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  • Sunset on the water with cranes

    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.


Festival of the Cranes

2013 Festival poster

Make plans to attend the 26th Annual Festival of The Cranes, Nov 19-24, 2013. Six great days of workshops, tours, lectures, hikes, special activities, and wildlife exhibitions. Register today and don't miss out on this unique festival celebration!

November 19-24, 2013

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



  • 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, WY on the Thomas Fork of the Bear River.

    Frequent Flyer Miles
  • 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 our most current numbers.

    Weekly Waterfowl Survey
  • 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.

Page Photo Credits — All photos courtesy of USFWS unless otherwise noted., Snow Geese / Larry Lamsa ©
Last Updated: Nov 12, 2013
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