Before the greater sandhill cranes come to Northwest Colorado to nest and breed, they put on a show in the southern part of the state.
About 25,000 of the giant birds stop in the San Luis Valley every year from mid-February through March during their migration from New Mexico. In appreciation of the spectacle put on by the cranes each spring, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is teaming up with organizations and businesses to put on the 30th annual Monte Vista Crane Festival.
The festival, which goes from March 8 to 10, will feature free tours twice a day in the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge. It will also offer maps, schedules and workshops from bird and wildlife experts.
The 4-foot tall cranes will be engaged in their mating ritual during the festival, performing a hopping dance to gain the attention of other birds. By the end of March, most of the cranes will have migrated to their summer nesting grounds in Idaho, Wyoming and Northwest Colorado.
For more information, visit the festival’s website at www.cranefest.com.