with Nissa Petterson, June 18th, 2020

Cat Birds and More!

Did you know that birds can see in the UV spectrum, or that red and yellow shafted northern flickers have hybridized in Alberta’s Foothills and are becoming more indistinguishable as subspecies? Dr. Everett Hanna filled our birding in the Lethbridge Coulee Adventure with fun facts and shared his tremendous knowledge with 12 would be birders and naturalists!

With binoculars in hand, our group set out early in the morning to tour the beautiful pathways alongside the Oldman River, with the river valley greeting us with an orchestra of bird songs. The overcast morning made our chances of spotting and observing birds considerably better. As we meandered down the path, small groupings of pelicans flew above us, as beaver motored alongside us in the adjacent stream.

Over the course of a few hours we spotted nearly 40 different taxa of bird, in addition to learning some sounds and calls of different species, the most peculiar of which may have been the “meow” of the gray catbird. We had hoped to see a rattlesnake cross our path, at a reasonably safe distance, but that was not the case. We did however see a shoot or two of wild asparagus while admiring the sights and smells of the blooming wild roses.

This adventure was a great opportunity to not only to explore the biodiversity of the coulee and to increase our knowledge of native birds, but it was also an opportunity to appreciate and learn more about the importance of Alberta’s urban wild spaces.