When black-necked cranes come to Bhutan, they bring winter. Every year these rare and gorgeous birds leave the Tibetan Plateau and pass the dangerous Himalayan peaks in order to reach their winter grounds in Bhutan and India.
There are several locations where the birds land, but Phobjikha Valley hosts the largest groups from the late October till the middle of February. It is almost impossible to get really close to cranes, so birdwatchers usually settle in the nearby areas with binoculars or visit the crane centre, where all necessary equipment is available for fine observation.
Black-necked cranes are famous for their mating dance, when both the female and male bow to each other with wings wide-open, leap in a synchronised rhythm and make loud clicking and bugling sounds.
In addition to visiting Phobjikha Valley for birdwatching, you can attend the Black-Necked Crane Festival held in the Gangteng Monastery in November. Local children dress in costumes of black cranes and simulate their dance during the festival. Meanwhile, real birds usually fly high in the sky above people's' heads.