Sandhill Cranes at Whitewater Draw - McNeal, Arizona

Sandhill Cranes at Whitewater Draw - McNeal, Arizona

Posted by Keith Peters on Jan 19th 2021

Please check out our Fine Art Photography we captured on this tripWhitewater Draw

Whitewater Draw is located in southeastern Arizona within the Chihuahuan desert just outside of Bisbee. In 1997 the Arizona Fish & Game Department purchased this cattle ranch and made substantial improvements, including managing the available water, creating marshland, mudflats, and several ponds surrounded by native vegetation. These improvements have created an oasis in the desert, making this location very different from surrounding irrigated fields.

During the winter months, up to 30,000 Sandhill cranes travel to this location from as far away as Siberia. The mudflats and open water provide the cranes with their ideal roosting conditions. To support the ever-increasing number of birds, the Arizona Fish & Game department pays local farmers to plant feed crops for the birds, providing a reliable food source, encouraging the birds to return year after year.

During our visit in the last two weeks of 2020, there were rain and snow showers in the surrounding area. In the distance, the rain clouds provided us a combination of white clouds during the day and spectator sunsets in the evenings.