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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Sunday, November 20, 2016


     About 10 days ago I went outside and thought I heard a crow. I listened. Yes. I did distinctly hear a crow in my neighborhood. Before I could go toward the sound to look for the crow, it flew over my house. So on Nov.10 I saw a crow.

     Now the odd crow does over winter. We usually count a crow in the Christmas bird count at Red Deer. 

    Here are three things I can find about oddities in bird migration. 

    1. Some birds seem to just not migrate. Apparently they don't know how to migrate. I guess it's just not in the DNA.

    2. Some birds may be injured. Many of these birds succumb to cold weather or lack of food supply as any bird needing insects.

     3. They also think that some birds just get mixed up.

    Whatever reason a bird doesn't migrate they can end up be a very pathetic critter.

    I have seen the crow here on most of the last ten days. I've had a good look at it. It seems that the left wing droops or sags at times. It's flight appears to be normal.

    Today I found the crow in the Bower Mall parking lot. It had found something good to eat. I thought I'd see how close I could get to it. The crow was bold and let me get about three meters from it before it flew into the top of a spruce tree. 

    I will be watching this crow as long as it hangs out in my area.

Monday, November 7, 2016


     I had heard long ago that there were two groups of Canada geese or two species. I hadn't paid much attention to this before. I knew that there were smaller Canada geese. It's not easy to tell the difference.

    Cackling geese are about 25 in long and have a wing span of about 45 in. Average weight is about 3.5 lb. Canada geese are about 45 in. long , wing span 60 in and weigh about 9.8 lb. As you can see there's a big difference in size. However, it's not easy to see this in the field. Cackling geese have a much shorter neck.

    There are other slight differences in markings and a big difference in sound.

    I was out Nov.5 with a group of birders to Gaetz Lake. There were geese and so we had a good look. They were all the small cackling geese.

    Take a look at these birds. Have you seen these differences before?