Right now there are tens of thousands of migratory birds wintering at the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge. One of the best ways to see them is at the 27th annual Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival on Jan. 14-15 in the community of Birchwood in Meigs County. This is an impressive spectacle of many other species of wildlife besides the sandhills, including bald eagles, golden eagles, white pelicans, whooping cranes, and some land-based mammals. Events and programs will run from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. on both days.
The Festival is a two-fold celebration: First, visitors can experience many thousands of sandhill cranes that migrate through or spend the winter in and around the Hiwassee Refuge; secondly, it is an opportunity to focus attention on the rich Native American history of the area, especially the Cherokee Removal Memorial.
A full schedule of music, family entertainment and educational programs will be held at the Birchwood Elementary School, including children’s activities, vendors, festival sponsor exhibits, food, and storytelling. Don’t miss the live raptor show on Saturday (2 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.). The school library will offer continuous films and presentations about Tennessee wildlife. For more information go to www.tn.gov/twra/article/sandhill-crane-festival#sthash.bcHeiEP4.dpuf