Property Birds

The sedge and willow ringed ponds of the property provide nesting and feeding habitats for a host of ducks, gulls, terns, grebes and other bird species. The main pond has a number of cattail and bulrush beds and three islands that provide additional nesting and roosting areas. Active and vacant beaver lodges usually have a Canada goose nest on each. The exposed shore lines and drawdowns around the ponds provide good feeding habitats for shorebirds. Large emergences of aquatic insects from the ponds provide a rich menu for passerines and waterfowl. Fathead minnows in the largest ponds attract double crested cormorants, pelicans and kingfishers. Great blue herons are seen daily through the breeding season wading in the shallows.

The combination of large trees, undergrowth and shrubs attract a variety of passerines to the property during migration and to nest. A diversity of sparrow and warbler species along with rosebreasted grosbeaks, baltimore orioles, goldfinches, hummingbirds and catbirds are common. Many of the larger aspen and poplar trees have "woodpecker holes" in them made by the various woodpeckers, including pileated woodpeckers. These holes are suitable for other cavity nesting birds including the great crested flycatcher and bufflehead ducks. Old farm buildings provide additional nesting sites for barn swallows and eastern phoebes. Open areas along the treelines are patrolled by flycatchers and swallows for flying insects. During summer evenings nighthawks can be seen hunting for similar prey. Great horned owls are permanent residents of the area as are ravens, white breasted and red breasted nuthatches, black capped chickadees and ruffed grouse. The grouse are heard drumming throughout the spring and are regularly encountered along the trails during all seasons.

Sparsely vegetated hills in the fields are habitat for ground nesting birds such as killdeers. The low vegetation of overgrown pastures and fields are suitable for birds like the clay-coloured sparrow to nest and feed. Duck nests in these areas are also common for those species which prefer nesting away from wetlands.

Birds of prey, from red-tailed hawks to kestrels, frequent the property searching for food and to nest. Bald eagles and Northern shrikes also make regular appearances. Vultures are often seen during the breeding and migration seasons. Occasionally a pair will nest in an old building at the derelict farm yard. We have observed a tagged vulture on a number of instances in 2014 and again in 2015. AIK was tagged as about a 60 day old nestling near Spring Park, AB in August 2011. Another tagged vulture, S71 (white text on green background), was seen a few times in 2015. Records indicate it was banded in 2009 by Dr. S. Houston and crew as a nestling within 30 km of the property.

Pileated Woodpecker Feeding

("?" in the lists below indicates the bird has been reported from the area in Smith (1996) but has not been observed at the property even though the general habitat requirements for the species do occur. "r" indicates a year round resident species. "b" indicates nesting, or has nested, on the property. "m" symbolizes the bird is a spring or fall migrant through the area. "v" means the bird is utilizing the property for feeding during the breeding season but does not nest. "wm" indicates the bird is a winter migrant to the property. Thanks to S. Shadick, M. Haga, N. Saunders and D. Bruce for adding a number of new records to the list.)

Loons, Grebes, Pelicans, Cormorants, Herons, Geese, Ducks

  • Common Loon-v
  • Pied-billed Grebe-b
  • Horned Grebe-b
  • Red-necked Grebe-b
  • Eared Grebe-b
  • White Pelican-v
  • Double-crested Cormorant-v
  • Great Blue Heron-v
  • Black-crowned Night-Heron-v
  • American Bittern-b
  • Tundra Swan-m
  • Greater White-fronted Goose-m
  • Snow Goose-m
  • Canada Goose-b
  • Wood Duck-b
  • Green-winged Teal-b
  • Mallard Duck-b
  • Pintail Duck
  • Blue-winged Teal-b
  • Northern Shoveler-b
  • Gadwall-b
  • American Wigeon-b
  • Canvasback-b
  • Redhead-b
  • Ring-necked Duck-b
  • Lesser Scaup-b
  • Common Goldeneye-b
  • Bufflehead-b
  • Hooded Merganser-m
  • ? Common Merganser
  • Ruddy Duck-b

Vultures, Diurnal Birds Of Prey, Upland Birds, Rails, Sora, Coots, Cranes

  • Turkey Vulture-b
  • Osprey-v
  • Bald Eagle-v
  • Northern Harrier-v
  • ? Sharp-shinned Hawk
  • Cooper's Hawk-v
  • ? Northern Goshawk
  • ? Broad-winged Hawk
  • Swainson's Hawk-v
  • Red-tailed Hawk-b
  • American Kestrel-v
  • Merlin-v
  • ? Gray Partridge
  • Ruffed Grouse-r
  • Sharp-tailed Grouse-r
  • ? Virginia Rail
  • Sora-b
  • American Coot-b
  • Sandhill Crane-m
  • ? Whooping Crane

Shore Birds, Snipe, Pharlarope, Gulls, Terns

  • ? American Golden Plover
  • Killdeer-b
  • American Avocet-b
  • Greater Yellowlegs
  • ? Lesser Yellowlegs
  • Willet-b
  • Spotted Sandpiper-b
  • ? Marbled Godwit
  • ? Semipalmated Sandpiper
  • ? Least Sandpiper
  • ? Baird's Sandpiper
  • ? Pectoral Sandpiper
  • ? Stilt Sandpiper
  • ? Short-billed Dowitcher
  • ? Long-billed Dowitcher
  • Common Snipe-b
  • ? Wilson's Pharlarope
  • Franklin's Gull-v
  • Bonaparte's Gull-m
  • Ring-billed Gull-v
  • ? California Gull
  • Herring Gull-v
  • Common Tern or Forster's Tern-v
  • Black Tern-b

