At this time of year, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico is a birder's paradise. The refuge — critical wintering habitat for great numbers of birds — sits where the north edge of the Chihuahuan desert meets the Rio Grande River. Witness the magnificent spectacle of the sunrise "fly-out" of more than 14,000 Sandhill Cranes! The cranes return each November from nesting grounds in the northern Rockies and Dakotas, just in time for the annual Festival of the Cranes in November. Enjoy virtual lectures and more, as you celebrate this remarkable oasis in New Mexico's high desert.
Bosque del Apache, High Desert Oasis
Written by Bob Sundstrom
This is BirdNote.
[A few Sandhill Cranes calling]
At this time of year Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in south-central New Mexico is a birder's paradise. Many rise early to witness the magnificent spectacle of the sunrise "fly out" of some 14,000 Sandhill Cranes [Sandhill Cranes calling]. And more than 30,000 Ross's Geese and Snow Geese [Snow Geese calling]!
The sunset "fly in" is equally impressive. [Individual Sandhill Cranes and a huge flock of Snow Geese calling]
Bosque del Apache translates from Spanish as "the woods of the Apache." The refuge sits where the north edge of the Chihuahuan desert — called "high desert" here because it's above 4,000' — meets the Rio Grande River. The heart of the refuge now supports 20 square miles of moist bottomlands — including wetlands and riverside forest — critical wintering habitat for great numbers of birds. [Individual Sandhill Cranes calling]
The cranes here return each November from nesting grounds in the northern Rockies and Dakotas, just in time for the annual Festival of the Cranes. Over six days the refuge offers field trips, lectures, workshops, and hikes as a way of celebrating this remarkable oasis in New Mexico's high desert. [Large flock of Sandhill Cranes plus individual Snow Geese calling at the end]
There are more than 500 national wildlife refuges for you to visit and enjoy. To learn which one is nearest you, begin at birdnote.org.
Bird audio provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Recording of 12,000 Sandhill Cranes calling  by A.A. Allen; calls of individual Sandhill Cranes  recorded by G.A. Keller; calls of large flock of Snow Geese  W.W.H.Gunn; calls of individual Snow Goose  by M.P.McChesney.
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2012 Tune In to Nature.org November 2012/2018/2020 Narrator: Mary McCann