The Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, fondly known as "The Bosque," is in New Mexico near the small town of San Antonio, NM, 9 mi. south of Socorro, and less than an hour and a half from Albuquerque.
Sandhill Cranes, Snow Geese and many other migrating birds make the Bosque their winter home in beautiful New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment with incomparable sunsets, delicate multicolored mountains, intense blue skies and special light.
Bosque del Apache translates as "Woods of the Apache." Native Americans often camped at this river-side forest, and the area was occupied by Pueblo Peoples for centuries before the Spanish explorers established the Camino Real (the Royal Road from Mexico City to Santa Fe) in the sixteenth century. The Camino Real ran right through the present-day Refuge.
The Refuge is 57,331 acres located along the Rio Grande, and is located at the northern edge of the Chihuahuan desert, and straddles the Rio Grande. The heart of the Refuge is about 12,900 acres of moist bottomlands--3,800 acres are active floodplain of the Rio Grande and 9,100 acres are areas where water is diverted to create extensive wetlands, farmlands, and riparian forests. The rest of Bosque del Apache NWR is made up of arid foothills and mesas, which rise to the Chupadera Mountains on the west and the San Pascual Mountains on the east. Most of these desert lands are preserved as wilderness areas.
Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bosque del Apache NWR is an important link in the more than 500 refuges in North America. According to the U.S. F & W, their goal "is to provide habitat and protection for migratory birds and endangered species and provide the public with a high quality wildlife and educational experience."
Please see a great Fish & Wildlife Video about the Bosque del Apache National Wildlfie Refuge on a separate page, provided courtesy of PublicResource.org. It is a wonderful video, also posted on YouTube. Please see it by clicking here Click here to see it!.
The Refuge is an important wintering home for Sandhill Cranes, and will host as many as 14,000 during the winter months. Cranes will begin arriving in November, and will leave as late as the end of February, heading for Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge and Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge for a month or two before migrating onwards to Greys' Lake, Idaho, their breeding grounds.
The Bosque provides a critical Refuge for Sandhill Cranes and other migratory birds, providing food, protection and shelter. The Bosque is a critical habitat for a large number of resident birds and wildlife as well.
The Bosque is also home to over 32,000 Snow Geese and Ross Geese, dozens of Bald Eagles and Goldens, Great Blue Herons, Occasional Pelicans, Avocets, and many, many other birds. This beautiful Refuge is also home to small herds of Mule Deer and families of Coyotes. Seeing the sunset "Fly In" and the dawn "Fly Out" is an experience you will never forget! If you are lucky you can also see what we call "Puffs" of Snow Geese, thousands rising into the air, sometimes within 10- 20 feet of you. The sound of wings and the sound of geese talking is a fantastic, primordial experience, guaranteed to "wow" you out of your worries and "wow" you out of your own body, and guaranteed to lift your soul to join them.