Sandhill Crane Festival

Whether you’re an avid birder or you’ve never seen a Sandhill Crane before, the Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival represents an extraordinary opportunity to witness a natural phenomenon that is truly unforgettable.

January 13-14, 2017- Birchwood, TN Group of Sandhill Cranes

Schedule of Events

Vendor Application

The 26th Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival will be held Jan. 13-14 at the Birchwood Community Center.

TWRA is happy to host the 2018 Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival in Birchwood on January 13-14 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily. Olan Chlor will once again sponsor the event. The festival includes the popular American Eagle Foundation, recording artists 2ND Nature, a main speaker, folk singers and arts and craft vendors.

The Cherokee Memorial is once again hosting Native Americans folklorists and crafts throughout the weekend. This inspiring place evokes responsibility and remembrance of our acts as a nation. The memorial also serves as a place of celebration for a people still thriving with a rich tradition and culture. ​14th North American Crane Workshop annual meeting taking place in Chattanooga, prior to the festival. Crane researchers and conservationists from around North America will attend this prestigious event.

The Tennessee Aquarium is providing guided crane and eagle boat tours on the Hiwassee River.  Two hour tours offer a serene trip, where passengers will enjoy hearing not only about the various migratory and resident birds, but also about the Cherokee heritage in the region and historical Mississippian cultural sites that date back to 1,000 A.D. 

The entire region buzzes with birds and birdwatchers alike. Along with the star of the weekend, the Sandhill crane, many types of waterfowl, bald eagles, golden eagles, white pelicans and even whooping cranes are spotted each year. Free buses run the short distance from the Birchwood Community Center to the Hiwassee Refuge and Cherokee Removal Memorial. Both the memorial and refuge provide great birding opportunities, with views of the Hiwasseee. Volunteers and scopes are set up at each location to help novice birders or curious visitors. 

Beginning in the early 1990’s the recovering population of eastern Sandhill cranes began stopping at the Hiwassee Refuge as they migrated to and from their wintering grounds in Georgia and Florida. TWRA has been managing this refuge for more than 60 years for waterfowl. Therefore, cranes find a perfect combination of areas for feeding and roosting. As many as 12,000 cranes have been known to overwinter at the confluence of the Tennessee and Hiwassee Rivers.

The Tennessee Aquarium is now registering visitors for crane and eagle watching tours along the Hiwassee at:

Visit the Cherokee Removal Memorial’s Facebook page:

**Other Sandhill Crane Festival partners include the Tennessee Wildlife Federation, Tennessee Ornithological Society, Birchwood Area Society Improvement Council, Cherokee Removal Memorial Park, Cleveland State Community College, American Eagle Foundation, Chattanooga Chapter TOS, Meigs County Tourism, and Rhea County Tourism.

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