It's one of the most spectacular wildlife migrations left in our ever more industrialized world, and one of the biggest in the Continental United States. If you've never seen thousands of Greater Sandhill Cranes take to the air all at once, swooping and crying out, it's hard to explain. Among the major Plains-state stopovers (like Monte Vista; Kearney and Grand Island, Nebraska; and Soccoro, New Mexico) where birdwatchers flock to see the majestic birds as they make their way north is Delta County, which celebrates its feathered friends at Eckert Crane Days, taking place today and next Saturday, March 22. The seventh annual festival includes viewings of early-morning liftoffs and sunset landings hosted by the Black Canyon Audubon Society, various birding presentations, and a concert on March 22 by the Sweet Sunny South Bluegrass Band (tickets to the concert are $20 and available at Surface Creek Winery & Gallery in Eckert). As many as 15,000 to 20,000 cranes are expected this year at nearby Fruitgrowers Reservoir, in addition to other kinds of migrating fowl. The town of Eckert is located in southwestern Colorado, on state highway 65. For information, lodging suggestions and a schedule, log on to www.eckertcranedays.com or www.westerncolorado.com.
Sat., March 15; Sat., March 22, 2008