Birds of Alberta

Birds of Alberta Alberta Specialties

Provincial Bird - Great Horned Owl

Provincial Bird Great-horned Owl

  • Great-horned owl
  • Chestnut-collared longspur
  • Whooping crane
  • Saltmarsh sharp-tailed sparrow
  • Short-billed dowitcher
  • Grey jay
  • Common tern
  • White-winged crossbill
  • Alder flycatcher
  • Swainson’s hawk
  • Green-winged teal
  • Lesser Yellowlegs
  • Clay-coloured sparrow
  • Three-toed woodpecker
  • Peregrine falcon
  • Le Contes sparrow
  • Marbled godwit
  • Burrowing owl

385 species in 44 families

Alberta is the westernmost of Canada’s prairie provinces, and borders the US state of Montana to the south; the Saskatchewan to the east; and the Northwest Territories to the north. To the west, its border with British Columbia follows the range of the Rocky Mountains along the continental divide.

Roughly half of the southwestern section is dominated by the Rocky Mountains and their foothills. The foothills form a link between mountain and prairie landscapes, and feature both forested areas and grasslands.

The remainder of the province forms part of the interior plain of North America, which includes the boreal forest, the aspen parkland transitional zone and vast stretches of northern muskeg. Moving east, the land gently rolls through the foothills into the great plains.

Alberta is a location for boreal forest birds in the north, mountain birds in the west, grassland birds in the southeast and a general mix of all of the above throughout the province. The Rocky Mountains provide a migrating raptor highway each spring and fall.

Rare Bird Alert Hotlines

Edmonton & Northern Alberta (780) 433-2473

Calgary & Southern Alberta (403) 237-8821

Alberta Web Links

Alberta Winter Bird List

Federation of Alberta Naturalists

Where Do You Want To Go Birding in Alberta?

Birding Pals Alberta

Alberta Birds of Prey Foundation

Rocky Mountain Eagle Research Foundation

Do you want to know what’s been seen, and where? Connect with other birders on a mailing list!

Alberta Bird

18 Responses to Birds of Alberta

  1. Pat Bumstead says:

    The best all-round bird food is black-oil sunflower seeds. All seed eating birds love these, and it is not very expensive. However, if you’re planning on feeding birds at all you can count on feeding sparrows too – you won’t have a choice. Nyger seed is good for finches, but not all songbirds like it. It is also very expensive. I would love to be able to attract swallows to my yard, but as they only eat insects they will not eat at a feeder. Warblers are also insect eaters so no feeder visits. Have a look at which will give you more info. Your best bet is to go to The Wildbird General Store – – and they can tell you which birds you get in your area, and the best food to buy.

  2. Linda Graham says:

    I’m trying to lure and feed songbirds to my yard. Not sparrows or swallows. I’ve seen a couple around but didn’t get on to this early enough. Can you give me an idea of what seed to put out (I’ve been told Nyger) and where/how high/low to hang? I know this is now too late in the year but want to be ready and start early next year. Thank you for your help with this. I live in the city (Edmonton) and have trees in the south and lots of open sun in the north (south facing).

  3. Frank Hatton says:

    Saw two magpies bring down a swift or a swallow at the University of Alberta recently and hold it down and peck it to death.

  4. Pat Bumstead says:

    Look up a Northern Flicker in a bird book or on the internet. This is a guess on my part, as you didn’t give a location or size but I bet this is your bird!

  5. Twyla Sirovyak says:

    I was wondering what bird has a gray body, black bib, spotted chest, thin beak and above the tail feathers white shows when in flight. Thank you!

  6. Pat Bumstead says:

    It was likely a Eurasian Collared Dove. These birds are quickly making their way up the North American continent and have now been seen as far north as the Yukon. They look very similar, but the Eurasian doves have a very active breeding life and are now everywhere!

  7. Reg says:

    Saw what my wife and I believe to be a Ringed Turtle-Dove in our backyard under our bird feeders tonight. I know this is a southern bird but I am curious if anyone else has seen one. We live in St Paul. Perhaps it escaped from a cage, We have photos that we can share.

