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Prepare for a natural spectacle amid annual crane migration

Posted at 11:32 AM, Mar 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-05 13:32:44-05

MONTE VISTA — A rare treat is in store for bird watchers and wildlife appreciators.

The spring Sandhill Crane migration will be celebrated this weekend, March 8th-10th in the San Luis Valley.

Joe Lewandowski with Colorado Parks and Wildlife says it’s a magnificent event that everyone should witness once in their lifetime, “This is one of only a few great wildlife migrations in the United States that people can easily see. The sights and sounds are absolutely amazing.”

CPW says the flocks of cranes begin arriving in mid-February from their winter nesting grounds and are drawn to the San Luis Valley’s large wetland areas, wildlife refuges and grain fields.

Sandhill cranes migrate through Southern Colorado

About 25,000 birds will pass through Colorado over the next few weeks. Each is up to 4 feet tall with an impressive wingspan of 7 feet.

The cranes are most active at dawn and at dusk when they’re moving back and forth from their nighttime roosting areas. But in the middle of the day they can also be found grazing in open fields.

Free tours will be offered during this weekend’s festival from 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. each day when the birds are most active.

Tours start at the Ski Hi Park building near Highway 150 and Sherman Avenue on Monte Vista’s east side. The town is approximately 140 miles from Pueblo and 180 miles from Colorado Springs.