There is an article in the March 13th Daily Sentinel newspaper on the Gathering of the Cranes that got my attention. I love Sandhill Cranes and would love to see them flying at sunset.
There are reports that the Cranes are in at the Escalante State Wildlife Area, west of Delta. That said - this is an exploratory to see if we can find the Sandhill Cranes.
Let's plan on meeting at City Market and carpooling to the Escalante turnoff. If you are coming from Delta or Montrose give me a holler so I know that we need to meet you (maybe at the turnoff?) Anyway, bear with me as i do a little more research with the Audubon Society on where we can find the cranes.
I have no idea how much hiking this entails. I'd say probably not much - just getting near water(?)
For this outing bring:
- exploration tolerance
- will to find Sandhill Cranes
**As a heads up - this is the Eckert Crane Days weekend Friday-Sunday. For those wanting more information please contact the Black Canyon Audubon Society[masked] for other events.Map link to Fruit Growers Reservoir, where cranes have been known to concentrate in years past.
*** Factoids from CO Dept of Fish & Game
- Cranes are among the oldest living birds on the planet, with fossil records dating back 9 million years.
- In Colorado the Greater sandhill crane is listed as a species of special concern, with a focus on Rocky Mtn Population Greater sandhill cranes that breed in the state. As people have moved into prime habitat areas, much of the nesting habitat became unsuitable because of either direct or indirect human disturbance during the incubation and chick-rearing periods, resulting in nest abandonment and loss of young.
- There is currently no hunting season in Colorado for RMP sandhill cranes, but hunting seasons for RMP cranes are established in all other states in the range. Hunting seasons are established in Colorado for MCP sandhill cranes (east of the Continental Divide, excluding Jackson County and the San Luis Valley), and MCP cranes are harvested in most other states and provinces where they occur.