2018 Summer Birding in Alberta

posted in: Bird Canada | 6
A Ruddy Duck drake performing its courtship display


Seriously, is summer over already? Here in Calgary, flurries and sub-zero temps are already upon us and autumn continues to be a 2-week season! I am WAY behind in posting bird pics, so I’ll try and catch up with a selection of birding highlights from the spring and early summer….


Lots of birds singing and courting including one of the first to come back, the Yellow-headed Blackbird:

and a couple of other yellow birds doing the same, such as the Yellow Warbler:

and Western Meadowlark:

as well as some of the predators that like to eat them, such as the Cooper’s Hawk:

Spring also means the northward migration of shorebirds to their breeding grounds in the arctic, one being the Semi-palmated Sandpiper:

and also this Red-necked Phalarope which I found all on its own in a mountain pond:

But there are also some shorebirds which nest locally in southern Alberta such as the Killdeer:

Spring also means the Ruffed Grouse start their courtship drumming, a scene which I very much hope to see (I’ve HEARD it many times, just can’t find the drummer!) one day:

Elsewhere in local ponds, waterfowl are in their finest plumage, such as this Red-necked Grebe:

while others, like this American Coot, are busying chasing off potential rivals:

While others, like the Double-crested Cormorant, are busy impersonating midget submarines as they paddle along looking for tasty aquatic creatures:

But once also the feverish activity of courting and nesting is over, the result is this year’s batch of young like this days’ old Spotted Sandpiper:


Summer for me, also means camping, usually out east on the prairie lakes where I get t some cool birds such as the Western Kingbird:

House Wren:

and the tough-but-fun-to-spot Common Nighthawk:

And, finally, when we’re camping in the foothills out west, I always look forward to hearing and seeing this cheeky and inquisitive fellow, the Ruby-crowned Kinglet:






6 Responses

  1. Gilda Blackmore

    You saved the best for the last! What a delightful photograph. Thanks for posting these wonderful images.

  2. Jennifer S.

    I’ve never noticed the eye colour on a Double-Crested Cormorant before. Amazing.
    Thanks for sharing these great photos of such beautiful birds.

  3. Bob Lefebvre

    Fantastic photos as usual, Tim! Love the phalarope. You always have such clear close-up images that it gives a perspective one doesn’t see in field guides, and teaches us more about how the birds really look in the field. (You inadvertently labelled the Eastern Kingbird as a Western – easy to do.)

  4. Heather Simonds

    Lovely pics. Eastern Kingbird I believe (a friend pointed out).

  5. Rosie LaLonde

    Such beautiful pictures. I never knew cormorants had those green eyes!

  6. Pat

    Beautiful pictures, thanks also for naming the birds for us “novices.”
    Out walking yesterday and surprised that the meadowlarks have not headed south yet. Their song is so beautiful, unfortunately we don’t have as many as we used too. Live in Shaunavon, in southwest Saskatchewan

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