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top prev next bottom Wildlife

We live on an acreage with a clear view of the Canadian Rockies, and enjoy watching all kinds of animals. This is a short list of what we happen to see in and around our yard. Most of those we have positively identified, otherwise we use the (generic name).

Mammals -- Richardson's Ground Squirrels, (moles), (voles), (mice), Badger, Ermine, Muskrats, Snowshoe Hare, White-tailed Jack Rabbit, Coyotes, Mule Deer, White-tailed Deer, Moose.

Birds (long-legged waders) -- Great Blue Heron.

Birds (duck-like) -- Bufflehead, American Coot, Ruddy Duck, Common Goldeneye, Canada Goose, Eared Grebe, Mallard, Common Merganser, White Pelican, Lesser Scaup, Northern Shoveler, Blue-winged Teal, Cinnamon Teal, Green-winged Teal, American Wigeon.

Birds (sandpiper-like) -- American Avocet, Killdeer, Wilson's Phalarope, Common Snipe, Lesser Yellowlegs.

Birds (upland ground) -- Gray Partridge.

Birds (Chicken-like Marsh) -- Sora.

Birds (owls) -- Northern Hawk Owl.

Birds (hawk-like) -- Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Ferruginous Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Rough-legged Hawk, Swainson's Hawk, American Kestrel, Merlin.

Birds (swallow-like) -- Cliff Swallow, Tree Swallow.

Birds (hummingbirds) -- Rufous Hummingbird, Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

Birds (perching) -- Red-winged Blackbird, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Mountain Bluebird, Black-capped Chickadee, Brown-headed Cowbird, Common Crow, Gray-crowned Rosy Finch, House Finch, American Goldfinch, Pine Grosbeak, Blue Jay, Dark-eyed Junco, Eastern Kingbird, Black-billed Magpie, Western Meadowlark, Common Raven, American Robin, Northern Shrike, Chipping Sparrow, House Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Starling, Cedar Waxwing.

Insects -- (mosquitoes), (flies), (spiders), (bees), (wasps), (butterflies).

Reptiles -- Northern Leopard Frog.

Domesticated -- (horses), (dogs), (cats).

Over time we will try to make pictures of them and publish those with a little blurb.

References (5-Jun-2012)

We use the following books to help us in identification and learn more about the wildlife in our area:

Acknowledgement (23-Sep-2006)

Several bird pictures were provided by Jo Penders, brother of my wife. On his visits to Canada he made lots of videos. Most of the pictures that has his name on it, were actually images copied from those videos. We enlarge them as much as we could, but obviously the quality is not as good as pictures taking directly with a digital camera.

top prev next bottom Mammals

Richardson's Ground Squirrel (Spermophilus richardsonii) (20-Jun-2006)

Family: Squirrels (Sciuridae)

Muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) (5-Jun-2012)

Family: New World Rats and Mice (Cricetidae)

Snowshoe Hare (Lepus americanus) (23-Dec-2008)

Family: Rabbits and Hares (Leporidae)

White-tailed Jack Rabbit (Lepus townsendii) (4-Sep-2009)

Family: Rabbits and Hares (Leporidae)

Coyote (Canis latrans) (23-Nov-2004)

Family: Wolves, Foxes, and the Coyote (Canidae)

Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus) (23-Dec-2008)

Family: Deer (Cervidae)

Moose (Alces alces) (14-Dec-2008)

Family: Deer (Cervidae)

top prev next bottom Birds: long-legged waders

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) (23-Sep-2006)

Family: Herons (Ardeidae)

top prev next bottom Birds: duck-like

American Coot (Fulica americana) (4-Aug-2005)

Family: Rails (Rallidae)

Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) (23-Sep-2006)

Family: Ducks (Anatidae)

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) (21-Sep-2006)

Family: Ducks (Anatidae)

Eared Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis) (23-Sep-2006)

Family: Grebes (Podicipedidae)

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) (15-Jun-2007)

Family: Ducks (Anatidae)

Common Merganser (Mergus merganser) (23-Sep-2006)

Family: Ducks (Anatidae)

Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata) (23-Sep-2006)

Family: Ducks (Anatidae)

Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors) (23-Sep-2006)

Family: Ducks (Anatidae)

top prev next bottom Birds: sandpiper-like

Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) (21-Sep-2006)

Family: Plovers (Charadriidae)

Wilson's Phalarope (Steganopus tricolor) (23-Sep-2006)

Family: Phalaropes (Phalaropodidae)

Common Snipe or Wilson's Snipe (Capella gallinago) (3-Dec-2006)

Family: Sandpipers (Scolopacidae)

Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes) (7-Sep-2006)

