (7 years old) and dogs Pearl, Ruby and Birdie. Outside of work Dan enjoys long distance trail running, photography, hiking, backpacking, hunting, fishing, and anything else that gets him/his family out the door.

About the Yampa Valley Crane Festival: Sept. 1-4, 2022

The Greater Sandhill Crane is an iconic species of the Yampa Valley. Returning in the spring, cranes nest and raise their young in wetland areas throughout the valley. In late summer and early fall, hundreds of cranes from the Rocky Mountain flock join the local birds to rest and feed before continuing their journey south. The Yampa Valley Crane Festival celebrates these iconic birds with daily crane viewings, expert speakers, films, art exhibits, workshops, family activities and more. Bud Werner Memorial Library is festival headquarters and the venue for many of these talks, films and events. Learn more about the 11th annual Yampa Valley Crane Festival.