Tag Archive | birds calgary blog

Sunday Showcase: Birds of the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary

Yesterday I posted Tony LePrieur’s photos of the damage at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, and some of the birds he saw there. Here are more of his shots of birds at the sanctuary, all taken in early June 2014.


Baltimore Oriole.


Common Goldeneye with chicks.


Red-tailed Hawk.


Red-tailed Hawk.


Western Wood-Pewee.


House Finch.


Northern Flicker.


Spotted Sandpiper.


Warbling Vireo.


Tree Swallow.


Downy Woodpecker.


Double-crested Cormorants.


Blue-winged Teal.


American Robin, possibly banded at the sanctuary.


Wood Ducks.

A Visit to the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary

Posted by Bob Lefebvre

A lot of Calgary birders have been wondering when the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary will re-open. It was badly damaged in last June’s flood, and work to repair the damage is set to begin this summer. Unfortunately the sanctuary won’t be re-opening until the summer of 2015. But the Nature Centre is still open, including for school groups, and people are able to book free guided walks through parts of the site to see how it looks, and see that the wildlife is indeed still there. The one-hour tours are being offered until September 14.

You can book tours online through the City of Calgary Parks website or by calling 311 for information.

Recently Tony LePrieur went through the sanctuary on a couple of days and got many photos of the damage and the birds. First, the damage:

IBS (1)







IBS (3)

IBS (2)


So there is a lot still to be cleaned up, almost a full year after the flood.

Here are a few of the birds (and a mammal) that Tony saw. I will post more of his photos tomorrow.

Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole.

Canada Goose (3)

Canada Geese with goslings.


Red-tailed Hawk.

Eastern Kingbird

Eastern Kingbird.

Mule Deer

Mule Deer.

Wood Duck

Wood Ducks. Still there, and hard to find elsewhere in the city.

Least Flycatcher

Warbling Vireo.

Hooded Merganser

Hooded Merganser.

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl and Black-billed Magpie.

Weaselhead Hummingbirds

The most reliable place to find hummingbirds in the city is the Weaselhead Nature Area in the SW. Tony LePrieur photographed both Rufous and Calliope Hummingbirds there, as well as other birds, on May 31, 2014.


Calliope Hummingbird – our smallest bird species.


Rufous Hummingbird.

Here’s a link to a previous post that shows where these birds nest.

Other birds of the Weaselhead:


American Goldfinch.


Swainson’s Hawk.


Yellow Warbler.


Cliff Swallow at nest.


Cliff Swallows. They collect mud for their nests.


American Wigeon.

What’s Being Seen in Calgary?

Posted by Bob Lefebvre

How do you find out about bird sightings in Calgary? Many trip reports and most rarities and  unusual sightings are posted on the Albertabird Discussion Group. You can subscribe to get emails of the posts, or check it online regularly to see what is being reported. The Alberta Birds Facebook group is another great resource where you can see which species are being photographed in Alberta.

eBird has several search tools which allow you to search for specific birds, or Explore Hotspots or Locations to see what’s been reported there.

But there is also a great tool called BirdTrax that lets you see all checklists and all species for a particular location. I have set up a BirdTrax page for the Calgary region. It will be useful next year for the 2015 Calgary Birding Competition, but anyone can use it now to see what is being reported on eBird in the Calgary area (you don’t have to be an eBird user yourself to access these tools or their database, but I encourage all birders to sign up and submit sightings to eBird.)

Here is a link to the Calgary BirdTrax page. There will be a permanent link on the right-hand sidebar of the blog as well. Try it out!

Here is a screenshot of the page:

Birdtrax jpeg

Here is what the gadget itself looks like (a screenshot from May 7, 2014, with the rarities column shown):

Birdtrax crop

Currently the settings show all eBird reports for the last two weeks, in a 50-kilometre radius from the Centre Street bridge in Calgary. The default setting shows the “Checklists” column so you can see every individual checklist as it comes in. Then you can click on the checklist icon to see the actual trip list, and from there, see the map location. I go on here every morning to see what was reported the previous day.

You can also click on the other column headings to see either a list of rarities reported, or a list of all species reported. In each case you can go to the individual checklists to see who reported the birds and where.

We may add more BirdTrax gadgets to this page later, for other locations. The birding competition will cover an 80-km radius circle, and BirdTrax has a 50-km maximum, so we may need more to better cover the Calgary birding area.

BirdTrax is a free gadget and anyone can set up their own web page with whatever settings they want. So if you live or bird outside Calgary you might want to set one up for another area. Go to the BirdTrax page and learn how. 

Boreal Birds Need Half

By Dr. Jeff Wells, Boreal Songbird Initiative

One of the world’s greatest migrations is happening now.  Billions of migratory birds are heading from the U.S., Central and South America to what’s been dubbed “North America’s bird nursery” —the sprawling billion-plus-acre boreal forest that spans the continent from Alaska across Canada to Newfoundland and Labrador—to nest and produce next year’s generation of birds.

