Edmonton, Alberta

Nature Happenings - August

• The big event in Nature This Month is the total solar eclipse that will be visible across the central United States. In Alberta, we will see a partial solar eclipse. For more information about the solar eclipse, go to the home page of the Edmonton chapter of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

Day Lillies are in bloom.
• Young loons learn to fly.
• Yellow jackets make paper-like nests.
• Watch for migrating nocturnal Common Nighthawks.

• Young red-tailed hawks are out of the nest but still dependent on their parents as they learn to hunt.
• Hummingbird sightings peak in August as the males, females, and juveniles prepare to depart for the south. 

• Hummingbirds are active at feeders and at flowers, sourcing protein from spiders and insects and sipping nectar for sugars.
• Male hummingbirds start their southbound migration this month, averaging 20 miles a day to their wintering grounds in Central America and Mexico. Females and juveniles head south later.
• Sora rails are easier to see than earlier in th year as their young explore their home sloughs.

• Migration begins. Keep feeders full with fresh food for "stopover" migrants.

• The pungent smell of high-bush cranberries fills the air in wooded areas.

• Warblers drift south on the beginning of their long migration to central America.

• In the Edmonton area, young flying squirrels emerge from their nesting cavity and soon become quite capable gliders.
• Geese, ducks, cranes, etc. usually fly in 'V' formation. The theory is that all, but lead bird, gain lift from wing-tipped vortices produced by lead bird.
• American Goldfinches finish nesting late this month.

• Antler development for most deer, elk, and moose is complete. By late August, these animals begin to clean off the dead velvet by rubbing their antlers on tree trunks and bushes. Watch for rub marks or strips of shredded bark.

• Bison bulls compete during the rut in Elk Island and Wood Buffalo parks.

• Black Terns are turning white as they prepare to head south.

• Beautiful day-flying police car moths gather on cow parsnip.

• Waterfowl are moving off the small breeding ponds to larger wetlands.

• During the last week of August, walks in the river valley of Edmonton often reveal small flocks of warblers already drifting south.
• Perseids Meteor shower is mid-month (Aug 12th). The Perseids is always a good way to spend an August evening with the family enjoying the night sky!