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Crane Days

March 26, 2021 - April 30, 2021

The Sandhill cranes have made their way north again with sightings through April.  Although Black Canyon Audubon Society will not be hosting Eckert Crane days this year due to Covid-19, we urge residents and visitors to take a trip to Fruitgrowers reservoir to witness the annual migration of these inspiring birds and listen for their calls.

According to the National Audubon Society, 25% of the world’s population of Greater Sandhill Cranes come to Fruitgrowers Reservoir each spring.  Their typical path is from the Bosque del Apache in New Mexico to Monte Vista State Wildlife area in Colorado, on to Eckert and finally up to Gray’s Lake National Wildlife Refuge near Pocatello Idaho.  From here lifelong mates spread out for breeding and rearing of young.

If you haven’t seen Sandhill Cranes, it is a thrill to watch them. The best time of day to catch the newly arriving Cranes is late afternoon as they fly into Hart’s Basin or mid to late morning when they take off.  New groups arrive most days from early March to mid-April and typically only stay one day. To get to Fruitgrowers reservoir (aka Hart’s Basin) from Delta, take highway 92 east towards Hotchkiss.  Head north on Highway 65 towards the Grand Mesa turning left (east) on North St. in Eckert.  Continue approximately 1 mile to the reservoir.  There is a pull-off before the reservoir that is typically good for viewing.  There is also a parking area near the reservoir and additional pull-offs along the roadway.  Cranes are not the only birds to look for.  Keep an eye out for water, shore and songbirds.  The reservoir provides habitat for many species and has been designated an important bird area by National Audubon Society, with over 200 species sighted.

For many of us it is an annual outing and their arrival is one of the great harbingers of spring.  For additional information and daily counts, eckertcranedays.com is a great website to visit.   A lengthier article about the cranes is in the Black Canyon Audubon newsletter which you can find on their website: blackcanyonaudubon.org. Also check out ebird.org for a list of species sighted at the reservoir.



March 26, 2021
April 30, 2021
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