However, as abundant as they are, boreal birds face myriad challenges and threats to their habitat. Some of the most iconic species have suffered dramatic declines in recent decades.

Boreal C Dan Arndt

Boreal Chickadee. Photo by Dan Arndt

A new science report – Boreal Birds Need Half: Maintaining North America’s Bird Nursery and Why it Matters – released May 5 , recommends protecting at least 50 percent of the boreal forest from industrial development. That level of conservation is vital to provide birds the best chance of maintaining healthy populations for hundreds of species of birds that rely on the boreal forest for nesting and migratory stopover..

The report, produced by Ducks Unlimited and the Boreal Songbird Initiative, offers scientific support for expansive, landscape-scale habitat conservation in large, interconnected protected areas that are necessary to help ensure the diversity of species . It also showcases significant areas across Canada where birds, landscapes and biodiversity are extraordinarily special.

The report also reveals often unappreciated roles boreal birds play in providing ecosystem services—pollinating plants, redistributing nutrients, and controlling pests, for example—and the value they add (more than $100 billion to economies in the U.S. and Canada). It also emphasizes the integral role birds play in the culture of Aboriginal Peoples throughout the boreal.


Sunday Showcase: Snowstorm Fallout 2

There was also lots of action this weekend at South Glenmore Park.

Tamas Szabo took these photos while out with a Friends of Fish Creek birding course group on Saturday morning, May 3, 2014.


Tree Swallows.


Tree Swallow.


Violet-green Swallow, showing white over the eye.


Cliff Swallow.


Yellow-rumped Warbler.


Say’s Phoebe. Several were seen around the reservoir this weekend.


American Pipit.


Savannah Sparrow. There were hundreds at the water’s edge.


Bonaparte’s Gull.

Sunday Showcase: Snowstorm Fallout 1

With the spring snowstorm we received in Calgary this weekend we were expecting to see some good birds here as migrants were forced down, and we weren’t disappointed.


 Western Tanager, Carburn Park, May 3, 2014. Photo by Tony LePrieur


Western Tanager, Carburn Park, May 3, 2014. Photo by Tony LePrieur


Carburn Park in the snow, May 3, 2014. Photo by Tony LePrieur


Yellow-rumped Warbler, Carburn Park, May 3, 2014. Photo by Tony LePrieur


Western Wood-Pewee, Carburn Park, May 3, 2014. Photo by Tony LePrieur


White-crowned Sparrows, Carburn Park, May 3, 2014. Photo by Tony LePrieur


Savannah Sparrow, Carburn Park, May 3, 2014. Photo by Tony LePrieur


Chipping Sparrow, Carburn Park, May 3, 2014. Photo by Tony LePrieur

Wednesday Wings: Long-eared Owl

In early April Bruce Brummitt spotted this Long-eared Owl near his home in NW Calgary. These elusive owls are resident in the Calgary area, but this one may have just been passing through. It was seen for a few days but has not been seen since April 4.

The owl was only seen at dusk, in low light. Some of the photos were taken with a flash, so the owl’s iris looks red in those shots. All photos by Bruce Brummitt.

long-eared owl 01

long-eared owl 02

Magpies mobbed the owl.

long-eared owl 03

long-eared owl 04

Shome photos from April 4:

long-eared owl 05

long-eared owl 06

long-eared owl 07


Drumming Ruffed Grouse

On April 24 Paul Turbitt of Turbo’s Track and Tour blog found a male Ruffed Grouse drumming on a log west of Turner Valley.


Here is a still photo of the grouse.

20140424 RG2

See Paul’s blog posts about this bird here and here.

Here is a link to his YouTube page.

Sunday Showcase: Spring Arrivals

Despite (or possibly because of) the snow and cold weather on Saturday, Tony LePrieur got some great shots of spring birds in Carburn Park and Fish Creek Park in SE Calgary, and some resident birds and mammals as well.


Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle), Carburn Park, April 26, 2014

Sunday warbler

Sunday warbler 2


Franklin’s Gulls, Carburn Park, April 26, 2014


American Robin, male, Carburn Park, April 26, 2014


Resident White-tailed Deer, Carburn Park, April 26, 2014


Common Loon, Carburn Park, April 26, 2014


A resident bird in Fish Creek Park, male Ring-necked Pheasant, April 26, 2014


Ring-necked Pheasant, male, Fish Creek Park, April 26, 2014


Osprey with nesting material, Carburn Park, April 26, 2014

Tony returned to Carburn Park in the better weather on Sunday and got another shot of a Common Loon on the pond there.

Common Loon Sunday

Common Loon, Carburn Park, April 27, 2014