Red Deer River Naturalists

The Red Deer river Naturalists are a group dedicated to learning about and preserving natural history. They have regular programs with speakers and many field trips.


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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Early Morning Bird Walk April 24

        Red Deer River Naturalists run 6 early morning birdwalks each spring. Each walk lasts one hour, is local and suited to  birders with limited experience. Today we spent our time in a natural area south of Red Deer College. The area is about 1.5 km long and .5 - .75 km in width. There is a tremendous variety of habitat . There are patches of old growth spruce and aspen. A creek meanders through the full length of the area and has a lush riparian coverage. There are a couple of beaver dams on the creek so it is mostly a series of pondsThere are brushy areas and open grassland. Most of this is the result of widely varying soils.

        This morning at 7:00AM it was minus 2 C, clear and calm.

       We saw 16 different species. It's not just the observance of each species, but what these species sometimes teach you by the performance they put on. Since it's the beginning of the breeding season there are some pretty interesting behaviours. There's a tremendous amount of rivalry between and among mails. One grassy area had 10-15 male robins. Every once in a while one or two of them would chase each other in wild erratic flight. Downy wood peckers were trying to out drum one another. The best example today was put on by two hairy woodpeckers. They conducted a sort of minuet. They pointed their beaks straight out from their body. One would flutter his wings then the other. They would bounce from branch to brach. There were small vocalizations. They never made contact , but kept up the jockeying for position. These two birds taught us something as Judy had read about the behaviour , but we had never observed it.

       We saw  American crows, black billed magpies, Canada geese, mallards, tundra swans, American robins, hairy woodpeckers, downy woodpeckers, northern flickers, black capped chickadees, boreal chickadees, red breasted nuthatches, white breasted nuthatches, eastern phoebes, house finches, ring billed gulls and song sparrows. We also saw one beaver and several red squirrels.

Photo by Judy Boyd
      So it was a very pleasant morning as a good number of species were observed and we learned some new things.

      Next week we visit the Gaetz Lake Santuary. Remember you are welcome to join us. Meet in the Kerry Wood Nature Centre parking lot at 7:00AM.


  1. Totally different habitat to what I have around me but much of the wildlife activity is very similar.

  2. Thanks for your comment. I've taken a page from your book and use some photos of the area along with bird pictures. It's what I like about your blog posts...a more complete package.