2019 FIRST CRANE SIGHTING CONTEST
Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition (CCCC) is pleased to announce the results of the 2019 First Crane Sighting Contest. And what an exciting contest it was! We received over 50 reports of crane sightings during the course of the contest from all over the Yampa Valley.
The cranes returned later than usual to the Yampa Valley this spring. As a result, we extended the contest through the first week of April. During the first week of March you could sense the worry and concern of crane lovers in the area and the lingering questions: “Where are the cranes? Are they ever coming back?” CCCC received a few calls from people in late February and early March stating, “I think I heard them” and “I saw a few cranes, but could not take a photo”. On February 27, we had the first report of a crane sighting from Sonja Macys who texted to say that she saw two cranes flying in the far distance near the Hayden Airport but she was unable to photograph them.
Then, finally, the cranes were back! On March 11, Robert Bruchez submitted the very first documentation of cranes in the Yampa Valley in 2019 – a video of cranes on his property in Hayden. This made him the Grand Prize Winner! Robert is one of our Crops for Cranes partners and “his” cranes loyally returned to his fields.
In addition to the Grand Prize (given to the person who spots and documents the very first crane seen that year in the Yampa Valley), the First Crane Sighting Contest awards a prize to each individual with the photo or video of the earliest sighting in West Routt, North Routt, South Routt, Steamboat Springs, Craig and West Moffat.
Entries with an asterisk (*) indicate that a photo is included in the photo gallery at the bottom of this page.
Here is the summary of the 2019 contest winners:
- Grand Prize:
Robert Bruchez – on 3/11/2019 in Hayden on CR 70
- West Moffat:
Dorothy Brown * – on 3/12/ 2019 just outside of Maybell
Michael Tucci * – on 3/12/19 in Craig by the Water Plant
- West Routt:
Selina Kostur * – on 3/13/2019 on CR 80 in Hayden
- Steamboat Springs:
Chris Becea * – on 3/20 2019 at 4:29 PM at the Steamboat II subdivision
- North Routt:
Jonathan Gibson – on 3/26/2019 on CR 54 in North Routt
- South Routt:
Rebecca de Boer * – on 3/28/2019 at the Catamount Touring Center
CCCC appreciates ALL the submissions that we received during the course of the contest. These reports help us learn more about the cranes’ migration patterns and help us in our mission of conserving and protecting Sandhill Cranes and their habitat in Northwest Colorado. While we are unable to post all of the photos and videos that we received, we do want to recognize all those who sent in crane reports during the course of the contest. Listed below are all the other participants in the First Crane Sighting Contest.
March 12: LaVan Madden reported cranes off CR 31 in the Craig area
March 16: Kathy Simpson * saw cranes north of Craig and submitted a beautiful photo
March 17: We received an email report from Ellen Bonnifield about a crane sighting just north of the town of Yampa
March 19: Anthony Maneotis * sent a photo of cranes that he spotted west of Craig
March 20: Megan Park * photographed cranes overlooking Elkhead Reservoir in W. Routt
March 21: Three sightings were reported:
- Ron and Sandra Kruczek emailed a report of cranes in Craig near the Water Treatment Plant road
- Harvey Goertz * sent photos of a crane in the Sherrod Ranch pasture, on CR 44
- Forrest Luke sent in a photo of cranes near Craig
March 22: Charity Nitzel * took a picture of the cranes in the Craig Area on CR 30
March 24: Jordan Williams * saw cranes about two miles south of the Hayden power plant
March 25: Four people sent in their photos:
- Nathan Browning saw cranes south of Craig
- Tavis Gleisner * saw cranes that landed in his yard also in the Craig area
- Anthony Rosso reported on cranes at CR 42 on the Selbe property
- Karen McNish saw cranes flying near the Yampa Valley Regional Airport
March 26: Three reports with photos and a video:
- Brian Grassby near his home in Riverside in Steamboat
- Mary Jo Brown sent us a video of the cranes by Loudy Simpson Park in Craig
- Toni Raftopoulos also saw the cranes in Craig
March 27: Two reports:
- Bobby Stewart reported cranes near the rest stop between Hayden and Craig
- Mark Stewart observed 6 cranes in a field near the Hayden power plant
March 28 was a busy reporting day with six entries:
- Jeff Greubel saw cranes near the Yampa River by Milner
- Jim McGee * photographed cranes West of Hayden
- Vance Halverson * took several photos of a pair of “squawking” cranes spotted on 20 Mile Road south of Steamboat
- Brenda Brazelton reported cranes about 8 miles west of Hayden
- Fred Fuller * saw a pair of cranes on CR 27, half a mile South of Hwy 40
- Lynn Halliday reported 8 cranes flying over her house near Cow Creek in Steamboat
March 29: Two reports
- Jennifer Fernley verbally reported 4 cranes flying near Stagecoach
- Laura Sharp * saw cranes in the Marabou subdivision
March 30: Two reports
- Cindy Chotvacs * identified cranes North of Maybell about half way to Sunbeam
- Meg Walker * was happy to see several cranes by the “Welcome to Hayden” entrance sign
March 31: Laura Cordier recorded cranes on her property on River Road in Steamboat
April 1: Kristi O’Neal emailed a report of cranes near the rest area between Hayden and Craig
April 2: Two reports
- Joan Heimbach took a photo of two cranes off CR 44 near the Elk River by Cullens Corner
- Jack Legrice * found a pair of cranes on Highway 40 about 6 miles east of Hayden
April 4: Three reports:
- Robert Dowski photographed cranes in a field by River Road and CR 22 in Steamboat
- Mattie Bork * saw a pair of cranes at the entrance to Elk River Estates off CR 129.
- Shaney McCoy * spotted two cranes hanging out with ducks and geese near the junction of HWY 131 and River Rd.
The last day for reporting was April 5:
- Carrie Huitt * and Chuck Reuben submitted a photo of cranes taken in Elkins Meadows Wetland Preserve
Thanks to all of you who sent in your first crane sightings! We hope to see you at our 8th Annual Yampa Valley Crane Festival August 29-September 1, 2019.