Monte Vista Crane Festival returns for Sandhill Crane Migration

MONTE VISTA, Colo. (KDVR) – Bird watchers, focus on the poultry and direct it south, where an annual bird festival is set to kick off once several thousand cranes have herded their flock in the San Luis Valley later this week.

About 20,000 sandhill cranes are heading to Colorado, where they are expected to spend six weeks before continuing their migration north of the border. As a result, the ornithological community of Monte Vista will hold its 39th Annual Monte Vista Crane Festival from March 11 to 13.

“This is one of the great wildlife migrations in the country that people can actually get out and see,” said Catherine Brons, education and volunteer coordinator for the Southwest Parks and Wildlife Region. Colorado wildlife.

The event is taking place this year in a hybrid format with both in-person events, at the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge located at 6120 Colorado 15, as well as virtual events that you can attend without migrating down south yourself. Colorado. A lack of event-sanctioned bus transportation, coupled with outdoor meetings, is intended to minimize the spread of the still-present COVID-19 pandemic.

Monte Vista Crane Festival Events

  • March 11: Blanca Wetlands Tour
  • March 11-13: Orientation meetings on the Sandhill crane (free ticket required)
  • March 11-13: Photography workshops led by award-winning photographer Ed MacKerrow
  • March 11-20: Featured lectures and videos when you can’t watch the cranes (pre-recorded crane footage)
  • March 12: Bird Watching Trail Tour: Birdwatcher-led tour along the trail in Southeast Alamosa
  • March 12: Alamosa Refuge Tour (vehicle tour, one ticket required per car)
  • March 12: Dry Creek Archaeological Tour, led by forest archaeologist Price Heiner
  • March 12: Explore Penitente Canyon

If you can’t make it to Monte Vista to catch one of these events, you can watch the free on-demand videos Crane Festival has archived on its website. These will be available to stream until March 20.

“The Monte Vista Crane Festival is an exciting event that CPW and our wonderful volunteers are proud to be part of,” Brons said.

According to Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge officials, these distinctive screeching cranes are the largest in North America, with an average wingspan of 7 feet and a height of about 4 feet. There are currently only 15 species of cranes in the world. The only one that ventures into the Rocky Mountain State is the Sandhill Crane, of which there are five subspecies.

Additionally, a plethora of Canada geese and ducks will also pass through the region while heading north to warmer climes, and their presence should be ripe for the pickings of nature photographers.

Festival officials ask anyone planning to attend to keep in mind that availability for each event is limited, so please only attend one in-person event to ensure as many people as possible can attend. enjoy the festival.

Organizers include Friends of the San Luis Valley National Wildlife Refuges, Monte Vista Chamber of Commerce, City of Monte Vista, and San Luis Valley National Wildlife Complex.

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