60,000 birds take flight during New Mexico Festival of Cranes

Community Reports

SOCORRO, N.M. (KRQE) – There are few moments in this life that are truly awe-inspiring. If you go to the Bosque Del Apache this week, you’ll likely experience one during the 32nd annual Festival of the Cranes.

“When they bond, the cranes, they sometimes touch beaks at the end of it, it’s almost like a kiss I mean how can you not love that sort of thing.”

John Olson, Wildlife Photographer and Volunteer

Long-time Friends of the Bosque volunteer, Vietnam Veteran, and wildlife photographer, John Olson, says this time of year, the wildlife refuge is full of surprises. From family units of Sandhill Cranes, to giant flocks of Snow Geese, and huddled murmurings of blackbirds, experiencing thousands of birds in one place is almost indescribable.

Olson is colorblind and says when editing his photos all he does is fix the exposure, and crop them to avoid discoloring the pictures. It allows the photos he takes to take viewers right into the moment they were captured. When asked his tips for photography, Olson says “practice, practice, practice.”

Between 3,000 and 5,000 human visitors are expected to attend the 32nd annual event, but that’s nothing compared to the nearly 60,000 birds expected by peak season in mid-December.

The festival is a chance to get up close and personal with some of the world’s oldest migrating creatures, and an opportunity to brush up on your photography skills with workshops, classes, and photo tours all around the Bosque del Apache.

Perhaps most importantly of all, the festival offers people a chance to marvel at something truly spectacular, and to be reminded of New Mexico’s natural beauty.

Whether you’re a long time birder, or brand new to the hobby, Bosque del Apache rangers hope you’ll join them for the festival from November 20 to the 23.

Photos from 32nd annual Festival of Cranes

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