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  • Sunset on the water with cranes / Ryan Hagerty ©

    Thriving on the Refuge

    From a low of 17 individual cranes on the refuge in 1940, the wintering population of sandhills is up to 17,000.

    Rocky Mountain Sandhill Crane

  • Rufous-necked wood rail / Jeffrey Gordon ©

    First Recorded Sighting

    Never before seen in the U.S., a Rufous-necked wood-rail made an appearance on the refuge this summer drawing birders around the world.

    Rufous-necked Wood-rail

  • Yucca view

    Wilderness Areas

    Bosque del Apache Refuge includes three designated wilderness areas: Chupadera Peak, Indian Wells & Little San Pasqual Wilderness Area.

    Designated by Congress

  • Coyote pup / Greg-Wright ©

    Get a Closer Look!

    Get up close and personal with some of the refuge's wild residents and the habitat they depend upon.

    Multimedia Gallery

  • American black bear / USFWS

    Fun Fact

    The color of black bears varies with most eastern bears' fur dark black but in the west they might be brown, cinnamon, or blond.

Saturday Morning Hike During April & May

Seasonal Canyon Hikes

View of refuge canyon

Join us Saturday mornings for a free, two mile, round-trip canyon hike on Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. This guided tour will help you see signs of refuge wildlife. For details, see the linked flyer. Reservations are required.

Canyon Hike Flyer


Band Number: 599-05468

Solo crane

This band was worn for 36 and a half years by a Rocky Mountain sandhill crane (RMSH). It is one of the oldest RMSHs known and the band it wore had limited wear for all that time in the wild. The bird was banded with its brood mate (a two-chick brood) on 29 June 1973, one mile north of Border, Wyoming on the Thomas Fork of the Bear River.

Frequent Flyer Miles


Did You Know?

A fossil of a crane was found in Nebraska that is estimated to be nearly 10 million years old. This makes cranes one of the oldest known species of birds in existence today.

About the NWRS

National Wildlife Refuge System


The National Wildlife Refuge System, within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, manages a national network of lands and waters set aside to conserve America’s fish, wildlife, and plants.

Learn more about the NWRS  

Follow NWRS Online


Enjoy Refuge Driving Tours This Month!

  • Weekend Bird Watching Tours

    Western meadowlark songbird

    We'll do the driving on these free, 2 hour, bird watching tours on Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge! Refuge staff will guide you to the birding hotspots every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoon! There is also an additional Saturday morning driving tour. Reservations are required, so please see our flyer linked below for details.

    Flyer - Bird Watching Driving Tours
  • Seeking Raptors!

    Red-tailed hawk in flight / Steve Valasek ©

    Reserve your place for a free, 2 1/2 hour Raptor Ramble drive on the refuge. Enjoy seeing red-tailed hawks and learning facts about a variety of raptor species seen on the refuge. These spring season tours are Friday and Sunday mornings. Transportation is provided by the refuge. For more information see the flyer linked below.

    Raptor Rample Tours Flyer
  • What birds are we seeing?


    We perform weekly counts of some of the birds visiting Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. Check the link below for the numbers.

    Weekly Waterfowl Survey
  • 2014 Festival of the Cranes

    2014 Festival of the Cranes design November 18, 2014

    Make plans to attend the 27th Annual Festival of the Cranes, November 18-23, 2014 at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. A variety of workshops, tours, lectures, hikes, special activities, and wildlife exhibitions will be offered each day of the Festival. Continue to check back on our website for the registration dates and don't miss out on this unique festival celebration! For more information, click below.

    Annual Crane Festival, November 18-23, 2014
Page Photo Credits — All photos courtesy of USFWS unless otherwise noted., Cranes in flight over vibrant sky, Sunset on the water with cranes / Ryan Hagerty ©, Red-tailed hawk in flight / Steve Valasek ©, Snow Geese / Larry Lamsa ©, Sandhill crane adult and chick / Richard Demier ©
Last Updated: Apr 19, 2014
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