Alberta’s Merry Migrators: A little birdie told me spring is here!

This is the final part of a four part series on migrators. You can find the first three parts on songbirdswater birds and bats and other birds here.

Trumpeter Swan

This installment of our series is about our migratory species’ coming home to Alberta – some of which have already made their way here! The sound of Canada geese honking has been resonating in the sky for a couple of weeks now (depending on where you live). Geese and other waterfowl try to time their return for when water bodies start becoming ice-free.  

Cape May

While many migratory birds have returned to southern Alberta, those that are headed further north are still enroute. Song birds that breed in the boreal forest have to fly thousands of kilometres to reach their destination. Summers are short, especially in northern Alberta, so when birds return they immediately get busy with mating and nest building.

Look for hawks and falcons perched along roadsides, searching for prey. Receding snow makes it easier to find small mammals. Listen for bird calls, not only are migratory songbirds returning but year round residents are calling more, getting ready for the breeding season. Birds will be trying to attract mates or defend territories.

Peregrine Falcon

Eastern Red Bat

Our migratory bats are also on their way. Relatively warm temperatures are required to provide them with insects and bugs. So once you start noticing more insects, you can be assured that the bats have returned. They are the primary consumers of nocturnal insects (including mosquitoes) and therefore occupy an important ecological niche.

Spring is the start of new beginnings and Alberta’s air, land and water will be full of activity – you don’t need to look too far to welcome back to our Merry Migrators!

1 thought on “Alberta’s Merry Migrators: A little birdie told me spring is here!

  1. It’s good to see them winging their ways back.
    But too bad many are returning to hostile places…I’m recalling the demise of 30 Great Blue Herons in August of 2015, near a pump house at an abandoned sump pond at the Mildred Lake mine site north of Fort McMurray.
    We have yet to learn the determinations of the investigations launched at the time.

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