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Near-record Sandhill Crane count in Southeast Arizona

Posted: 2:43 PM, Jan 12, 2022
Updated: 2022-01-12 17:29:59-05
Sandhill Cranes in flight courtesy Homer Hansen

WILLCOX, Ariz. (KGUN) — The Arizona Game and Fish Department estimates a near-record count of the migratory Sandhill Cranes in Southeast Arizona.

The recent count showed more than 40,000 cranes in the Sulpher Springs and Gila River Valley near Willcox.

That is well above the five and ten year averages, but shy of last year's record total of 47,401.

Sandhill Cranes 2

The Sandhill Cranes were featured in an episode of Absolutely Arizona last winter.

Record number of iconic Sandhill Cranes in southeast Arizona

This year, Game and Fish estimates the Willcox Playa and Bonita areas have 8,692 cranes; and the Gila River Valley including San Simon has 1,454. The playa count includes more than 5,000 at Lake

Cochise just south of Willcox.

The Wings Over Willcox Birding & Nature Festival begins Thursday and runs through Saturday.