Alberta’s Merry Migrators: Bits and Bats

Ferruginous hawk

This is part three of a four part series on migrators. You can find the first part on songbirds and water birds here.

We’ve been learning about various kinds of birds that migrate south during Alberta’s long, cold winters. What about the birds of prey – owls, hawks, eagles and falcons? It turns out that some stay but many leave for southern clines. Continue reading

Alberta’s Merry Migrators: Water wings and hopes of spring

This is part two of a four part series on migrators. You can find the first part on songbirds here.

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There are still several weeks of winter left until we see one of the most iconic signs of spring – a group of Canada geese flying in a “V” formation. Alberta’s water birds are spending the winter in warmer southern climates.

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Studying Cougars in Alberta – Meet the Team

This is part one of a three part series on cougar management work in Alberta.

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How many Environment and Parks staff does it take to collar a cougar?

It’s actually a valid question. It turns out it takes several teams of highly trained professionals. This winter, two teams of wildlife biologists are collaring cougars to help gather data on population dynamics and movement patterns. The results will help inform future cougar management practices in Alberta.

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Alberta’s 5 Most Romantic Animals of 2017

When we think of Alberta’s wildlife we don’t always think about the birds and the bees. Valentine’s Day is the perfect time for some added romance. Here are our picks for this year’s five most loving, though not always the most lovable creatures.

1) Ord’s Kangaroo Rat

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Looking for love and romance!

You may be thinking, ‘What self-respecting Valentine looks for a rat?’, never fear: these unique creatures aren’t rats at all!

The Ord’s kangaroo rat can be found in southern Alberta, not far from Medicine Hat in the Suffield area. Their population is in extreme threat, with less than 400 left in the province. They live in sandy areas where roads, crops and climate change have drastically reduced their habitat.

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Alberta’s Merry Migrators: Winter is not always for the songbirds!

This is part one of a four part series on migrators.

When winter arrives, animals have only a few choices: migrate to a warmer place, hibernate, or cope with the conditions. Last year’s blog series featured different types of hibernators. This year we are going to profile some species that head south and explain why the change in locale is necessary for survival.

Black throated green warbler

Black-throated green warbler

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Rules for safe, responsible hunting

This blog series is targeted towards first time hunters and focuses on safe and sustainable hunting in Alberta. Check out a list of all the topics in the series here. This is the fourth article in the series.

It’s extremely important to follow safe practices and procedures while hunting. While on a hunt, conditions can change rapidly and good safety practices can mean the difference between life and death. Make sure you’re prepared and have educated yourself before heading out.

Firearm safety

The federal Firearms Act governs the use of firearms in Canada. Individuals wishing to acquire non-restricted firearms must take the Canadian Firearms Safety Course (CFSC) and pass the tests, or challenge and pass the CFSC tests. All hunters should be aware of federal laws surrounding the acquisition, possession, transportation and use of weapons and ammunition. Visit the Canadian Firearms Centre to learn more. Practice shooting and using a firearm will help you become both a more accurate and safe hunter. Continue reading

Navigating the Paperwork

This blog series is targeted towards first time hunters and focuses on safe and sustainable hunting in Alberta. Check out a list of all the topics in the series here. This is the third article in the series, and focuses on wildlife certificates, licences, tags and the draw system.

huntingNow that you have:

  1. Educated yourself on Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) and determined where you want to hunt;
  2. Determined your eligibility to hunt in Alberta by reading the Regulations;
  3. Acquired a Wildlife Identification Number (WIN) card; and
  4. Completed an Alberta Conservation and Hunter Education Course, or; have previously held a licence authorizing recreational hunting in Alberta or another jurisdiction.

It’s time to discuss three important pieces of paperwork:

  • Wildlife certificates
  • Licences
  • Tags

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New Alberta Community Bat Program


They’ve had a superhero named after them – and it’s no wonder – bats are an essential part of ecosystems throughout the world, including here in Alberta, where we have nine species of insect-eating bats. In North America, the fungal disease White-nose Syndrome has devastated bat populations in the east, and has now been detected near Seattle. Continue reading

Bear encounters: what you need to know

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Bears are one of our province’s wild species and we need to be cautious and alert when we head out into bear habitat. Although rare, bear encounters and attacks do happen and it’s easy to forget what to do or panic if it does happen. Remember that most bear encounters and attacks can be prevented and almost always bears aren’t seeking conflict with humans. Continue reading

When Jacks Attack

One young girl in Drayton Valley got a shock when she was swimming in the area and had an encounter of the fishy kind. One of the pike in the lake bit her hand – while his motive was unclear, biologists from Environment and Parks sprang into action!

Taking the bait

Photos of the bite and a tooth collected during the incident were submitted as evidence in this case. The team determined this was probably a case of a northern pike (Esox Lucious) biting the swimmer’s hand – but needed to look deeper. Continue reading