All Creatures Great and Small

All Creatures Great and Small

at Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park

 

We know who the great creatures are at Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park. Bucks accompanied by does and even fawns, the occasional coyote. And, flying by, the big birds, hawks, owls and osprey. But what about the far more secretive yet abundant small ones? A diverse group of songbirds make their home at the park in the summer. They migrate up from southern climes to breed and feed off insects and other northern hemisphere delicacies.

In Alberta, Clay-coloured Sparrows’ most common occurrence is in the prairies and parklands, not treed areas. A walk along a park trail can have them flitting out of the grasses every hundred feet. Listen for the insect-like buzzy calls of the male Clay-colored Sparrows from May through July. They can be distinguished from some other sparrows commonly found at Glenbow, the Vesper and Savannah, by their relatively unstriped buff breast. They search out insects in the shrubbery and seeds in the grass. Nesting habitat is typically a shrubby area with wild grass, situating the nest on the ground or in a low shrub above ground. They build open cup nests out of grass, weeds and twigs, lining it with rootlets, fine grass, and hair. This is another reason to keep dogs on leash in the park to avoid disturbing these or any wildlife shelter.

Spring after spring, Mountain Bluebirds return to nest boxes placed at strategic locations in the park. They can arrive in Alberta as early as March while fall migration for many migratory birds is an extended affair from mid-August to late October. Bluebirds can’t resist the open country with occasional trees for shelter offered at the park.

As members of the Thrush Family (such as American Robins) they feed mainly on insects, spiders or other invertebrates, which they glean from short ground vegetation. Nest boxes are paired, with Tree Swallows often taking one box, and the bluebird occupying the other. The former seeks out insects flying high and the Bluebird will not compete with its ground watch. Unlike other Bluebirds, they often hunt by hovering, obviously inspecting the ground below for any potential food item. The striking turquoise blue is unmatched against the prairie setting.

The next time you see an insect at the park think of the food source and protection it is offering our beloved small avian creatures.

For these and other nature sightings at Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park, see also:

 

Glenbow July Floral Show

Glenbow Kaleidoscope of Summer

Summer Colour at Glenbow

Mother Nature Human Nature

 

songbird wildlife photography
Hermit Thrush, Beloved Singer                                                                           © heathersimondsphotography.com

 

bird outdoors Glenbow
Bird Photography at Glenbow Ranch                                                ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

prairie photography wildlife
Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park Late Spring Fenceline                                   ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

bird wildlife Glenbow
Sparrow with Insect                                                                    ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

bird Glenbow wildlife
Female Mountain Bluebird with Insect                                                              ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

bird Glenbow wildlife
Waxwings Love Berries                                                                                     ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

bird Glenbow wildlife
Male Mountain Bluebird with Insect                                                        ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

Canadian wetlands dragonflies nature
Dragonflies are Tasty to Avian Creatures                                                         ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

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