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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Monday, August 23, 2010

Fall Migration Time

       It's still August but the fall migration of many birds is already underway. I find this time of year to be very active for birding as many of the birds we don't see in the summer are now slowly passing through this area.

      This week I have had yellow warblers in my urban yard. I grow a vegetable garden which at this time of year has become a jungle. The yellow warblers have a field day foraging through potatoes, turnips, beats etc. for insects. Later on other warblers will appear. Yellow rumped warblers seem to spend the longest time around my yard. Along with warblers there are many sparrows the go through . I've already had a white throated sparrow. The sparrows also like my out of control vegetable garden. They run around under the heavy foliage. It's tough to bird watch as they are hidden most of the time. That's why they're in my garden as it's rather safe. The bird watching can be done from my bedroom window. Pretty soft eh!

     If you are out in natural areas you will see many more birds slowly passing through. They feed heavily on the many insects which are available.

    Later on we will see the large flocks of ducks and geese as they move south later. It seems like the crows had a productive year as they are now flying in vast groups.

    So take a look around you. You'll probably see something interesting.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Chukars Sighted in Red Deer

       In July of 2010 my friend Mike reported that he saw a chukar near the creek along the Bower Woods subdivision. Three weeks later I saw 2 birds in the same area.

      Chukars are not native to North America but they have been released in the Southern U.S. and have thrived. They are a species native to central Asia. They are the national bird of Pakistan.

     You can check wikipedia for a description of chukars or you can check the Cornell Laboratory site where they also have videos and audio of the bird calls.

      Chukars are a member of the pheasant family and live in arid areas. They are spruce grouse size. They have very vivid markings The head has a noticeable stripe and the wings are heavily barred.

      Now investigating a little further,Judy Boyd  tells me that people from the Bower subdivision started reporting chukar sightings in 2009. The summer of 2010 these birds nested and produced young. It is thought that there was more than one pair. It is also thought that the young did not survive as we had a very rainy June and July.

      Releases of chukars was made in several areas of Alberta in the 1930's but these birds did not succeed. They were seen for several years and then disappeared. Since there were no releases recently, it is thought these birds escaped form a sale of exotic birds which was held near the Bower subdivision in 2009.

    I found these birds to be a rather interesting sighting and always watch when I am in the area to see if they are still there.

    If anyone else has sighted chukars let us know.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Central Alberta Birding Trail


The Red Deer River Naturalists have published the Birding Trail for the City of Red Deer. We are showing you the main page here to whet your appetite. For a free copy and individual district maps, please go to our website, http://www.rdrn.fanweb.ca/.
Central Alberta has good birding locations within and outside the City of Red Deer. We are on the Western side of the Central flyway, so can count of many interesting migrants in both spring and fall. We get a good variety of shorebirds, water fowl, and perchers.
During winter months we usually have Bohemian waxwing, two or three species of chickadees and several species of owls.
Common residents include the black-billed magpie, pileated woodpecker, black-capped chickadee, house finch and others.
Red Deer is the nesting location for at least two pairs of peregrine falcons. You can see one pair live on our website during their nesting season. We usually have several osprey, common loons, and many duck species nesting within the City Parks.
Birders will find Red Deer to be a good location for birding. To get a free copy of our Checklist of Central Alberta Birds, please go to our website.