  8. Pat Bumstead says:

    You should join the Alberta Bird mailing list. You can not only report your own sightings, but read what others are seeing in your area. The link to Alberta Bird is near the bottom of the Birds of Alberta page.

  9. Rob Valois says:

    Fairly new to birding. Just a fun hobby. I wondered where I would go to let someone know about some interesting birds in their area.
    I take plenty of pictures of gulls, hoping to find something among the ring bills. When I got home today I was happy to see I had captured shots of California gulls as well as Mew gulls.
    Southern Alberta, just outside of Glenwood

  10. Baby robin growing – 18 days in 6 minutes
    Read the small paragraph attached to the video. She’s pretty special to me.
    I love my mom the robin. Help me share her with the world.
    Thank you so much,

  11. Pat Bumstead says:

    Hello Catherine

    As you’re talking about birds in Calgary, I forwarded your comment to the folks that handle the blog to see if they knew of someone who could guide you. If you haven’t heard from them, perhaps you could contact Nature Calgary at as I know they have been helping the Cubs & Scouts with bird trips.

  12. Catharine says:

    I am a complete novice at birds, but would like to help my Girl Guide unit earn their Bird Watching Badge. We visited Inglewood in October and really enjoyed it. We plan to hike through Griffith Woods in April. Can you recommend a book or guide that would help us recognize the most common Calgary birds and the sound of their calls?

  13. Pat Bumstead says:

    These hardy doves have been reported as far north as The Yukon. When they arrive somewhere, they generally manage to hang on and establish a population. No idea how they survive a northern Canadian winter as they were originally introduced in Florida!

  14. Walter Peterson. says:

    I live in Fairview, Alberta.That’s Peace River country. About a year ago, I awoke one morning thinking that I was hearing a Cuckoo sound. I woke my wife and she heard it too. Several days later, she came in from the back yard and said your bird is back. Out with the binoculars to see what I could see. We could hear the cooing and could pinpoint it to a Spruce tree in our neighbour’s yard but could not get our eyes on the bird. I mention this to a friend who lives in the area and some time later he said he had spotted a dove like bird that made a sound like I had described, probably a Mourning dove. Days later, while dog walking in the morning, I flushed a bird that I first thought was a Pigeon, but the colour was different and as it flew into a row of spruce, I definitely saw a squared tail with white underparts and I thought I noticed a dark brown or black collar. On reporting this to the above mentioned friend, we consulted the bird books and decided that what I had seen was a Eurasian dove but they are not suppose to be up here. He saw the birds next, two of them and close enough to be positive of the identification. Through the summer and the fall we continued to see a single or occasionally, a double and once, three together on the road.Their sound was more frequent than the sightings. Snow came and we expected them to leave. But no, we would on occasion hear and/ or see one. Yesterday I heard the same call that we had come to associate with the Eurasian dove from the same Spruce tree that my wife and I had first pinpointed.Today, May 11, 2014 I saw two together on a power pole in the back alley. Had time to get the field glasses and watch them preen and call for a good 15 minutes or more. I would say they are here to stay.

  15. Marilyn Tichkowsky says:

    I have just a sunflower feeder on south side of my house in Edmonton. It attracts mostly sparrows, some house finches, chickadees, the odd nuthatch and a few juncos this year. Also have lots of mice with all of the seed scatter. A couple of weeks ago I noticed a shrike in my lilac bush within 3 feet of my window with a mouse in its claws. Quite a sight and one that I never expected to see. Is this behavior common? I thought shrikes inhabited open country not urban residential.

  16. Pat says:

    Hi Linda – I remember watching white pelicans on Sturgeon Lake when I was a youngster, as we were out there every weekend. Brown pelicans though, are only found along the coasts of the USA so I’m not sure what you’ve been seeing.

  17. Linda says:

    We have 5 American pelicans out on Sturgeon lake, AB we enjoyed watching them fish and fly yesterday… We have only ever seen brown pelicans here.

  18. Terry says:

    Saw around 25 white winged crossbills at my house west of Calgary. They pick up lots of spruce cones, fly up onto a branch and pick apart the cone. Feb 5/2011

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *