Edmonton, Alberta

Bird News


May 22, 2017 - We had our first hummingbird today in south St. Albert thought you might like to know. Christian Neudecker

May 15 & 16, 2017 Rare Bird Spotted Twice in the Edmonton Area

This week customers Anne Rivet and Jim MacGregor both saw and photographed Harris's Sparrow, a rare bird in our region. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Harris's Sparrow is "North America's largest sparrow and the only songbird that breeds in Canada (in the Arctic) and nowhere else in the world. In winter it settles in the south-central Great Plains, where it is a backyard favorite. Unfortunately, Harris's Sparrow populations are declining; its restricted range make it vulnerable to habitat loss on the wintering and breeding grounds." In fact, according to Jim MacGregor's research, COSEWIC, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, says Harris's Sparrow is "showing ongoing declines largely due to pressures on their wintering grounds in the US" and has been placed on their "Species of Concern" list. They come to feeders, so keep an eye out for them! For more information about Harris' Sparrows, go here.

May 14, 2017 - A customer sent a photo and said, "I had a brown thrasher on the deck in St. Albert on Sunday May 14 2017. I understand these are rare in this area? It's the first I've ever seen." Jack Park, our resident bird expert said, "Rare in this area but have been seen before. Nice to see one!" See more on Brown Thrashers.

May 7, 2017 - I'm out at lake Isle on RR55 just off highway 16 west. As I sat down with a coffee around 8.30 pm tonight I saw my first hummingbird of the season trying to get through my window to my red flowers inside. Went straight to my kitchen and made hummingbird food and filled up the feeders. 

Hope the bird survives the night and comes back tomorrow! Henk van Gelder


August 31, 2016

We have had many reports of hummingbird sightings, particularly from customers north and west of Edmonton, but also from in Edmonton and St. Albert. August is the month of Ruby-throated Hummingbird migration. The males leave first, then the females and juveniles. Keep your feeders up until the middle of September to allow stragglers to have a chance to tank up with sugar water before they depart on their journey to Central America.

May 31, 2016

The hummingbirds are back although they arrived later than expected. We've received a number of sightings. To see them, check out our Hummingbirds Sightings page.

April 1, 2016

For up to date sightings of the migration of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, check out Michael Wiens' website, or the Journey North migration map.

March 11, 2016

Vincent Cottrell reported a Mountain Bluebird that he saw around 8:45am this day south of Hwy 14 at about RR 224 (south of Sherwood Park). That is an extremely early sighting.

January 30, 2016

Black-backed Woodpeckers, both male and female, have been seen in the Whitemud Ravine in Edmonton. They can often be located by listening for the soft tapping as they scale bark in a characteristic pattern.

January 8, 2016

More Uncommon Birds in Our Area Now

Our winter of 2015/16 has turned out to be an interesting one with surprising or less common birds showing up. Follow the links below to see pictures and information about each bird.

  • Including White-Winged Crossbills in large numbers (watch for them in the top of spruce trees with heavy crops of cones). You may also see Red Crossbills mixed with them, or on their own in small flocks.
  • There was also the Costa's Hummingbird native to the southwestern US that appeared in a woman's yard for a few weeks in Sherwood Park in November.
  • Dianne and Garth Barrett, store customers from Morinville have also had a Yellow-rumped Warbler in their yard. And Jack Park, one of our Sunday staff members, has had a Yellow-rumped Warbler in his Highlands backyard for a couple of weeks.
  • And of course there are the Common Redpolls and Pine Siskins who are visiting our region again this year after a two year hiatus.


December 1, 2015

We received word today from Jeanette that the Costa's Hummingbird that had been frequenting her home for over a month has not returned in the past few days.

November 23, 2015

The Costa's Hummingbird, a native of Arizona and Southern California, was spotted in Sherwood Park by Jeanette Van Deel Piepers. She called us Nov 10 saying she had him in her yard. As of Nov 23, he was still in her yard, sipping on hummingbird nectar in a cup on a heating pad for coffee mugs! Richard Klauke, a rare bird specialist from southern Alberta, came up to identify him. No one knows how this bird got here. They are not big migrators, like the Ruby-throat, which travels from Alberta to Central America and back again each year. The Costa's only migrates short distances in its native range, up and down slope moving with the temperature, but not travelling to Alberta.

November 3, 2015

Michael Wiens, author of Jewel of the North, a book about the Ruby-throated Hummingbird in Alberta, reports that the number of sighting reports he received this year were up from last, and also that there were reports of hummers still in the Edmonton area as late as early October. We had an October sighting reported to us at the store as well.

October 25, 2015

Red and White-Winged Crossbills were reported in a yard in Lansdowne area of Edmonton and near the Snow Valley end of the Whitemud Ravine. Also, Wayne and Diane Oakes in Rio Terrace brought pictures of a Juvenile White-winged Crossbill in their yard about the same time. See All About Birds for more information about Crossbills.

