Welcoming spring with annual bluebird pilgrimage

Every year I am just a bit too early. Too early that is, to see flocks of brilliant blue wings flutter across the prairie skyline making their way to spring nesting spots.

Little handcrafted bird houses sit atop fence lines throughout the roads around Craven, Saskatchewan – especially just east along route 99. And each year, mountain bluebird couples migrate back, often times taking up residence in the same box as years past – that is if they get there before the tree swallows. Continue reading

Wildlife Wednesday – Backyard visitors

Some days its too snowy or cold to go anywhere far to seek out wildlife. Or just treacherous. Last year while scouting snowy owls I managed to get really stuck in a snowdrift – on a gravel road – by myself. But you don’t have to go far to see wildlife, why not invite them to come to you?

I have a few a lot of feeders in my backyard. Currently, I feed about 70 birds a day and two families of squirrels. What can I say? It makes me happy. So therefore, today’s wildlife Wednesday is dedicated to some of my little (backyard) friends. Continue reading

Photo Essay: Cabo in ROYGBIV

When I visited Cabo in December I found a myriad of bright colours nearly everywhere I looked. From its turquoise waters to potted red Christmas poinsettias, the dull browns of the desert to the vibrant greens of the palms, eye candy colour is found with each glance.

Below is a roundup of photos featuring rainbow colours collected during my visit. As you will easily notice, many of these photos could represent multiple colour categories!

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Wildlife Wednesday: Back yard bird beauty

I wish I could fluff up and keep warm from the chill of winter just like this little beauty from my backyard.

Happy Wildlife Wednesday!

bird

Housefinch

Question of the day
Do you have any regular visitors to your backyard?

Hoo Hoo gives a hoot about burrowing owls?

Coo-Cooo! I do! I do! So much so that I adopted one!

Let me introduce you to the newest member of the Smith-Nelson clan although technically he doesn’t live with us. This is Trooper! He was born and raised at the Saskatchewan Burrowing Owl Interpretive Centre, hatching there in 2005.

Trooper the Burrowing Owl

Did you know? Maintaining owls in captivity can cost up to costs approximately $400/owl/year in food alone! Help a bird out!

Trooper was hand raised so that he could become tame enough to participate in the Centre’s educational programs, but at the ripe old age of 8 he’s recently retired and living the good life. I am hoping to meet him sometime next month!

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Time for some more grackle love – bath time

I promised to upload this video from a while back of two grackles having a great time in a fountain, sorry it has taken me so long. This was taken earlier this year while I was on vacation in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

See how lovely and charismatic these birds can be! I adore how their calls and how their whole body changes depending on what type of call they are making. They certainly love the water as you will see! Continue reading

Always an opportunity for birding in Saskatchewan

With over 350 species of birds, Saskatchewan is a solid destination for birding activities. That seems to be ringing true throughout the chilly winter months and is evident even in my backyard. As I learn more and more techniques for attracting certain types of birds into my yard, they seem to come a ‘flocking’. And they bring their friends.

I think I have even been able to get my neighbors on the bird train and there may even be some friendly competition going on for the most attractive yard for the feathery visitors.

At any given time I can see large families of sparrows can be spotted nestling contentedly in the pine tree; juncos cleaning up the fallen seeds in the snow; a downy woodpecker rapping on the maple tree; house finches hopping along the fence link; beautiful red polls who pose for me; and of course nuthatches and chickadees who have fierce speed competitions through the branches. Those are the most common yard visitors this year but certainly not the full extent. Winter birding in Saskatchewan has not disappointed.


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Take a lesson from the birds

So after a couple of days in Uganda I know a couple of things to be true:

1. It is hot here and I hear we are just coming off of the winter season.
2. There are a lot of people here, albeit, friendly, warm people (35 million-ish, comparable to the population in all of Canada in the space of about 1/2 the province of Saskatchewan).
3.On a journey to discover how highly functional co-operatives can be in a country such as this I have I already learned that even the Ugandan birds co-operate.

Yes, I have found a way to sneak the birds into my Uganda stories. But there is a point, I promise.
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As they exit …

Fall is clearly upon us. Leaves turning and landing on the ground, brisk mornings and the absence of my fine, feathered friends have been noted.

This will likely be my last bird post of the season as the steady exit becomes more noticeable each weekend I go birding around my cabin area.I plan on doing a provincial bird tour next year so that I can expand my birding horizons, so stay tuned!

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