Sandhill Cranes Return To Southeastern Arizona

Sandhill cranes [Photo courtesy Arizona Dept. Of Game and Fish]

PHOENIX — If you can’t get to the Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area in southeastern Arizona to see the Sandhill cranes, for the next few months, you can observe them on a live-streaming camera installed by the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

The Sandhill cranes, which have returned by the thousands, can be viewed at

The cranes will begin to leave the wildlife area between late February and the middle of March. By April, all of the birds will be on their way to their northern nesting grounds, some as far away as Siberia.

“Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area has once again sprung to life with thousands of sandhill cranes,” said Jeff Meyers, the department’s watchable wildlife program manager. “It’s truly a pleasure to offer this unfiltered view of our state’s wildlife directly to the public, giving them a chance to see the migration of this species in action.”

The best time to view the cranes is 30 minutes before and after sunrise, just before they leave to feed for the morning. The leggy birds generally return to the wildlife area before noon, where they will remain for the rest of the day. With the camera being outfitted with infrared technology, viewers also can observe the cranes at night.

There are 15 species of cranes scattered across the globe. Two species of cranes are found in North America — sandhill, the most abundant species, and the endangered whooping crane.

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