A whir of wings

  • Sandhill cranes fly over the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge

    Don Baccus
  Just before sunlight hits New Mexico's Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in November, visitors can hear the squawking of ducks, geese and cranes. In a roar of wings, thousands of these birds take flight at dawn - an event most viewers consider a highlight of the annual Festival of the Cranes. "Then, during the fly-in, there is wave after wave of cranes and snow geese landing," says refuge volunteer Anna Appleby. The annual festival started in 1989, and now offers visitors a chance to tour the refuge with a biologist, learn about nature photography or take an on-the-water birding tour to see sandhill cranes, cormorants, western grebes and white pelicans, among others.

To order a brochure or to register for the Festival of the Cranes, Nov. 16-19 in Socorro, N.M., call 505/835-0424 or check out www.friendsofthebosque.org.

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