Let's Talk. 

For Wheeler Wildlife Refuge
Programs and Activities:

David R. Young, Park Ranger
Wheeler NWR

For WWRA Administration:
Phone Number:

(256) 350-6639

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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: How long at the Sandhill Cranes and Whooping Cranes at Wheeler NWR?


A: On average, cranes start arriving at the refuge in mid-November and leave in mid-February.  Peak crane numbers usually occur at the refuge in late December and early January.


Q: How and where can we see the cranes?


A:  The cranes are most easily observed from the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center.  Due to COVID-19 the visitor center and observation buildings are both closed.  However, the visitor center grounds, trails, and outdoor photo blinds are open to visitors from 9:00-5:00, 7/days per week, November through February.  Please stay on trails and do not enter closed areas (cranes are sensitive to human disturbance).  Bring a pair of binoculars for the best viewing experience.


Q: What's the best time of day to view the cranes?


A: Generally speaking, the largest number of cranes are present at the visitor center during the middle part of the day.  Cranes start arriving from their night roost shortly after sunrise and leave the visitor center area for their night roost in the late afternoon.  The cranes tend to leave the visitor center fields earlier in the afternoon on cloudy days.

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