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Sandhill Cranes with Pinau Merlin at Whitewater Draw Tour 2
February 7 @ 7:30 am - 5:00 pm MST$160 – $180
Just as exciting as the first Crane Tour, you never know what additional birds or other wildlife may show up! Join us for an unforgettable wildlife experience. One three ft tall Sandhill Crane is impressive. Thirty thousand Sandhill Cranes flying, calling, and flocking is a true spectacle of nature, evoking awe, wonder, and excitement! It touches us on a primordial level.
We meet at Tohono Chul at 7:15 am and board a coach for our trip to Whitewater Draw. The cranes, who left at dawn to feed in agricultural fields, begin arriving en masse to Whitewater Draw around noon, where they spend the rest of the day. The flight of thousands of canes circling, dropping from the sky, and settling down on the ground while calling the entire time is evocative of an American Serengeti!
As we meander along the water’s edge we’ll look at and interpret the crane’s gestures and body language to see what’s going on. Most of the cranes are in small family groups of parents with one or two young colts. We may see colts practicing their dance moves and mimicking adult behaviors. Occasionally a hunting eagle flying by, a coyote, or other predator will cause an uproar, with major crane liftoffs.
We’ll also explore and learn about the many other birds – ducks, harriers, shrikes, sora rails,red-winged blackbirds and other wildlife at Whitewater Draw. Plus, we will look for tracks and other natural opportunities that we’ll encounter – perhaps a hunting falcon.
Additional guides in the field will help identify birds, provide spotting scopes for close-up views, and assist beginners with the use of binoculars.
Please pack a sack lunch. Tohono Chul will provide snacks and water for the return journey. After an exciting day we board the bus to return to Tohono Chul by approximately 5 pm.
More about Pinau Merlin:
Pinau is a nationally known speaker and naturalist and is the author of several books (including the Guide to Desert Holes, Guide to Bird Nests and Eggs, and is a contributing author to the Natural History of the Sonoran Desert) as well as over 80 articles about the wildlife, natural history, and ecology of the Desert Southwest. Pinau taught natural history at the U of A and was the Outreach Coordinator for the UA/USFWS Jaguar Project. She also works on numerous nature documentary films (including BBC, National Geographic, and others) as a natural history consultant and critter wrangler.
Pinau has designed natural history centers, interpretive exhibits, nature trails, and wildlife habitats for a variety of organizations in the Southwest. Her insights and observations about the natural history and wildlife of the Sonoran Desert have been featured on PBS, NPR, and in Smithsonian and National Wildlife magazines, among many others. She is especially interested in the adaptive strategies of plants, birds, and wildlife and in interpreting animal language.