published Thursday, January 10th, 2013

Tennessee Wild offers sandhill cranes sneak peek

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    Staff photo by Jake Daniels/Chattanooga Times Free Press A pair of sandhill cranes soars above the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge.

The annual Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival won't happen until next weekend, Jan. 19-20, but Tennessee Wild will offer a preview Saturday, Jan. 12.

The sandhill crane migration is one of Tennessee's grandest wildlife spectacles. The birds gather by the thousands each winter at the Hiwassee Refuge about an hour north of Chattanooga. Participants in Saturday's Tennessee Wild outing will depart from Starbucks at 2217 Hamilton Place Blvd. shortly after 10 a.m. and carpool/caravan to the refuge.

"We expect to see lots of cranes and will probably see bald eagles and lots of ducks," organizers report in a news release.

Tennessee Wild will have a spotting scope to view the birds. Organizers recommend that participants bring their own binoculars if they have them.

The group will be at the site from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Participants may bring a bag lunch and beverage.

For more information, call Jeff Hunter at 322-7866 or email Jeff@wildsouth.org. To register, go to the Tennessee Wild meetup page at www.meetup.com/tennessee-wild. View other outings at tnwild.org.

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