Must-see birds: April

In April the early Spring migrants start to arrive, but there are still winter birds lingering like Common Redpolls, Northern Shrikes, and Snow Buntings. Here are my two Must-see birds for March (all photos by me):

1. Northern Shrike

The Northern Shrike is one of the most interesting songbirds to see and hear. The body is gray with a black tail and wings with a white spot on the wings. The black mask is bordered by a thin white line, and the bill is slightly hooked. Look for these predatory songbirds at bird feeders, fence posts, and dead trees,

2. Common Goldeneye

The Common Goldeneye is a very beautiful diving duck with the male being mostly white and having an iridescent green-black head, white cheek patch, and yellow eyes. The female has a gray body, brown head and the same yellow eyes as the male. Look for these ducks on ponds and sloughs. The males will probably be displaying as these ones were,

Must-see birds: March

In March there are still some very neat winter birds around, such as Northern Shrikes, Snow Buntings and the resident Pileated Woodpeckers, Great-horned Owls, and Ruffed Grouse. The only problem is that I have no pictures of these birds, so I’ve resorted to the more common birds. Here are my two Must-see birds for March (all photos by me):

1. Black-billed Magpie

The Black-billed Magpie is one of the most common birds in Alberta. The head and breast are black with a white belly, the wings are an iridescent blue-black, their tail is also very long. Black-billed Magpies can be found almost everywhere,

2. Black-capped Chickadee

The Black-capped Chickadee is one of the most common and widespread songbirds as well as a very common feeder bird. The chickadee has a black cap and bib with white cheeks and white-edged wing feathers. Their bill is short and perfect for opening sunflower seeds,

Must-see birds: February

(I got the idea for a northern Alberta version of “Must-see birds” from Pat Bumstead’s and Bob Lefebvre’s Birds Calgary blog. Matthew Sim, who is another young birder, had the idea for the “Must-see birds” posts and writes them all.) 

It’s February, only about two more months until the geese return. But until then, here are my two Must-see birds for February (all photos by me):

1. Bohemian Waxwing

Bohemian Waxwings are one of the most beautiful birds to visit Alberta in winter. The waxwing has a gray body, yellow tipped tail, rufous under tail coverts, and yellow and white wing tipped feathers. Theses waxwings can be found in large flocks, eating mountain ash berries and crabapples.

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2. Red-breasted Nuthatch 

The Red-breasted Nuthatch is a very pretty little bird which can be found through coniferous and mixed woods. The breast is red, with a gray back, a white eyebrow, a black eye-line and a characteristic that all nuthatches share, an upturned bill.

Must-see birds: January

(I got the idea for a northern Alberta version of “Must-see birds” from Pat Bumstead’s and Bob Lefebvre’s Birds Calgary blog. Matthew Sim, who is another young birder, had the idea for the “Must-see birds” posts and writes them all.)

January, a new month, a new year, and new birds. January is very similar to December bird-wise, so I don’t have much to write about January, other than one is still able to find many different species of birds in the cold winter months. Here are my two Must-see birds for January (all photos by me):

1. Common Redpoll 
The Common Redpoll is a small finch with a red cap, black chin and lores, boldly streaked flanks and undertail coverts. Redpolls can be found at feeders that people have provided or feeding on birch seeds,
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2. Hairy Woodpecker
Unfortunately I don’t get Hairy Woodpeckers at my feeders but my grandmother does. The Hairy Woodpecker is a medium-sized woodpecker with a longer bill than a Downy Woodpecker and a contrasting black-and-white body,
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Must-see Birds: December

(I got the idea for a northern Alberta version of “Must-see birds” from Pat Bumstead’s and Bob Lefebvre’s Birds Calgary blog. Matthew Sim, who is another young birder, had the idea for the “Must-see birds” posts and writes them all.)

December is a wonderful month for birds; the birds from the Arctic and the boreal forest fly down to spend the winters in the more temperate zones. I had a very hard debate with myself to find the best birds for the month of December, and I believe I’ve found them. Here are my two Must-see birds for December (all photos by me):

1. Pine Grosbeak

The Pine Grosbeak is a large and robust finch with a stubby bill. The adult Pine Grosbeak is pinkish red and the juveniles and females have greenish coloring on the head and rump and more distinctive white wing bars than the adult male. Pine Grosbeaks can be found is medium-sized flocks, feeding on seeds from coniferous and deciduous trees. My mother thinks they look like Christmas ornaments in the trees,

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 2. Snowy Owl

The Snowy Owl is very large and regal looking. The adult female is white with dark barring on the back and chest and feathered feet and toes. Look for Snowy Owls sitting atop a trees or a fence posts,

Must-see birds: November

(I got the idea for a northern Alberta version of “Must-see birds” from Pat Bumstead’s and Bob Lefebvre’s Birds Calgary blog. Matthew Sim, who is another young birder, had the idea for the “Must-see birds” posts and writes them all.)

Starting in October, birds were starting to be very scarce, and now in the coming winter they will be even more so. So instead of five Must-see birds for each month, I’ll have just two Must-see birds monthly. I will resume the five Must-see birds in the spring. Here are my two Must-see birds for November (all photos by me):

1. Northern Harrier  

A few Northern Harriers can be still found in Alberta in November but they won’t be here much longer. I saw one yesterday. The adult Northern Harrier is gray with black wingtips and the juvenile has a rusty colored body and a distinctive white rump. Northern Harriers can be found in marshes and fields.

2. Tundra Swan

The Tundra Swan is completely white with a black bill with a yellow spot on the base. You can still find Tundra Swans flying around in November. So catch one while you can,

Must-see birds: October

(I got the idea for a northern Alberta version of “Must-see birds” from Pat Bumstead’s and Bob Lefebvre’s Birds Calgary blog. Matthew Sim, who is another young birder, had the idea for the “Must-see birds” posts and writes them all.)

In October, most of the summer migrants have left, but you might be lucky and see some late migrating shorebirds and warblers. Here are my five must-see birds for October (all photos by me):

1. Dark-eyed Junco

The Dark-eyed Junco is a medium sized sparrow, with a pale pink bill, gray body, and white belly and under tail. I was able to get a lot of photos of the junco,

2. Greater White-fronted Goose

The Greater White-fronted Goose is my new favorite goose species. The GWFG has a mostly brown body, white at the front of the face, pink bill and orange feet. They can be found in flocks of Canada Geese and Snow Geese,

3. Black-bellied Plover

I saw this Black-bellied Plover on Friday, it was my favorite bird of September. The Black-bellied Plover is a medium sized plover: grayish body with white spots, brown cheek patch, white eyebrow and white rump,

4. Horned Lark

The Horned Lark is a medium sized songbird with a brown body, pale yellow throat, black mask, brown cap and ear tufts. The Horned Larks were in the same field as the Black-bellied Plover,

5. Snow Goose

Snow Geese are very beautiful birds. Snow Geese have a white body, black wing tips and pink feet. Here are some on a nearby big slough,