Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico

Boscue del Apache NWR is located in south-central New Mexico, near Socorro. Many thousands of waterfowl and wading birds, including snow geese, a variety of ducks and sandhill cranes spend the winter here. It is also a popular winter destination for bird watchers and wildlife photographers, including myself. These photos were made the 29th and 30th of January, 2006, on my third visit to the refuge and the first using a digital SLR camera instead of a film SLR.

IMGP2486Snow geese at sunrise

IMGP2499Snow geese with sandhill cranes in background at sunrise

IMGP2606The sandhill crane is a very large wading bird standing almost 4 feet tall, however its near relative, the endangered whooping crane is about 10 inches taller.

IMGP2554The sandhill crane’s wingspan is about six and one-half feet.

IMGP2590Cranes are sometimes confused with the much smaller herons which fly with their neck curved instead of straight.

IMGP2335Cranes feed in marshes and grain fields and eat mostly grains and seeds. They are omnivorous however, and will eat insects, other invertebrates and small vertebrates.

IMGP2579Sandhill cranes migrate south in family groups consisting of mated pairs and their offspring.


IMGP2279Sandhill cranes can live up to 20 years.


IMGP2519This should qualify as a gaggle of snow geese.

IMGP2430Geese sometimes fly in organized formations such as this.

IMGP2528Preparing for take-off.


IMGP2380Male Northern Shoveler Duck

IMGP2374The large bill of this duck has comb-like projections along the edges to strain food from the water.

IMGP2272Male Pintail Ducks

IMGP2479Sandhill cranes, snow geese and ducks at sunset on the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.

All images on this site are © Copyrighted by Larry D. Brown and may not be reproduced in any manner without permission.

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