Red Crowns, Gray Cloaks Sandhill Crane Festival in Othello

Othello, Washington

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Sandhill cranes migrate northward through central Washington every spring, inspiring a festival in Othello in the Columbia Basin, where they stop to fatten up on grain and corn in the fields. If you want to take full advantage of the wonderful opportunities the Sandhill Crane Festival has to offer, arrive in Othello on Friday afternoon for a birding tour of the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge and Potholes Wildlife Area. Then proceed to Othello High School early Saturday morning to catch a bus for one of the first ninety-minute or three-hour viewing tours. Crane tours also run late Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. When you are out searching for sandhill cranes, stop and listen. You may hear their shrill, rolling, cackling “bugle” before you see them. These gray to rust-colored birds are easy to spot. They are 4 feet tall and have a distinctive bald red crown. In flight you can tell them by their outstretched necks and legs and 7-foot wingspan. Seeing hundreds of cranes flying overhead and hearing the wonderful sound they make is a thrilling combination you won’t soon forget.

Red Crowns, Gray Cloaks: Sandhill Crane Festival in Othello Professional Review and Guide

"Sandhill cranes migrate northward through central Washington every spring, inspiring a festival in Othello in the Columbia Basin, where they stop to fatten up on grain and corn in the fields. If you want to take full advantage of the wonderful opportunities the Sandhill Crane Festival has to offer, arrive in Othello on Friday afternoon for a birding tour of the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge and Potholes Wildlife Area. Then proceed to Othello High School early Saturday morning to catch a bus for one of the first ninety-minute or three-hour viewing tours. Crane tours also run late Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning.

When you are out searching for sandhill cranes, stop and listen. You may hear their shrill, rolling, cackling “bugle” before you see them. These gray to rust-colored birds are easy to spot. They are 4 feet tall and have a distinctive bald red crown. In flight you can tell them by their outstretched necks and legs and 7-foot wingspan. Seeing hundreds of cranes flying overhead and hearing the wonderful sound they make is a thrilling combination you won’t soon forget."

Activity Type: Birding
Nearby City: Othello
Duration: Up to a weekend
Best Times: Best mid-March to mid-April
Local Contacts: Sandhill Crane Festival
Driving Directions: Directions to Red Crowns, Gray Cloaks: Sandhill Crane Festival in Othello

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May 2018