BIG NEWS! Ellis Bird Farm will be staying open after labour day! We will be open until December 16th with modified hours. If you have ever wanted to experience fall and winter on our site you can!
This spring we put a camera in a mountain bluebird nest box to get up close and personal with a bluebird family. This is for a study we are conducting on parental care of mountain bluebirds. Thanks to Red Deer and District Community Foundation for making this study possible!
This year, Dr. Delano Lewis and Dr. Natalia Lifshitz are partnering with Ellis Bird Farm to conduct a study that explores the link between mountain bluebirds, pesticides and insects. With funding from Alberta Environment and Parks, we are collecting feces from mountain bluebird nestlings, then sending the feces to a lab to determine what types of insects are being eaten and whether there are any pesticides in the feces. We are also setting traps to determine insect diversity and abundance around bluebird nests, as well as analyze the pesticide concentrations in the insects that are caught in the traps. We hope to determine whether bluebird reproduction is affected by insect abundance, diversity and contamination.
Fun fact - nestling bluebirds package their poop into what's called a fecal sac, and the parents either remove the sac from the nest or eat it. The fecal sac is made up of a black part (undigested insect remains) and a white part (uric acid). Who knew bird poop could be so interesting?!
We were so excited to present Shonna McLeod with the 2021 Blue Feather Award yesterday at the Bluebird Festival! The Blue Feather Award is presented each year to an individual who makes a significant contribution to bluebird conservation in their lifetime. Shonna has spent decades looking after bluebirds (and still does!) since she started monitoring her own nest box trail in the 1990s. She's also banded countless nestlings, and mentored younger bluebird trail monitors in the Calgary area. In addition to maintaining her own trail, she is currently a bander in charge for the Saw Whet Owl Monitoring Project and spends around 40 consecutive nights per year banding from sunset to midnight! Thank you Shonna for all you've done and continue to do for the birds!
This male MOBL appears to "strut his stuff" for the camera but actually there is a female MOBL close by.
Video by Maureen Carey
Wandering the West Woods at EBF, April 12, 2021, and happened upon this patch of green leaves of Pyrola asarifolia, commonly known as Pink wintergreen. Insert shows what to expect in a couple of months.
What is spring without a photo of a crocus?
There were none to be found at EBF.
However, Morris Flewwelling came to our rescue, sharing his time to lead us to a patch growing on his farm.
The first bloom was April 1, 2021.
Although Mallards are common, their beauty cannot be overlooked! These took flight from Sandpiper Pond, April 7, 2021.
The upper right is a female. Note she lacks the green head and other bright colorings. The males also have a short black curl above the tail, thus the second from the bottom can be identified as a male even though the head is not visible.
The Red-tailed Hawks have returned.
This one was was photographed in the south west corner of Ellis Bird Farm, today, April 7, 2021.
Another pair have been seen (and heard) circling over the West Woods.
The blossom of the Beaked Hazelnut is one of the first found in EBF’s West Woods.
This photo shows the catkin, the blossom and another bud.
Photo taken April 5, 2021
Ellis Bird Farm
Video Stories here
When purchasing from our online bookstore, Myrna will be happy to "sign" any of her books for you.
All proceeds from the sales of these books support the education, conservation, and research programs of Ellis Bird Farm.
· Household brooms
· Yarn and plastic lacing cord
· Umbrellas to loan out to visitors on rainy days
· Wooden or nature-based plastic beads for our school and day camp programs
· Old fashioned one-speed bike (to keep the farmstead theme of EBF). This would be used for staff to open and close the gate and other errands around the site.
· Leaf blowers
· Bistro sets (small table, two chairs
We celebrate the contributions cats and birds make to our lives, our environment, and our communities, and invite Canadians to consider what they can do to make Canada a safer place for both cats and birds. Here.