The holiday ritual in the Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge, here in New Mexico, is a spectacular gathering of sandhill cranes and snow geese. They appear en masse this time of year, ambassadors for wild things and wild places. Their numbers, about 10,000 of each species, is a reminder of what we have lost and what is at stake.
The birds fly in from Canada and the Northern plains of America. They will spend the cold months of November-March here in the Bosque eating grains, grubbing for insects and causing awe for the thousands of visitors that come to see them. They will stay until the weather changes in February.
The first time I ever heard a sandhill crane’s rattling call I was walking along a snowy road in the Teton National Park. The sound was strange, and very ancient. I strained my neck following a group of three cranes – thin slate gray silhouettes of six foot wing spans – against the winter clouds. Their calls faded out but imprinted upon me a wish for more.
Today my wish was granted, and surpassed.
Within two days of posting these videos on Face Book they had been viewed 2,200 times with comments like: breathtaking, gave me goose bumps, beautiful.
Experiencing these birds in the Bosque Del Apache Wildlife Refuge was the best holiday gift I could have imagined and I want to share it with you.
Enjoy the two short videos and then share the magic.
Photos by Tim Mayo
Videos by Suzy Godsey