Annual first greater sandhill crane spring sighting contest underway in Yampa Valley |

Annual first greater sandhill crane spring sighting contest underway in Yampa Valley

Craig Press staff report
Greater sandhill cranes will soon fill the Yampa Valley with their distinctive calls.
Courtesy photo

The return migration of the greater sandhill cranes to the Yampa Valley has begun. Cranes are leaving their winter homes in New Mexico and Arizona and heading north.

“We can expect the first arrivals here in the Yampa Valley sometime during the first or second week of March,” said Nancy Merrill, Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition president, in a news release.

CCCC — presenter of the annual Yampa Valley Crane Festival, set for Aug. 29 through Sept. 1 — is once again sponsoring the First-Crane-Sighting-of-the-Season contest.

To participate, document sightings of the first greater sandhill crane spotted in the Yampa Valley by emailing a photo or video to Be sure to include the date, time, and location of the sighting, as well as the photographer’s name and mailing address.

A prize will be awarded to each individual with the photo or video of the earliest sighting in West Routt, North Routt, South Routt, Steamboat Springs, Craig, and West Moffat. A grand prize will be given for the overall earliest sighting across the valley.

Winners will be notified at the end of March, and winning photos and videos will be posted at

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