A favorite annual DWR bird watching event is finally here and the DWR says it is also an opportunity to learn about the importance of wildlife management. The sandhill crane viewing event is being held tomorrow, September 28th. From 7 to 9am spotting scopes will be set up at the Jensen Nature Park and at 5pm there will be an auto tour leave from the Uintah County Library to the crane’s roosting grounds at Pelican Lake and the Ouray National Wildlife Refuge. Sandhill cranes are unique and interesting birds that cause some challenges for local farmers. During the winter months, sandhill cranes flock to fields, pastures, grasslands, and wetlands before returning to roost along riverbanks and shallow lakes at night. They are opportunistic eaters, grazing on plants, grains, insects, snakes, and mice, shares the Division of Wildlife Resources. For farmers, this can be frustrating as the cranes can damage crops by digging up tubers and agricultural seed. “Changes in weather patterns may mean a significant increase in the number of birds that become permanent residents of the area, especially in the winter months,” shares conservation outreach manager Tonya Kieffer-Selby. “This of course is excellent for bird watchers, but can prove to be troublesome for local farmers. We understand the frustration local farmers have with these birds. In addition to viewing cranes, we hope the event will help teach the public about the importance of wildlife management.” The DWR has been working with Fish and Wildlife Services and the Pacific Flyway Council to offer hunting permits in the Basin.