Tag Archive | winter birds in calgary

Late Winter Birds

Posted by Bob Lefebvre

It’s spring on the calendar and new migrants are arriving daily. Some of our winter birds have departed, and some of our resident birds are beginning to nest. Here are some photos of birds of late winter in Calgary. All photos by Tony LePrieur.

Bohemian Waxwing, Calgary, February 19, 2017.

Bohemian Waxwings are only here in the winter. Since mid-March only small flocks have been reported. Most have departed to the north and to higher elevations. By the end of April they all will be gone.

Mountain Chickadee, Weaselhead, Calgary, March 12, 2017.

Mountain Chickadees are only occasionally seen inside the city, and most often in the west end where the boreal forest creeps in. This winter there were several seen in the Weaselhead and in Fish Creek Park. They are usually absent in the summer, as they breed west of the city.

Pine Grosbeak (female), Calgary, February 19, 2017.

Pine Grosbeak are one of our winter finches and they were here in low numbers this winter. They move to higher elevations and to the north in the summer.

Downy Woodpecker, Weaselhead, Calgary, March 12, 2017.

Downys are one of our resident woodpeckers and they have been paired up for at least a month, and are now beginning to nest.

Northern Flicker (male intergrade Yellow-shafted/Red-shafted), Calgary, February 19, 2017.

Northern Flickers are also woodpeckers, but are migratory. However, many overwinter here, which may include local birds or ones from farther north. They are currently pairing up for nesting, and it is common to hear their calls and drumming (they often drum on metal chimneys or street lights).

Most of the local flickers are intergrades of the two subspecies (Red-shafted and Yellow-shafted) and they often show mixed field marks, as this bird does.

American Robin, Fish Creek Park, Calgary, March  4, 2017.

Robins are of course migratory, but there are always some (a few dozen to a couple hundred) that overwinter in the city. This bird, seen on March 4 with seven others, probably overwintered since it was a little too early for the migrants to return. Unusually, this looks like a female – most overwintering birds are males, trying to get an advantage in getting to breeding grounds earlier. Now, in early April, there are many migrating robins back, but they are almost all males, either passing through or claiming territories here. The females arrive later.

Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored subspecies), Calgary, March 4, 2017.

These native sparrows overwinter here in good numbers, and for a few weeks more there will be many migrants passing through. They breed here in the boreal forest and are far more common west of the city and farther north in the summer.

Pine Siskin, Calgary, March 4, 2017.

Siskins usually breed in coniferous forests (including in parts of Calgary), but when not breeding they move erratically around the continent in search of food. They are sometimes here in large numbers in the summer, and sometimes completely absent.

Black-capped Chickadee, Calgary, March 4, 2017.

A resident bird, they are paired up and beginning to nest now.

Finally, here are three shots of the immature Northern Goshawk from Queen’s Park Cemetery.

Northern Goshawk, Queen’s Park Cemetery, Calgary, February 12, 2017.

Northern Goshawk, Queen’s Park Cemetery, Calgary, February 12, 2017.

Northern Goshawk, Queen’s Park Cemetery, Calgary, February 19, 2017.

Goshawks are not common in Calgary but can be seen year-round. However, they breed in high-canopied mixed forests so adults are usually found at higher elevations and farther north in the summer. They are more commonly seen here in the winter.

Sunday Showcase: Winter Birds of the Weaselhead

Photos from the Weaselhead area of SW Calgary, taken November 28 to December 23.

All photos by Tony LePrieur.

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White-throated Sparrow

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Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon subspecies)

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Bohemian Waxwing

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Pine Grosbeak (female or immature)

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Pine Grosbeak (male)

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Blue Jay

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Common Redpoll

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American Goldfinch (male in winter plumage)

The Magic of Winter Birding

Posted by Bob Lefebvre

A recent article in the Calgary Herald’s Swerve magazine celebrates getting out to go birding in the winter in Calgary. The author, Tyee Bridge, has done an excellent job of capturing the magic of winter birding. The article includes 24 great photos by local photographers. Here is a link to the online version:

Birdwatching Isn’t Just For the Experts by Tyee Bridge

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Great Gray Owl. Photo by Logan Gibson

This article has already received a lot of praise from many birders. As Gus Yaki has pointed out, if you like the article and would like to see more like this in the future, you should send your comments to the publishers and let them know.

You can post a comment to the online article, but an email to Swerve might be more effective (or do both, as I have). Send to swerve(at)calgaryherald.com.

Wednesday Wings: Winter Birds of Bragg Creek

Kim Selbee photographed these early-winter visitors in her yard in the Bragg Creek area.

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 Mountain Chickadee

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Black-capped Chickadee

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Dark-eyed Junco

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Red-breasted Nuthatch

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Red-breasted Nuthatch

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Red-breasted Nuthatch

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Mountain Chickadee

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Black-billed Magpie

Winter Birding Course 2013

If you’ve been following Dan’s posts about the Friends of Fish Creek Birding Course outings and want to join in the fun and learn about Calgary’s birds, now is your chance!  Twelve weeks of field trips in a variety of parks in Calgary.  Sign up today as many sessions fill up quickly.

Rare Bird Alert Calgary: March 5

Have you seen an unusual bird in Calgary? If it is on this Reportable_Birds (PDF), please report it to the Nature Calgary Rare Bird Alert line at 403 221-4519 and leave a message after the beep at the end of the recording. If you would like some help with species identification, us email us at birdscalgary@gmail.com.  To report injured wildlife call the Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Society at 403 239-2488, or the Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation at 403 946-2361.

