Cibola Wildlife Refuge was established in 1964 to channel the Colorado River to prevent flooding. This 18,000+ acre refuge created marshes and backwaters that have become wintering grounds for migratory waterfowl. It lies in the southwestern part of Arizona, just North of Yuma.
When we were there they had ‘drained the swamp’, if you will, or the marshes to be more specific for maintenance. As a result, there were very few sandhill cranes. The stunning number of red winged and yellow headed blackbirds more than made up for it though. It seems where the cranes weren’t the blackbirds had the corn field to themselves and were there is hoards.
They were mesmerizing to watch as they swarmed between corn fields, filling the air with red, black, and gold.
It truly was a sight to see. Besides blackbirds we watched teals, hawk, and a few sandhill crane.
If we were to go back, it would be worth dragging a boat to see what might lurk in the grasses along Cibola Lake, which opens March 15. We had thought we could launch from the Oxbow Campground, but with all the maintenance taking place, the ramps were steep and difficult to use. Next time.