The Cranes of Monte Vista

They’ll be here soon if they’re not here already. I’m not sure they ever completely left for the southern climes of New Mexico this winter as we’ve had virtually no snow, comparatively (compared to Cutbank, Montana) warm temperatures, and the water in the various sloughs, rivers and preserves has not completely frozen. If I were a Sandhill Crane, I’d still migrate. I think most of the fun is with the extended flock.

In a month Monte Vista will open its arms to a profusion of crane tourists from all over the world who have dreamed all their lives of visiting a small town in Colorado and seeing more than 20,000 Sandhill Cranes. It is truly one of life’s most amazing sights, hundreds of bundled up baby-boomer wayfarers with binoculars pointed at the meadow of the world, listening to a park ranger explain what the cranes are doing.

And what are they doing? They dance. They are VERY busy finding luv’ and making babies.

Last year — a real winter — I saw cranes every month of the year, but this year, because it’s been so warm, there have been a lot more people out where I walk with the dogs. That has got to be at least as disturbing to the lingering cranes as it is to me.

Along with the advent of the cranes, in early March most of the wildlife area where we walk will close to allow geese and various other birds to nest unmolested. This will leave one small place for us to walk. The golf course usually opens around the time the wildlife area closes, signifying the arrival of my dogs’ and my least favorite seasons — spring and summer.

P.S. Rereading this, I guess I woke up on the curmudgeonly side of the bed this morning…

You can learn more about the Crane Festival here.

8 thoughts on “The Cranes of Monte Vista

  1. I think if I were a crane I’d still migrate, but I might find another meadow for my midway stop! How sad that your area has to shut down to protect the birds, but curious people are often oblivious to the needs of the wildlife whose home they ogle! There’s a stretch of beaches around Pt. Concepcion that are closed every year to protect the snowy plover nesting grounds — mostly on Vandenberg AFB land, but every year there are furious complaints about the reduction of beach space!

    • I’m OK with the birds being left to themselves. Everything opens again on July 15. Then, October 8, begins hunting season, again, the areas are mostly “closed” in the sense of “Enter at your own risk and wear brightly colored clothing.” Usually it gets too cold and the snow is too deep for most people, but this year we’ve had temps in the 40s in the day time. consider that in January it’s often -20 at night with a high of +10, you’ll see what I mean. I don’t mind the cold at all, but most people do so we usually have these places to ourselves. It’s been a difficult winter for Dusty T. Dog who, though friendly, is also very scary. If there are no people around, then there is a lot less tension. I am learning ( ha ha ) that I am not the only person on this planet. :p

      • I always wish that people would allow the birds their space without complaining — it’s hard not to disturb nests that sit on the sand, though. I’m sorry Dusty T. Dog is having a hard time — having too many people around is scary for most of us, especially these days!

      • Dusty has a loud frightening bark (he’s part Doberman) and he’s big and black. We had a good experience a few days ago with a human. The human was approaching and I asked if he liked dogs. He said he did. I let Dusty run to him and Dusty got a huge hug from the guy. Dusty was mistreated as a puppy and is very suspicious of people, especially men. He’s gotten over a lot of that living here where most people like dogs, but I never know. Dusty would not bite anyone but I don’t want him scaring people, either. 😦

      • Big, black — he’d probably scare me — but that doesn’t mean that I’d want him to be disturbed by numbers of people!

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