Doves, Cuckoo, Owls, Nighthawk, Hummingbird, Kingfisher, Woodpeckers

  • ? Rock Dove
  • Mourning Dove-b
  • Black-billed Cuckoo-b
  • Great Horned Owl-r
  • Snowy Owl-wm
  • ? Northern Hawk Owl
  • ? Long-eared Owl
  • Northern Saw-whet Owl
  • Common Nighthawk-b
  • Ruby-throated Hummingbird-b
  • Belted Kingfisher-v
  • Yellow-bellied Sapsucker-b
  • Downy Woodpecker-r
  • Hairy Woodpecker-r
  • Northern Flicker-b
  • Pileated Woodpecker-r

Flycatchers, Shrikes, Vereos, Jays, Crow, Raven, Lark, Swallows, Chickadee, Nuthatches, Creeper, Wrens, Kinglets

  • ? Olive-sided Flycatcher
  • Western Wood-peewee-b
  • Alder Flycatcher-b
  • Least Flycatcher-b
  • Eastern Phoebe-b
  • Great Crested Flycatcher-b
  • ? Western Kingbird
  • Eastern Kingbird-b
  • Northern Shrike-m
  • ? Loggerhead Shrike
  • Warbling Vireo-b
  • Red-eyed Vireo-b
  • Philidelphia Vireo
  • ? Gray Jay
  • Blue Jay-r
  • Black-billed Magpie-r
  • American Crow-b
  • Common Raven-r
  • Horned Lark-m
  • Purple Martin-v
  • Tree Swallow-b
  • ? Bank Swallow
  • Cliff Swallow-v
  • Barn Swallow-b
  • Black-capped Chickadee-r
  • Red-breasted Nuthatch-r
  • White-breasted Nuthatch-r
  • Brown Creeper-b
  • House Wren-b
  • ? Sedge Wren
  • ? Marsh Wren
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet-m

Thrushes, Catbird, Thrasher, Pipit, Waxwings, Starling, Warblers

  • Mountain Bluebird-m
  • Veery-b
  • Swainson's Thrush
  • Hermit Thrush-m
  • American Robin-b
  • Gray Catbird-b
  • ? Brown Thrasher
  • ? Sprague's Pipit
  • Bohemian Waxwing-wm
  • Cedar Waxwing-b
  • ? European Starling
  • ? Tennessee Warbler
  • ? Orange-crowned Warbler
  • Yellow Warbler-b
  • ? Chestnut-sided Warbler
  • ? Magnolia Warbler
  • Cape May Warbler-m
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler-m
  • ? Palm Warbler
  • Blackpoll Warbler-m
  • Black-and-white Warbler-b
  • American Redstart-b
  • Ovenbird-b
  • ? Northern Waterthrush
  • ? Mourning Warbler
  • ? Wilson's Warbler
  • Common Yellowthroat-b

Sparrows, Blackbirds and Misc. Passerines

  • American Tree Sparrow-m
  • Chipping Sparrow-b
  • Clay-colored Sparrow-b
  • Vesper Sparrow-v
  • Savannah Sparrow-b
  • ? Baird's Sparrow
  • ? LeConte's Sparrow
  • ? Nelson Sparrow
  • Fox Sparrow-m
  • Song Sparrow-b
  • ? Lincoln's Sparrow
  • ? Swamp Sparrow
  • White-throated Sparrow-b
  • White-crowned Sparrow-m
  • Harris' Sparrow-m
  • ? House Sparrow-v
  • Northern Junco-m
  • Purple Finch-m
  • Red-winged Blackbird-b
  • Yellow-headed Blackbird-b
  • Brewer's Blackbird-b
  • Common Crackle-b
  • Brown-headed Cowbird-b
  • Baltimore Oriole-b
  • ? Pine Grosbeak
  • Rose-breasted Grosbeak-b
  • ? Lapland Longspur
  • Snow Bunting-m
  • ? Western Meadowlark
  • ? Bobolink
  • ? Rufous-sided Towhee
  • ? White-winged Crossbill
  • Common Redpoll-wm
  • ? Hoary Redpoll
  • Pine Siskin-wm
  • American Goldfinch-b
  • ? Evening Grosbeak

References:

Hoar, T.L., K. DeSmet, R.W. Campbell, and G. Kennedy. 2010. Birds of Canada. Lone Pine Publ.

Green Mountain Digital, 2014. Audubon Birds Pro. Retrieved from https://play.google.com/store?hl=en.

Mitch Waite Group. 2014. iBird Pro Guide to Birds. Retrieved from https://play.google.com/store?hl=en.

mydigitalearth.com. 2015. Sibley Birds of North America. Retrieved from https://play.google.com/store?hl=en.

Peterson, R.T. 1980.A Field Guide to the Birds: East of the Rockies. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt publ.

Sibley, D.A. 2010. The Sibley Guide to Birds. Andrew Stewart Publ.

Smith, A.R. 1996. Atlas of Saskatchewan Birds. Special Publ. #22. Saskatchewan Natural History Society.