Sandhill cranes, mountain goats focus of viewings

(Ron Stewart/Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)
You can see and hear sandhill cranes at this year’s Sandhill Crane Day.
Story by Standard-Examiner staff
April 16, 2013
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Sandhill cranes are in Northern Utah in good numbers right now, and opportunities to see and hear the giant birds abound.

One of the best places to experience sandhill cranes is the Ogden Bay Waterfowl Management Area west of Hooper.

To help you experience the birds, the Division of Wildlife Resources and the Wild About Birds Nature Center are teaming up to hold a special Sandhill Crane Day. The free viewing event, scheduled for Saturday at Ogden Bay, will be a great opportunity to see sandhill cranes and hear their bone-rattling calls echo across the landscape.

If you’d like to participate, meet at 8 a.m. at the Wild About Birds Nature Center, located at 1986 N. Hill Field Road in Layton. To reach the center, exit Interstate 15 at Exit 332, and turn east on Antelope Drive. Head east until you reach the intersection with Hill Field Road. The store is at the southeast corner of the intersection.

From the center, you’ll follow expert birder Bill Fenimore and DWR Regional Conservation Outreach Manager Phil Douglass to Ogden Bay.

Douglass said sandhill cranes were once a rare sight in the United States, but they’ve made a strong comeback thanks to habitat protection and other conservation work.

For more information about the event, call 801-779‑2473.

If birds aren’t your thing, now is also prime time for viewing mountain goats in Utah. You can see and learn more about the goats at a free wildlife-viewing event, also scheduled for Saturday, at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon in Salt Lake City.

Bob Walters, Watchable Wildlife coordinator for the DWR, says April is one of the best months to see the goats.

In addition to seeing the goats, kids can participate in a free activity. The event will be held at the Park-and-Ride lot at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon, where DWR biologists will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. To reach the canyon, travel east from Sandy on 9400 South.

“You’ll get a front-row look at these agile rock climbers using spotting scopes and binoculars that we’ll provide,” Walters said. “You can also pick up a poster and a card that will teach you more about mountain goats, and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.”

Mountain goat horns and fur will also be available for visitors to pick up and handle. Also, from 9 a.m. to noon, kids will be able to stamp their own goat tracks using ink stamps and paper.

If you’d like to see the goats before Saturday, swing by the parking lot any time during the day. Fixed-point telescopes are available in the lot for up-close viewing of the goats. After mid-April, the goats head to higher elevations to spend the summer.

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OGDEN NATURE CENTER

The Ogden Nature Center is located at 966 W. 12th St. in Ogden. For more information, visit www.ogdennaturecenter.org or call 801-621-7595.

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