How we work
Working in partnership with the Overberg Lowland Conservation Trust, the Overberg Crane Group protects our region’s Blue Cranes and other threatened big birds. We have three main areas of work.
The Overberg Crane Group works to stop or manage human-wildlife conflict. We provide extension support to landowners and land users, to help deal with such cases.
Addressing the problems caused by cranes and big birds to farmers
The OCG assesses the problems caused by Blue Cranes and other big birds, and looks at ways to overcome them. We make sure communication channels are open to report problems, we assess the scale of the problems, and follow up on these.
We look for information on the death of Blue Cranes and other big birds like Secretary Birds and Denham’s Bustards. So we look at the reasons for their death and possible solutions. If the death of these threatened South African birds is caused by poison, we liaise with poison distributors and land users responsible. We promote safer use of poison and seek less harmful ways of pest control to protect our birds. We also log all collisions with power lines, and talk to Eskom to install bird diverters on power lines on sites that are causing problems for birds.
Promoting breeding success
We get information on the breeding locations of threatened big birds, their habitat preferences, and the survival rates of young birds – from Blue Cranes to Cape Vultures, Korhaans and more. We’ll find out how often nests are disturbed by humans. We then aim to protect these breeding habitats, breeding territories and the chicks once they hatch. Threats include humans, domestic predators like dogs and cats, and wild predators like the caracal.
The Overberg Crane Group increases awareness on the conservation of our threatened Blue Cranes and other big birds. We regularly meet with farmers and land owners, and offer support where we can. We’ll also attend local exhibitions and other events to raise awareness.
Running our public awareness campaign
Crane Group staff assess attitudes towards Blue Cranes, Secretary Birds, eagles, harriers and other big birds, and pass the information on to chosen target groups. The OCG will reach out to communities, landowners, farm workers and distributors of agricultural chemicals. We produce information through blueprint conservation programmes, pamphlets, educational booklets, slide and video material and posters. We also raise awareness on our social media platforms and our website.
Educating about Blue Cranes and other threatened birds
OCG staff will always try to reach the younger generation, and often teach at schools. We also aim to involve eager individuals in crane research and identify the areas that can be targeted for environmental education activities.
COLLECTING BIODIVERSITY DATA
The Overberg Crane Group and partners are constantly collecting data and information on Blue Cranes and other conservation priority birds (like the Black Harrier, African Marsh Harrier, Cape Vulture, the Southern Black Korhaan, Karoo Korhaan, Secretary Birds, and more). This helps us to understand the current trends in the population, and the threats to these birds.
Determining the conservation status
We collect information on the conservation status, population dynamics, movement patterns and habitat preferences of the Blue Cranes. We’ll get the information from land users, birders, and others interested in protecting threatened South African birds. We collate info on where ringed cranes were seen, and their ringing combinations.
Monitoring how strong our conservation measures are
We need to be sure that our conservation programmes are actually meeting their objectives. So we identify problem areas, develop feedback systems on the effectiveness of the measures, develop methods to monitor bird numbers and keep interested parties updated on the findings.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
You can get involved in conserving our birds in the Overberg.
REPORT RINGED BIRDS
Hundreds of Blue Cranes have had rings placed on their legs over the years. We use these rings to identify Blue Cranes. With this information, we can learn more about them. If you see a Blue Crane with rings on its legs, please let us know.
The Overberg Crane Group is the only organisation dedicated to protecting our Overberg's birds, like Blue Cranes and Cape Vultures. We need your help to protect our threatened bird species from possible future extinction.
There’s a convenient way for bird lovers to note the birds they see – using the BirdLasser app. You can download the BirdLasser app to your cellphone. It’s also a great tool for bird lovers to keep accurate records of their sightings