This time of year, more than 20,000 sandhill cranes spend the nights in the Whitewater Draw Wildlife area, which is located about 25 miles east of Tombstone.

At dawn, the cranes leave the shallow waters of their safe haven to feed and socialize in the surrounding areas. Around mid-day, the birds return to roost for the night.

The mid-Continent cranes migrate through the central plains, staging on the Platte River both spring and fall, to wintering grounds in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, and Mexico. In mid-to late-February, the cranes leave to return to their nesting areas.

For a video of the cranes, go to

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