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Festival Of The Cranes New Mexico

October 17, 2012 by  

Festival Of The Cranes New Mexico, The annual Festival of Cranes in central New Mexico’s Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge isn’t just about cranes. The festival brings together experienced birders and those new to the hobby, providing opportunities for learning about the sandhill cranes and other wildlife. The festival also offers workshops and experiences about the refuge.

The Bosque del Apache is a refuge for all seasons, but winter is the time to see the greatest number of birds, from early November to mid-February. Each fall, thousands of birds flying south stop by, where they can be viewed, photographed, and witnessed en masse. The annual Festival of Cranes takes place each November, with the star attraction being the sandhill cranes.

Many visitors arrive before dawn so they can see thousands of light geese milling upon the water. As the sun rises, the flocks rise en masse in a cacophany of sound and wing. Sandhill cranes leave in groups after the geese. The geese and cranes spend the day in nearby fields where they forage. Afternoons, the birds fly back in with waves of sound and wing in a display as spectacular as the morning takeoff.

The annual Festival of the Cranes takes place both outdoors and indoors. At the auto loop, visitors can drive around the refuge. Observation decks around the loop make perfect stopping places to take photographs, use viewing scopes and learn from the volunteers stationed there. Indoors, there are over 100 lectures, workshops, and hands-on activities, all related to the annual bird migration. Outdoors, hikes and tours will take place, such as special photography tours.

A wildlife expo features exhibits and demonstrations as well as rescued birds. There are opportunities to take horseback rides, ride bicycle trails, learn about the birds, and hear speakers on a variety of topics. Over the course of six days, visitors can experience the beauty and wonder of the migrating birds in a variety of ways. The annual event is run by the Friends of the Bosque del Apache, a non-profit organization.

Learn from:

Members of the Audubon Council

Members of the Central New Mexico Audubon Society

Members of the American Birding Association

Members of the Friends of the Bosque
Wildlife Expo at the Visitor Center
The expo takes place the final three days of the festival. Exhibits and demonstrations cover a variety of topics, to include alternative energy, rescued wildlife (from birds to wolves), blacksmithing, optics, local nonprofits and vendors. Food will be available for purchase, or you can bring your own picnic.

Wildlife Expo Hours:
Noon to 4 p.m. Friday, November 18
9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday, November 19
9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Sunday, November 20

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