Sandhill cranes to be featured at Audubon February meeting


By Jean Zirnhelt | Weminuche Audubon Society

Sandhill cranes at two national wildlife refuges will take the spotlight at the February meeting of the Weminuche Audubon Society on Wednesday, Feb. 15. 

In January, Herb Grover and other members of the local photography club and Audubon chapter escaped Pagosa snow and made a trip to Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in southern New Mexico. Protected since 1939 as an important stopover point for migrating waterfowl, it serves as the winter home for many thousands of cranes, geese and ducks. Visiting the refuge is an overnight trip from here and a four-season destination for wildlife viewing. 

Grover will show photographs of cranes and other waterfowl seen on the recent trip to the Bosque. A man of many talents and interests, he serves as the vice president of our Weminuche Audubon board, volunteers at Chimney Rock National Monument and is a recently retired professor of biology at Wayland Baptist University. 

Included in his presentation will be a closer area which is also known for sandhill crane viewing, the national wildlife refuge located outside Monte Vista, Colo. Established in 1952 as the first national wildlife refuge in Colorado, this important wetlands habitat is a stark contrast to the surrounding arid environment. More than 200 species of birds and other wildlife spend time at this refuge. In late February, sandhill cranes start arriving to feed and prepare for their long migrations to breeding areas further north.

Next month marks the 40th anniversary of the Monte Vista Crane Festival, celebrated this year from March 10-12. Grover will provide a description of the festival where tours, workshops and talks are all part of the fun. Visit its website,, to reserve a spot in the activities. 

Join us at the Community Methodist Church on Lewis Street for this meeting on Feb. 15. Arrive at 6 p.m. for social time before the meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. In appreciation for our meeting space, we welcome donations of nonperishable items for the church food bank. A Zoom link for those unable to join in person will be posted on our website,, before the meeting. Audubon events are open to the public and we welcome guests at our meetings.