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Steamboat Magazine

The Art of Cranes

07/05/2023 07:00AM ● By Ski Town Media
(Sandhill cranes are known for their courtship dance, which is a display of jumping, wing-flapping and bowing. Courtesy of The Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition / Audrey Bortz.) 

From the Steamboat Springs Visitors' Guide Summer 2023

The greater sandhill crane has become an iconic species of the Yampa Valley as they return each spring after wintering in New Mexico and Arizona. This summer, The Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition hosts the Yampa Valley Crane Festival Thursday-Sunday, Aug. 31-Sept. 3. The festival features guided crane viewings and bird walks, speakers, workshops, children’s activities and artistic events.

Budding or seasoned photographers can submit their crane pictures for the annual photo contest; the awards ceremony takes place during the festival. A nature-journaling workshop is offered with author Ellen Bonnifield and artist Cindy Wither, and the sketch-a-bird workshop is led by local artist Leslie Lovejoy. 

Twenty-five local artists donate their time and talent to decorate a “naked” crane and turn it into a one-of-a-kind treasure in the Yard Art Crane Display on the library lawn. The finished cranes will be exhibited and auctioned off at  

Be sure not to miss the Spirit Wind Aerial Arts performance – these crane-inspired flying dancers will perform high above the library lawn on silk ropes. For a complete list of events and to sign up for workshops and more, visit