February 24,  2015

Common Redpolls have been showing up outside of Edmonton in the last 2 weeks, indicating that these visitors with the tell-tale red caps and yellow beaks have started returning to our area. While there have been redpolls reported at feeders by customers in La Perle and the Winterburn Road area, we've had more sightings with larger numbers of birds at feeders in Sturgeon and Parkland counties, including Hubbles Lake. If you have a finch feeder, and you live in a wooded rural area, now is the time to get them up and fill them with Nyjer seed, or our Finch Blend, which is a mix of Nyjer seed and black oil sunflower chips.

January 6, 2015

See the results of Christmas Bird Counts in Edmonton and surrounding areas.

September 22, 2014

Ron Pittaway's annual Winter Finch Forecast for 2014/2015 has been released with a prediction of "a moderate to good flight south this fall and winter (of Common Redpolls) because birch seed crops are variably poor to average in the boreal forest." We are also expected to see Pine Siskins this year after the absence of both birds in the area last winter. See the full forecast here.

August 13, 2014

Michael Wiens, author of Jewel of the North, reports that "we've had an incredible year in the country with an enormous increase in hummingbirds since last year. One evening we managed well over 60 sightings per minute over a 45 minute stretch. No word of a lie."

See the Hummingbird Report 2014 for more details about sightings in your area.

July 30, 2014

A customer from Redwater reports seeing Cardinals on a regular basis on his acreage.

Several customers in St. Albert report hummingbirds in their gardens and at their feeders.

June 28, 2014

See two video segments featuring Dr. Gordon Court at the store with his Peregrine Falcon, Vinnie.

Edmonton Journal video of Vinnie visiting with WBU customers in the store.

Weather Network video on pesticides and bee decline including a segment with Gord Court.

Goldfinches and Cardinals

May 27, 2014

Eight different customers reported having American Goldfinches in their yards and at feeders, ranging in numbers between one or two and a dozen. To attract Goldfinches, offer them Black Oil Sunflower chips. Also, a customer from Sherwood Park reports she has Cardinals as regular visitors at her feeder. Early in the winter we heard from one Strathcona County customer who has seen as many as six Cardinals at one time. 

May 14, 2014

Michael Wiens, several customers, and our very own staff member Monikah Wiseman are reporting Ruby-throated Hummingbird sightings in their yards. See Michael's website for up to date sighting information for our area, and to report your sighting. You can download a current map here. Some of you may have heard Michael interviewed on CBC's Radioactive by host Portia Clark in May.

Jack Park's Ryley Bluebird Trail Has a New Volunteer

April 2014

WBU customers Gary and Pam Osborn have volunteered to assume responsibility for looking after a bluebird trail at Ryley, east of Sherwood Park. Jack took Gary out this month to show him the trail, clean out the boxes, and get everything set for the new Mountain Bluebird season. Note that Jack will be leading a tour to his own bluebird trail on Sunday, May 25. More details to follow.

Jack Park Seeking Volunteer to Take Over Ryley Bluebird Trail

April 2014

Jack Park, staff member here at Wild Birds Unlimited, is seeking someone to take over care of his Ryley Bluebird trail, one of the two Bluebird Trails that he currently looks after. The task is a pleasant one that involves maintaining the wooden nesting boxes attached to fence posts along rural roads by pastures and wooded areas in the Ryley area between April and August. The task involves cleaning out the boxes, replacing damaged or older boxes occasionally, checking the boxes to see if there are nesting birds in the box, etc.
Banding the birds is not necessary though there are banders who will come and help out. A good opportunity for folks to get out and enjoy the countryside. Jack would offer any advice you want and has a map of the box locations.

Contact the store for information. 587-521-2473.

Chickadees' Range Moving North with Global Warming

March 2014

Black-capped Chickadee

The zone of overlap between two popular, closely related backyard birds is moving northward at a rate that matches warming winter temperatures, according to a study by researchers from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Villanova University, and Cornell University....

In a narrow strip that runs across the eastern U.S., Carolina Chickadees from the south meet and interbreed with Black-capped Chickadees from the north. The new study finds that this hybrid zone has moved northward at a rate of 0.7 mile per year over the last decade. That’s fast enough that the researchers had to add an extra study site partway through their project in order to keep up. Read More


2013 - 2014 Finch Forecast Predicts Fewer Finch Visitors to Backyard Feeders this Year

October, 2013

Falstaff the Peregrine Goes Free

June, 2013 - If you visited the store on the Father's Day weekend in June 2013 to see the peregrine falcons brought in by Dr. Gord Court of Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, you'll be interested to learn about Falstaff's release back to the wild.

Edmonton Public Library offers a new database

August, 2012 - Birds of North America – It’s prime birding season. Want to familiarize yourself with the feathered friends in our backyard? Or perhaps you’re a seasoned birder looking for more in-depth information on your latest encounter. This database offers a wealth of bird info including beautiful photos, audio files of bird calls and videos of birds in their natural habitats. Plus, if you have a tablet with internet access, you can take it on your next expedition.