The Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge near Socorro, New Mexico is a mixture of working farmland and wildlife sanctuary. It is well known among bird watchers as a stopover on the north-south migration patterns for many species.
I spent a weekend in the area in December 2002, primarily to see the magnificent Sand Hill Cranes. Although I am not usually one to be up before sunrise, I had to make an exception in order to watch the cranes wake up and begin their day.
The cranes roosted overnight in a shallow pond, for protection from predators such as the many coyotes in the area. As the sun came up, they began to awake and almost immediately squabbles and fights broke out between birds that had just spent a peaceful night next to one another. Soon, individuals begin to take off for their daily search for food. Before long, the whole flock had disappeared and the pond was empty.
For more information about U.S. National Parks in general, visit the web site of the National Park Service. For more information about Bosque del Apache, including when various species of birds are in residence, visit the Friends of the Bosque web site.