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For the birds: Arizona Game and Fish Department live streaming Sandhill cranes

(Facebook Photo)

PHOENIX — Sandhill cranes have started their return to Arizona for the winter season, and you won’t even have to leave your house to get a glimpse of these magnificent birds.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is once again live streaming the Sandhill cranes from their wintering grounds at Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area using its “Crane Cam.”

The live stream runs through March or early April and is one of just two of its kind nationwide that shows the cranes’ wintering habits.

“Now is the perfect time to watch these magnificent birds as they winter in Arizona,” said Randy Babb, watchable wildlife program manager for the AZGFD. “This live-streaming camera allows the public to have an unfiltered view of our state’s wildlife. It also allows the department to connect the public with wildlife.”

The best time to view the birds is 30 minutes before or after sunrise, which marks the start of feeding time, according to AZGFD. Sandhill cranes generally return to the area around noon and remain there for the rest of the day.

Viewers that don’t catch a glimpse of the birds on the crane cam are encouraged to routinely check back in, especially during the early winter when the birds are creating a routine.

The Sandhill crane cam is funded through the Wildlife Conservation Fund, which comes from tribal gaming and the Wildlife Viewing Program.

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