It’s early morning – the sun has not yet risen. In the distance I can hear the rattling calls of thousands of Sandhill Cranes as they begin to wake up for the day. I cannot yet see them, but soon the sun will rise. My husband and I are hiking on the path around the wetland where they are located, in the pitch dark in order to find our position for sunrise, when these magnificent birds will take flight.
The cranes wade in the shallow pond in order to rest at night, only to take off en masse each morning to go out and find food and socialize nearby each day. It’s freezing cold outside – even though we are in Arizona! However, it’s January and we are at an elevation of about 8000 feet here. It’s so cold I can barely hold my tripod because the metal is freezing my hands. Of course we didn’t bring enough clothing or gloves – not realizing that it would be so cold.
It was totally worth it though as the sun rose and the cranes began to take to the sky! Enjoy this video to see this wonderful scene:
More than 20,000 Sandhill Cranes roost at Whitewater Draw each winter. They are attracted to this area by the abundant wetlands, the shallow waters of Whitewater Draw, and the food sources in the area. Whitewater Draw is now the best Sandhill Crane viewing site in Arizona.
This beautiful image of Sandhill Cranes may be purchased HERE
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