Tofield, Alberta, Snow Goose Chase 2014

One sign of Spring in the Edmonton, Alberta, area every year is the annual Snow Goose Chase, organized by the Edmonton Nature Club.

This year, on the morning of April 26th, eight buses filled with inner-city and new immigrant families, along with three buses for the general public, will depart from Edmonton heading for the 15th annual Tofield Snow Goose Chase; there is also a Chase on Sunday the 27th as well.

The morning session of the Chase is held at the Tofield Community Hall on Main Street from 9:30 am until 12 noon. The hall will have a variety of exhibits and displays, including five live raptors from the Edmonton Valley Zoo; a live exhibit of scorpions, tarantulas, and snakes from the Royal Alberta Museum with Bug Room curator Pete Heule; Mike Jenkins’ “swimming pool” with a hands-on bugs and beetle wetland display; a live Burrowing Owl from the Beaverhill Bird Observatory; and a selection of mounted birds of Alberta, displayed by Jocelyn Hudon, curator of ornithology at the Royal Alberta Museum.

The Burrowing Owl from the Beaverhill Bird Observatory, which I was able to hold in 2012

Here I am at the 2012 Snow Goose Chase, with the Burrowing Owl from the Beaverhill Bird Observatory

I will be at the Snow Goose Chase again this year, manning the Young Naturalists’ Corner for the second year, to encourage kids to learn more about the natural world around them, so if you’re attending the Chase, please stop by and say hello! I’ll have nature-related books on display, White-tailed Deer antlers to look at and touch, and much more! I will be giving away a few prizes at the table too! If you can’t make it to Tofield but are interested interested in nature, want to explore the great outdoors, and learn more about the environment, I have a list of resources for kids and families here.

The Young Naturalists’ Corner’s banner

The Young Naturalists’ Corner’s banner at the 2013 Chase

After lunch, the buses will head out to the Ministik Bird Sanctuary, watch owl banding at Francis Viewpoint with Ray Cromie, and put up some Mountain Bluebird nest boxes.

Later in the afternoon, the buses will head out out to view the large flocks geese, swans, and other species, including Sandhill Cranes, hawks, and owls. Scopes, binoculars, field guides, and seasoned birders from the Edmonton Nature Club and Nature Alberta will be provided.

Here is part of our table last year with all the prizes and pamphlets from Bird Studies Canada and Nature Alberta

Part of the Young Naturalists’ Corner last year with books, prizes, and pamphlets from Bird Studies Canada and Nature Alberta

The raptors carrying cases from the Edmonton Valley Zoo

The raptors’ carrying cases from the Edmonton Valley Zoo

You can read my blog posts about the Snow Goose Chase from the past two years here and here, and at the official website and Nature Alberta page. The Snow Goose Chase is a wonderful way to begin Spring in Alberta, and a great introduction to our province’s natural wonders for those who haven’t discovered them yet. Do you have an event like this in your province? If so, please mention it in the comments!

Mounted waterbirds from the ornithology collection at Royal Alberta Museum,

Mounted waterbirds from the ornithology collection at Royal Alberta Museum

About Charlotte Wasylik

Charlotte Wasylik is a young birder who lives on a farm in northeastern Alberta. She was delighted to be selected for a monthlong Young Ornithologists’ Internship at the Long Point Bird Observatory in Ontario in August-September, to help with fall migration monitoring. Charlotte’s blog is Prairie Birder, and you can also find her at the Facebook group she started last year, Alberta Birds, which welcomes all birders, bird lovers, and nature photographers.
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