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Festival of the Cranes landing in Decatur

DECATUR – More than 14,000 Sandhill cranes and several pairs of whooping cranes will be heading to Decatur for the winter.

To celebrate the annual migration, the Wheeler Wildlife Refuge Association is hosting the Festival of the Cranes – a three-day event featuring indoor and outdoor activities. The festival is Jan. 13-15 with activities at the refuge and downtown Decatur.

The festival is for anyone, regardless of their birding experience.There are activities for experienced birders, for those with little to no birding knowledge and for anyone who would like to learn more about birding and other wildlife that call the refuge home.

During the weekend, guests can visit the refuge’s observation building to view thousands of Sandhill cranes along with several Whooping cranes, ducks, geese, raptors and perhaps a bald eagle. There are bleachers and spotting scopes available along with volunteers and staff standing by to answer questions. Visitors are encouraged to bring a camera and binoculars.

Additional activities include a morning walk to see cranes and other waterfowl in their natural habitat, an introduction to birding and outdoor walk around the visitor center grounds and a periodic art demo by Alabama artist Timothy M. Joe.

The Princess Theatre, Cook Museum of Natural Science, Old State Bank, Carnegie Visual Art Center, Decatur Public Library and Alabama Center for the Arts are also hosting events in conjunction with the festival. The events include a concert by Three On A String, a science show by magician and environmentalist Steve Trash, live raptor shows, latest news on crane conservation, watercolor workshops and much more.

For more information, including a schedule of events, visit www.friendsofwheelernwr.org/festival-of-the-cranes-2023 or follow Wheeler Wildlife Refuge Association – WWRA on Facebook for the latest updates.

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