The Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival is this weekend, and sponsors are celebrating the event’s 25th anniversary.
The festival takes place Saturday and Sunday at the Hiwassee Refuge. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is the primary sponsor.
The agency says thousands of sandhill cranes migrate through or spend the winter on and around the Hiwassee Refuge in Birchwood, which is about 35 miles northeast of Chattanooga. The agency says the festival is also a chance to focus on the state’s wildlife heritage and the area’s Native American history.
Eastern sandhill cranes began in the early 1990s to stop at the Hiwasse Refuge on their way to and from wintering grounds in Georgia and Florida. The agency says up to some 12,000 of the birds now winter at the confluence of the Hiwassee and Tennessee rivers.