Thousands of sandhill cranes winter at Bosque del Apache from November through February. They spend the nights in long lined formations standing safely away from shore in the middle of three large shallow ponds on the refuge. Every morning as the sun rises over the distant mountains, they walk towards the warmth in small groups until they break into a run, lift off, and then head out to the planted fields to spend the day feeding.
They’ll migrate from field to field over the course of the day, enjoying a mix of grains. Then as dusk approaches they all begin to head back to their select ponds to spend the evening.
I captured these four in the late afternoon. I was standing high on the edge of the field and caught them shortly after take off while they were still relatively close to the ground, which accounts for the eye level view.
From 1. PITTS GALLERY