If you haven’t seen a sandhill crane before, this might be the time to take a road trip to the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge near Vancouver, Washington.
The sandhill cranes are now arriving in the Vancouver Lowlands as they begin their annual migration. Hundreds of the large birds — with wingspans measuring up to 7 feet — will visit prime feeding and resting areas in the refuge before leaving for the long trip north to their breeding grounds in British Columbia.
Sometimes as many as 1,000 cranes en route from winter grounds in California will stop at the refuge in the late winter.
The refuge’s 4-mile auto tour route would be a good place to start looking for the cranes.
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Bring binoculars or spotting scopes if you have them.
The refuge is open daily 7 a.m.-6 p.m. There is a $3 entrance fee per vehicle. For more information, go to fws.gov/refuge/Ridgefield.