ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (November 19, 2011)--From nesting grounds in Alaska and Idaho to the prairie potholes in Canada, thousands of migratory birds are headed south to their traditional winter watering holes in the American Southwest, but the drought that has ravaged wetlands and crops throughout Texas and New Mexico, is forcing the birds to fly off course in search of water and food.
In the Texas Panhandle, there's no standing water in any of the playas and officials at Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge haven't seen many birds.
That's why managers at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in south-central New Mexico are bracing for record numbers this fall and winter.
The refuge is one of the country's best-known spots for observing migrating waterfowl.
Thousands of people traveled to the refuge this week for the annual Festival of the Cranes.