Alberta Nature Happenings in May

  • Hummingbirds arrive in Central Alberta between May 10 and 15, usually. Be sure to have your feeders up by May 10.
  • Warbler migration starts this month, although some are seen in late April depending on the year.
  • Hermit Thrush, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, House Wrens, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, American Goldfinches are all seen in increasing numbers this month.
  • The earliest goslings of Canada Geese begin to appear on rivers and ponds in southern Alberta.
  • Morel mushrooms erupt in central Alberta - they are excellent eating.
  • Around May 23 is a good time to visit the shores of North Cooking Lake, east of Sherwood Park. This is a peak migration period for large numbers of Arctic-nesting shorebirds.
  • Visit Elk Island National Park to see newly born bison calves.
  • Look for Mountain Bluebirds and Tree Swallows nesting in boxes on fence posts placed there by volunteers in rural areas of Parkland County (over 1000 boxes) and Strathcona County. A driving tour of backroads between Acheson and Duffield south of the Yellowhead is an area to look. 
  • The flowering blooms of saskatoons and chokecherries appear as a whitish haze through the midst of the aspen parkland. They result in some excellent pies and jams from berries picked in late summer.
  • Phoebe’s return this month.
  • Nesting materials are being collected.
  • Peak of bird courtship. Listen for the morning chorus.
  • Orioles return and begin nesting in outlying areas. If you have seen them in your area in past years, be sure to have their feeders, nectar, fruit and jelly out early.
  • Wilson Snipe are "winnowing" (a sound made in flight) over wetlands throughout the province.
  • Red-necked Grebes are courting and building nests in the shallow lakes of central Alberta.
  • Shorebird migration is at its peak.
  • Turkey Vultures can be seen searching for abandoned buildings in which to nest in the Cold Lake area.
  • Fawns start to be born (5/15 – 6/30).
  • Beaver kits and skunk litters are born.
  • Mosquitoes can begin to be a problem. Refresh bird bath water often to deter them from breeding.
  • Observe courtship behaviour of peregrine falcons at or near their urban nest sites. As many as 13 pairs nest in Alberta cities. Edmonton has had 8 pairs.
  • Be on the lookout for tadpoles in ponds.
  • Eta Aquarids meteor shower peaks May 4-5.
  • Full Moon is May 7, 2020 and is called the Flower Moon.
  • International Migratory Bird Day is Saturday May 9, 2020.