The sandhill cranes are headed our way...to Socorro, New Mexico to enjoy our weather. Who wouldn't want to get out of the snow and cold? It is the 24th annual Festival of the Cranes to celebrate the annual migration of the sandhill crane. One of my passions is birding, especially when it is a party. The event lasts a week with workshops, lectures, hikes, hands-on-activities, a photography contest, and general fun.
Our favorite activity is the dawn or dusk hike to the water where the cranes and others are camping. As the dawn breaks, the cranes start to rustle one by one. The first small cranes to take flight are few in number. Then, as the noise wakes the rest, the flapping of wings and honking reach a crescendo like a symphony. The breaking light is filled with silohouettes. They swope low overhead and take off by groups. The entire lift-off lasts about 15 minutes as they take their turns leaving. As they fly away, there are groups of smaller birds off by themselves waiting for a chance to take flight.
This display of nature is worth the wait in the dark...as we stood in our own human group, everyone remained silent in anticipation of this bird's beauty in flight.
You may visit the Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge website for more information: