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.
Snow geese at sunrise
Snow geese with sandhill cranes in background at sunrise
The 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.
The sandhill crane’s wingspan is about six and one-half feet.
Cranes are sometimes confused with the much smaller herons which fly with their neck curved instead of straight.
Cranes 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.
Sandhill cranes migrate south in family groups consisting of mated pairs and their offspring.
Sandhill cranes can live up to 20 years.
This should qualify as a gaggle of snow geese.
Geese sometimes fly in organized formations such as this.
Preparing for take-off.
Male Northern Shoveler Duck
The large bill of this duck has comb-like projections along the edges to strain food from the water.
Male Pintail Ducks
Sandhill 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.