By Courtney Mullin
Rocky Mountain Sandhill Cranes have been traveling almost the same migratory route for thousands of years along the Rocky Mountain Range. Over 20,000 of them winter in Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico, and make their way north as the weather warms. One of their first stops is the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge in the San Luis Valley of south central Colorado where they stay for a couple weeks before making their way to Fruitgrowers Reservoir outside of Eckert.
Fruitgrowers Reservoir is a very special place because unlike most resting areas, the Reservoir is not protected to the same extent as a Wildlife Refuge. The Reservoir is controlled by the Bureau of Reclamation, but all the surrounding land is privately owned, which could have spelled disaster for the birds. Fortunately, landowners have done a terrific job caring for this area over the years and ensuring the cranes are protected.
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