February 28
–RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER. Present in George Lane Park in High River since Oct.2011; seen recently by Phil Quinn.
–BARROW’S GOLDENEYE(3), Bow River at Carburn park, by Gus Yaki et al.

March 1
–HOODED MERGANSER(1), seen during Elbow River survey, by GY et al.
–SNOW BUNTING(1), N. end of Nose Hill park, by PQ.

March 3
–SWAN (sp), seen at Frank Lake by Terry Korolyk. May be the same bird seen there since Dec.2011.
–GREEN-WINGED TEAL(F). Bow River at Policeman’s Flats SE of Calgary, by TK.
–THREE-TOED WOODPECKER, Griffith Woods park, by Steve Kassai.
–NORTHERN GOSHAWK, Griffith Woods park, by SK.
–PILEATED WOODPECKER, (same as above) by SK.
–HORNED LARK. small numbers seen by TK between High River and Carseland.

The next scheduled update of the Bird Alert is on Thursday, March 8.

BIRD STUDY GROUP – Meets the first Wednesday of the month, September-May at 7:30 pm, Room 211, BioSciences Building, University of Calgary.The next meeting will be Wednesday March 7. The program is titled “High Science: The The Natural History of Alpine Ptarmigan”, by Kathy Martin.

Rare Bird Alert Calgary: March 1

Have you seen an unusual bird in Calgary? If it is on this Reportable_Birds (PDF), please report it to the Nature Calgary Rare Bird Alert line at 403 221-4519 and leave a message after the beep at the end of the recording. If you would like some help with species identification, us email us at birdscalgary@gmail.com.  To report injured wildlife call the Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Society at 403 239-2488, or the Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation at 403 946-2361.

February 25
– –MALLARD (leucistic female) Beaverdam Flats in SE Calgary, Rob English
–SPOTTED TOWHEE, farm ca. 5 km. N of Irricana, John Corbin 403-935-4340

February 26
–NORTHERN SHRIKE, Weaselhead Natural Area, SW Calgary, Phil Quinn – February 28
–CACKLING GOOSE, Mackenzie Meadows, Phil Quinn
– –GREATER SCAUP, Hwy 22x bridge E end of Fish Creek Prov. Park, Terry Korolyk
– –SNOW BUNTING (60), N. of Linden, Corinne Griffin
– –COMMON GRACKLE, Lynnwood subdiv., SE Calgary, Pat Bumstead

February 29
–GREAT BLUE HERON (6) Southland Dog Park parking lot, Deerfoot Tr. And Southland Dr., observer unknown
– –KILLDEER, Bow R. S. of Glenmore Tr. Bridge, Gus Yaki,

The next scheduled update of the Bird Alert is on Monday, March 5.

BIRD STUDY GROUP – Meets the first Wednesday of the month, September – May at 7:30 pm, Room 211, BioSciences Building, University of Calgary. The next meeting will be Wednesday March 7. The program is titled “High Science: The The Natural History of Alpine Ptarmigan”, by Kathy Martin.

Wednesday Wings: Leucistic Mallard

Rob English has sent us some photos of the leucistic (white) mallard duck that’s been hanging around Beaverdam Flats this winter. Click photos to enlarge.

This bird is getting a lot of attention from photographers. Duane Starr has more views of this beautiful bird you can view in his photo gallery.

Rare Bird Alert Calgary: Feb 27

Have you seen an unusual bird in Calgary? If it is on this Reportable_Birds (PDF), please report it to the Nature Calgary Rare Bird Alert line at 403 221-4519 and leave a message after the beep at the end of the recording. If you would like some help with species identification, us email us at birdscalgary@gmail.com.  To report injured wildlife call the Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Society at 403 239-2488, or the Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation at 403 946-2361.

February 22
–SNOWY OWL, Storney Trail and McKnight Blvd., by Lori Anderson et.al.
–AMERICAN ROBIN(18), Queen’s Park Cemetery , by Dan Arndt.

February 23
–RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER(1) still in High River’s George Lane Park, by LA. Has been there for several months.

February 24
–NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL, yard of Paul Kuelker in Montgomery. Not seen following day.

February 25
–GREEN-WINGED TEAL(F), Bow River, Policeman’s Flats, end of Bow River Bottom Rd, off Dunbow Rd., by Terry Korolyk
–GREATER SCAUP(2M) , Bow River, just N. of Hwy. 22x bridge, by TK.
–AMERICAN ROBIN(6+), backyard of Margaret Brunner in Oakridge subdivision.

February 26
–KILLDEER(2), Elbow River at Griffith Wood park, by Bob Lefebvre and Dan Arndt
–AMERICAN DIPPER(1), Elbow River at Griffith Wood park, by Bernie Diebolt and Janet Gill. One was also seen recently by Steve Kassai in Big Hill Springs PP.

The next scheduled update of the Bird Alert is on Thursday, March 1.

BIRD STUDY GROUP – Meets the first Wednesday of the month, September – May at 7:30 pm, Room 211, BioSciences Building, University of Calgary. The next meeting will be Wednesday March 7. The program is titled “High Science: The Natural History of Alpine Ptarmigan”, by Kathy Martin.