Alberta Nature Happenings - January

  • Project FeederWatch continues, www.birds.cornell.edu/pfw
  • Watch for Bald Eagles wherever open water allows ducks to overwinter along the rivers such as at the outlet of the Gold Bar Waste Water Treatment Plant. There were 4 Bald Eagles counted in the 2016 Edmonton Christmas Bird Count.
  • Gyrfalcons and Prairie Falcons overwinter in Edmonton, feeding on Pigeons and waterfowl. Visit the Alberta Grain Terminals in north Edmonton to watch Gyrfalcons and Prairie Falcons catch Rock  Pigeons.
  • Townsend's Solitaires move into urban areas to eat berries.
  • Beaver mating season.
  • Most mature bull Moose have dropped their antlers by Jan 9.
  • Rather than search for worms in the frozen soil, overwintering Robins will visit fruit trees for food.
  • Bohemian Waxwings will visit yards in rural and forested urban areas in search of fruit, often staying for hours before moving on.
  • Juncos will hunt for fallen seed, often before dawn.
  • The smaller the bird, the earlier it hunts for food in the winter darkness.
  • Listen for Great Horned Owls' "hoot" as they pair up for mating season.
  • Drive Range Road 260 and 261 north of St. Albert to check for Snowy Owls.
  • The population of Cougars in Alberta is now estimated to be around 2050 animals.
  • Muskrat houses or "pushups" are the only sign of this aquatic rodent in frozen ponds and lakes.
  • Willow areas north of Fort McMurray attract the aptly named Willow Ptarmigan in its white winter plumage.
  • Now through late March is a difficult time for birds; providing food and an open source of water is important.
  • Winter is a great time to look for birds' nests. Admire the craftsmanship, but leave the nest in place.
  • Aldo Leopold's (Father of Wildlife Conservation) birthday Jan. 11
  • Jumping mice are asleep below ground. They are our only hibernating mice.
  • Canada Lynx are active through the winter preying primarily on Snowshoe Hares.
  • Many small wild creatures such as voles, deer mice, and shrews are active through the cold of winter in the "subnivean" layer beneath the snow.
  • Late January is a good time to see Bison and Moose along the parkway of Elk Island National Park north of Hwy 16.
  • Great Grey Owls and Northern Hawk Owls are often more visible in winter as they hunt woodland edges during the day.
  • Quadrantid Meteor Shower early in the month. See up to 120 falling meteors per hour! Best night is January 4 in predawn hours.
  • Full Moon, known as the Wolf Moon, is January 10.