OUTside Connection Column March 18, 2009

Eckert Crane Days celebrates migration

Sandhill cranes are something to cheer about and the Eckert Crane Days, beginning Saturday, offers the opportunity to see thousands of cranes as they migrate through western Colorado.

The cranes are coming, the cranes are coming.

Not quite the memorably lustrous words of Paul Revere (the silversmith, not the songsmith) but provocative, nonetheless, for birders of all ages.

In truth, some of the Sandhill cranes already are here, including those which winter near Delta, along with some early birds (ugh) already headed to summer breeding grounds here and way, way north.

Some of the Lesser Sandhill cranes go as far as Siberia to mate and raise their young, a distance that offers the birds, oh, 15 minutes of turn-around time.

This weekend is the first of two installments of the Eckert Crane Days, an event that attracts craniacs from around the state.

WHAT: A celebration marking the spring migration of Sandhill cranes.

WHEN: Eckert Crane Days, Saturday and 28.

WHERE: Eckert, Fruitgrowers Reservoir and Surface Creek Winery and Gallery.

WHO: The festival features cranes and wildlife experts, local naturalists and photographers presenting educational workshops. The Crane Days Web site offers daily crane counts.

HOW: Eckert Crane Days, http://www.eckertcranedays.com


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