Where are the Birds?


Last week my husband and I went to Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. It’s a major wintering spot for Sandhill cranes and snow geese among many other waterfowl types.

The Sandhills and snow geese hang out there or in the other near-by (as the crane flies) agricultural fields along the Rio Grande. I have been there when great flocks of cranes will fly in at dusk for roosting for the night. 

Thousands of birds descending from the sky into the fields. This is a popular time for people to watch the cranes. 

Bald eagles hang out, looking for sick or injured birds. It’s an impressive sight. 

This year, while we were in the visitors center, warming up from our cold outside viewing and checking out the feeders there for smaller birds, I over heard a conversation by one of the rangers. She was on the phone with someone who didn’t understand the ways of wild critters. 

“No ma’am, the cranes have been arriving after dark this week.”

“We don’t know where they are at night.”

“There are lots of cranes here right now that can be seen on the drives.”

“No, we don’t know when the cranes will fly into the refuge at night. Sometimes they wait until after dark to arrive.”

I could picture the caller, confused, trying to figure out when the cranes would be at the refuge to be viewed. Why couldn’t the birds stick to a human schedule? If the birds were going to be at the refuge, why weren’t they there when the caller was planning on being there? 

Ah, the wiles of nature and things that do not live by a schedule. Do you have unscheduled time in your life? Maybe some wildness too? 

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