The 2013 Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival THANKS YOU for attending and making our weekend a huge success!!
January 19-20, 2013
Thank you for much for attending the 2013 Tn Sandhill Crane Festival. It was a terrific weekend. Beautiful weather, many smiling faces and lots of wildlife. This extraordinary concentration of Tennessee’s tallest birds occurs every November through February, and viewing is always open to the public at the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency’s Hiwassee Refuge in East Tennessee. So if you didn’t get a chance to join us at the Festival plan a trip on down to Hiwassee some time soon and enjoy these most watchable species of wildlife!
Why do We Celebrate?
It is only since the 1990s that tens of thousands of Sandhill Cranes have been migrating through and wintering in Tennessee, and no other wildlife gathering in the state compares to seeing thousands of these birds, with a magnificent 6-foot wingspan, cruising overhead! A few Whooping Cranes usually accompany the Sandhills and Bald Eagles are regularly seen from the gazebo at the Hiwassee Refuge.
Dinner with Darwin
Each year during the Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival a fund raiser is held. To draw attention to our conservation efforts, we invite famous “wildlife experts” to lecture in their area of expertise.
A rare Asian Hooded Crane, normally seen only in Southeast Asia, China and Japan, apparently “took a wrong turn” and joined Sandhill Cranes wintering at the Hiwassee Refuge during the winter of 2011-2012, bird experts say, drawing over 2,000 curious birdwatchers from 42 states and 7 countries along with it. He’s not been seen this season but you never know what will fly in to Hiwassee.
Our objective is to share the spectacle of these majestic birds and provide a potentially life-changing wildlife experience for visitors. We also want to build awareness for the need to provide adequate habitat and management for the thousands of Sandhill Cranes that winter and migrate through Tennessee, as well as for the Endangered Whooping Cranes that regularly accompany them.
—Melinda Welton, Festival Co-chair