Family: Sandpipers (Scolopacidae)

top prev next bottom Birds: upland ground

Gray (or Hungarian) Partridge (Perdix perdix) (14-Dec-2008)

Family: Pheasants (Phasianidae)

top prev next bottom Birds: owls

Northern Hawk Owl (Surnia ulula) (12-Oct-2009)

Family: Owls (Strigidae)

Northern Hawk Owl On the eve before the Canadian Thanksgiving Day (11-Oct-2009) we had a great turkey dinner with our 5 guests. After the main course we decided to watch a movie and have desserts about halfway through. Suddenly there was a very loud bang. After our first shock we checked all the rooms and checked outside -- as far as that is possible in the dark -- what could have caused that, but we did not find anything.

The next morning I solved the "big bang mystery". When I opened the curtains downstairs there was an owl sitting on the patio just under the North edge of the deck. From the amount of droppings it was obvious that the owl had been there a long time. My conclusion was that the owl flew into a glass panel of the deck railing and just dropped on the patio. It turned its head around when I opened the door, but that was about it. While I was searching for the phone number of the Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation (AIWC) in Madden, the owl got pestered by 5 magpies and it moved somehow to one of those led lights we have in the flowerbed a few meters from where it sat first, but there the owl remained no matter what the magpies did.

About an hour later a AIWC volunteer from Airdrie came. He identified it as a Northern Hawk Owl. As he tried to catch the owl it flew to a post of the back fence. There he was able to catch it with a net. The owl might have some concussion of some sort as the owl did not made any attempt to get away when approached the second time, and the volunteer observed also that its left eye did not work properly. If everything goes okay they will release the "resident" owl back into the wild on our land hopefully in about a week.

Northern Hawk Owl Northern Hawk Owl

Northern Hawk Owl Northern Hawk Owl

On 23-Oct-2009 the Northern Hawk Owl was released again on our property in the exact spot where it was captured. Unfortunately we were not home to witness this event while the director of the AIWC felt that they could no longer wait as the owl was becoming very upset in captivity.

top prev next bottom Birds: hawk-like

We find positive identification of raptors quite difficult, at least for the amateur. Male, female and juvenile have often different markings. Some species have different phases, while other species show regional differences. It is often a matter of elimination rather than identification. Please accept our apologies for possible misidentification, and send us an e-mail with the correct species name.

Peregrine Falcon (Falco Peregrinus) (23-Sep-2006)

Family: Falcons (Falconidae)

Swainson's Hawk (Buteo swainsoni) (23-Sep-2006)

Family: Hawks (Accipitridae)

Merlin (Falco columbarius) (23-Sep-2006)

Family: Falcons (Falconidae)

top prev next bottom Birds: swallow-like

Cliff Swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) (21-Sep-2006)

Family: Swallows (Hirundinidae)

Tree Swallow (Iridoprocne bicolor) (27-Jul-2008)

Family: Swallows (Hirundinidae)

top prev next bottom Birds: hummingbirds

We find positive identification of hummingbirds quite difficult, at least for the amateur. They are moving very quickly, hovering in one spot for only seconds, and only sit still for a moment if they like your hummingbird feeder. Please accept our apologies for possible misidentification, and send us an e-mail with the correct species name.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) (23-Sep-2006)

Family: Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)

top prev next bottom Birds: perching

Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) (23-Sep-2006)

Family: Orioles (Icteridae)

Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus) (23-Sep-2006)

Family: Orioles (Icteridae)

Mountain Blue Birds (Sialia currucoides) (23-Sep-2006)

Family: Thrushes (Turdidae)

Black-capped Chickadee (Parus atricapillus) (22-Jun-2006)

Family: Titmice (Paridae)

Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) (23-Sep-2006)

Family: Orioles (Icteridae)

American Goldfinch (Carduelisp)

Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) (25-Sep-2006)

Family: Finches (Fringillidae)

Black-billed Magpie (Pica pica) (13-Oct-2006)

Family: Crows (Corvidae)

Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta) (23-Sep-2006)

Family: Orioles (Icteridae)

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) (21-Sep-2006)

Family: Thrushes (Turdidae)

Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis) (9-Jul-2008)

Family: Finches (Fringillidae)

White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) (23-Sep-2006)

Family: Finches (Fringillidae)

Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) (5-Sep-2007)

Family: Waxwings (Bombycillidae)

top prev next bottom Insects

t.b.d.

top prev next bottom Reptiles

Northern Leopard Frog (Rana pipiens) (4-Aug-2005)

Family: ()

top prev next bottom Domesticated

Neighbour's Yard (Homo sapiens) (20-Aug-2005)

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