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An annual Sandhill Crane Festival is held there in November. Still, sandhill cranes are amply documented from fossil and subfossil remains right to the modern era. Sandhill cranes are fairly social birds that usually live in pairs or family groups through the year.

One place this happens is at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, 100 mi (160 km) south of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Glaciation seemingly fragmented off a founder population of lesser sandhill cranes, because during each major ice age, its present breeding range was frozen year-round. The southern migratory population would then represent a later re-expansion, which (re-)evolved their migratory habits independent from the northernmost birds, the geographically separated populations expanding rapidly when more habitat was available as the last ice age ended.

The chicks remain with their parents until one to two months before the parents lay the next clutch of eggs the following year, remaining with them 10–12 months.

After leaving their parents, the chicks form nomadic flocks with other juveniles and nonbreeders.

Mammals such as foxes, raccoons, coyotes, wolves, cougars, bobcats, and lynx hunt them given any opportunity, the first three mainly hunting large numbers of young cranes, the latter four types more rarely taking full-grown cranes in ambush excepting the prolific bobcat.

Corvids, such as ravens and crows, gulls, and smaller raptors such as hawks (largely northern harriers or red-tailed hawks) feed on young cranes and eggs.

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