Alberta Scenery Photo Tour
Alberta Wildlife:  Birds

Of course, this is just a small sampling of Alberta wildlife.  But it gives you a taste for what you might see if you visit.


Photo:  Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl
photographer:  Anguskirk, license CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Great Horned Owl was adopted as Alberta's provincial bird in 1977 and is one of Canada's most common birds of prey.

This owl hunts only at night and is most easily identified by its large size and feathery ear tufts (horns).  Most Great Horned Owls mate for life laying 1 to 5 eggs each year well before the snow melts.

Find out more about the Great Horned Owl >  (includes additional worksheets)

Photo:  Black-Billed Magpie

photo by Leanne Guenther
© Leanne Guenther, used with permission

Magpies, crows and ravens -- you're going to see a few!

The magpie is a member of the crow family (and is just as annoying to farmers).  There are still more people shooting them with guns than with cameras here in Alberta although they are quite pretty, especially when they are in flight.  It lives in most of western North America -- from Alaska to Oklahoma.


Photo:  Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle - photo by Leanne Guenther
© Leanne Guenther, used with permission

Although the Bald Eagle is the USA's national bird, most of it's breeding grounds are located in Canada, including most of Alberta.

The bald eagle is the only eagle exclusive to North America.  They are Canada’s largest bird of prey and have no natural enemies.

Bald eagles choose one mate for life.  To impress each other, males and females perform special courtship dances in the sky. This dance involves locking their talons together and cart-wheeling through the air.

When a bald eagle loses a feather on one wing, it will lose a feather on the other in order to keep its balance!

Bald Eagle information and coloring page


Photo:  Canada Geese

Canada Geese - photo by Leanne Guenther
© Leanne Guenther, used with permission

One of my favorite spring and autumn memories ever since my early childhood was hearing the honk of the Canada Geese.  I'd peer up at the sky and look for the telltale V-formation of the flock of geese returning to Canada for the summer or leaving for the winter.  This spring, I couldn't help but smile when I noticed my daughters straining their necks in search of the geese.  

Canada Goose Coloring Page (with information)

more about the Canada Goose >


Photo:  Snowy Owls

You likely won't see an owl if you visit unless you take a visit to the zoo or you really focus on looking for one -- if you do see one in the wild, consider yourself very lucky.  The Great Horned Owl is the province's official bird.  We also have Snowy Owls, Burrowing Owls, Pygmy Owls and many more varieties.

source wiki commons - photo by Adamantios
source wiki commons - photo by Adamantios

Snowy owls are mainly white with some black or dark brown markings.  Since snowy owls are found in colder climates, they have a thick layer of down underneath their many layers of feathers to keep themselves warm in even the most frigid temperatures.

Snowy owls nest in the arctic during the time of year when it is daylight for most of the day. Likely because of this, snowy owls are the only type of owl that sleep at night and hunt during the day (all other owls come out at night).

Snowy owls visit every province of Canada during the winter - they tend to nest and breed during summer in the more northern areas of the country.

Snowy Owls information and coloring page

Alberta provincial bird with labels worksheet

Alberta provincial bird coloring page


Of course, there are lots of other birds including blue jays, steller's jays, sparrows, chickadees, finches, robins, mallard ducks, hawks, osprey, falcons, pelicans and gulls.