Each place has its own beautiful flora and fauna that is worthy of celebration. It may be the wondrous landscape surrounding a small town or a big city with pocks of nature to please its inhabitants. Both tourists and locals can enjoy going on walks while admiring the beauty of nature. For other places, in addition to the plants and geography, there is also the awe-inspiring wildlife to look forward to. These places normally offer animal viewing and bird watching activities. This is the case for New Mexico’s wildlife refuge in Bosque Apache. The Bosque is found in Southern New Mexico and was established in 1939 and is protected by the USFWS. They are open all-year-round to both locals and guests to enjoy observing the various wildlife that takes refuge there. However, the wildlife refuge is most famous for its population of cranes. The migration activities of these graceful birds become the highlight of wildlife festival in New Mexico every November.
Bosque del Apache – Home of the Cranes
The Bosque Apache has been the venue for observing birds since 1981. The wildlife refuge is a protected habitat for 358 species of birds. The wetland terrain found in Bosque Apache is the preferred grounds of flocks of geese and cranes during the winters. The bodies of water in the reserve attracts various species of shorebirds, preying birds, and many waterfowl. Rare wandering bird species like Wood-Rail and the Groove-billed Ani can also be found there. Sandhill Cranes, one of the most numerous species variety found in Bosque Apache, is a subspecies of large cranes found in North America. Their name comes from the fact their favorite habitat are sandhills located near rivers. Every year, 450,000 cranes migrate across the country. Their migration activity is the focus of the yearly Festival of Cranes held in the wildlife refuge.
Enjoying the Festival of Cranes
Traveling to Socorro, New Mexico during the colder seasons is worth it because of the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge’s Annual Festival of Cranes. From the name of the festival, it celebrates the refuge’s Sandhill Cranes along with their yearly winter migration. Bird enthusiasts and nature lovers should not miss the view of thousands of cranes flying and flocking around Bosque Apache. The best viewing times during the festival is at the beginning and end of the day, that is, during dawn and dusk. During the early morning, the cranes form a magnificent view as they simultaneously fly to the sky for their foraging activities. The coming of the early evening signal the cranes’ return home and flying down to roost.
Other than bird viewing, the wildlife refuge also holds other kinds of events such as socializing, tours, and workshops. A popular attraction in Bosque del Apache is the view of the wildlife and the surrounding landscape while driving through their tour loop road. Guests can further enjoy the terrain and the warm weather of New Mexico in November by checking out nearby attractions like the Gila National Forest where beautiful bird species can be seen like peregrine falcons, bald eagles, red-tailed hawks.