/ Modified jan 13, 2023 5:12 p.m.

More than 41,000 sandhill cranes in Southern Arizona

Arizona birders can see the cranes in person at the annual Wings over Willcox Bird & Nature Festival.

Sandhill Crane flying Sandhill cranes begin their migration in Southern Arizona.
Provided by the Arizona Game and Fish Department

More than 41,358 migratory sandhill cranes have made their way to southern Arizona and are now in the Sulphur Springs and Gila River valleys.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department holds an annual sandhill crane count that coincides with the Wings Over Willcox Birding & Nature Festival. This is the 30th year of the festival and birders from all over the state make their way to see the great gathering of sandhill cranes.

However, the cranes are widely dispersed due to higher water levels, with its largest concentration at an AZGFD wildlife area near Tombstone.

Cranes typically arrive mid-September to early October and will begin their departure starting mid-February to head as far away as Siberia.

To see a live look, head to the AZGFD’s sandhill crane cam. It is recommended that the best time to view the camera is just before sunrise until an hour afterwards.

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