By Karen Huwe
The Times 

Around the Valley : with Karen Huwe


March 31, 2022

Karen Huwe

A little beyond the valley you can see over a thousand sandhill cranes at the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge outside of Othello, Washington. At Royal Lake, thousands of snow geese are on the water where a female ready to lay eggs will feed for up to eighteen hours a day on cattails and aquatic vegetation.

Parts of the Columbia NWR are closed from February 1 to April 30 so the sandhill cranes will not be disturbed. The cranes feed in fields of waste corn in the early mornings and early evenings to gather and store fat energy so they can continue their flight to Alaska. When not feeding they gather at places like Marsh Unit 1 which is near water and closed to hikers. If you like seeing birds in their habitat, take a road trip. You will also see swans, pelicans, ducks and numerous smaller birds.


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