I hit the road yesterday with a friend to check it out. We passed through the town of Tombstone (!) and up into the most beautiful golden grasslands that are peppered with yuccas in this part of the state, and eventually we coasted down into Whitewater Draw, run by the Arizona Department of Fish and Game.
As we neared the Draw, I looked up at the horizon and could make out shape-shifting, pixelated lines in the sky--flocks of cranes, soaring on thermals and flapping slowly south, towards the Draw. They head out in the morning to eat in the agricultural valleys and return to these safe havens, the wetlands, about mid-day.
I hit the gas peddle to make sure we made it to the Draw before they all had returned (it is a VW Golf Diesel--we weren't going anywhere fast!). Walking out to the berm along the draw, a few hundred feet away, the birds began circling in, by the tens, hundreds and thousands. With over six-foot wingspans, whirlwinds of birds swooped over us, dropping their long legs like landing gear, side-slipping to lose altitude, like falling leaves, and gently set themselves down. It took my breath away.