Myrna Pearman

On the afternoon of the third day

Unique family of grebes heartlessly shot

The wetland bisected by Range Road 281, just west of the city, is very productive. In recognition of the many sora rails that call this area home, Red Deer’s most enthusiastic birdwatcher, Judy Boyd, has dubbed the area “Sora Central.”

On the afternoon of the third day
I had the good fortune last month to witness one of the most magical and dramatic wildlife spectacles on the North American continent — the spring migration of sandhill cranes through the Platte River in Nebraska.

Sandhill crane encounter

I had the good fortune last month to witness one of the most magical and dramatic wildlife spectacles on the North American continent — the spring migration of sandhill cranes through the Platte River in Nebraska.

I had the good fortune last month to witness one of the most magical and dramatic wildlife spectacles on the North American continent — the spring migration of sandhill cranes through the Platte River in Nebraska.
Like all finches

Arctic flyers, redpolls consider our region as a winter break

Redpolls are one of the most interesting and entertaining of our backyard neighbours. Considered to be the hardiest birds on the planet, these feisty little circumpolar finches breed in the Arctic and spend their winters in balmy Alberta!

Like all finches
Chickadees prepare for winter by storing food in late fall. They deftly wedge seeds and other tidbits into bark fissures and various hiding spots. Interestingly

In praise of chickadees: those cheerful bundles of fluff

I love chickadees. Who doesn’t? How drab our winters would be without these little cherubs of the snow!

Chickadees prepare for winter by storing food in late fall. They deftly wedge seeds and other tidbits into bark fissures and various hiding spots. Interestingly
Right: Let the chips fly. Pileated woodpeckers are well-adapted forest carpenters

Irresistible force

I remember the first time when, several decades ago, I was able to steal up on a pileated woodpecker. The bird, a female, was hammering so furiously and intently at the base of a dead spruce tree that I was able to creep up to within range of the flying chips.

Right: Let the chips fly. Pileated woodpeckers are well-adapted forest carpenters
Lower right: When they hatch

Nature’s airborne cleanup crew

Turkey vultures may be one of North America’s most under-appreciated bird, given their appearance and eating habits. But looks and diet can be deceiving.

Lower right: When they hatch
LEFT: There is nothing quite as cute as a baby bunny. The first litter of the year is usually born in May. Litters of three or four are most common

Gardeners and hares can co-exist

When a Snowshoe Hare turned up at Ellis Bird Farm last fall, we wondered what might happen to the trees and shrubs over the winter. But little damage was done, so our very patient and animal-loving gardener, Cynthia Pohl, decided this spring that the hare and its new mate could stay.

LEFT: There is nothing quite as cute as a baby bunny. The first litter of the year is usually born in May. Litters of three or four are most common
Recent heavy rains have resulted in the dam overflowing. Using remarkable strength and ingenuity

A dam good time (photo gallery)

We all know that beaver activity can cause property damage from flooding. Beavers can also create chaos in a poplar forest, leave behind hazardous stumps and be annoyingly persistent.

Recent heavy rains have resulted in the dam overflowing. Using remarkable strength and ingenuity
Sleek plumage and a distinctive black mask give waxwings a regal air.

Gorgeous gluttons: Waxwings live large, in groups and with gusto

Each spring, I enjoy watching Cedar Waxwings descend on our apple tree to gobble the delicate blossoms.

Sleek plumage and a distinctive black mask give waxwings a regal air.
One duckling launches from the nest box

First steps

Alberta has six species of cavity-nesting ducks. Two species (Common Goldeneye and Bufflehead) are quite common while the others (Common Merganser, Hooded Merganser, Barrow’s Goldeneye and Wood Duck) are less common and/or have more limited distribution in the province.

One duckling launches from the nest box
The adaptation for silent flight benefits the owl in two ways: it can swoop in on prey unheard; and its keen 3-D sense of hearing is likewise unimpaired by the sound of the wind while it glides

Owls ready for their closeup

Thanks to the wonders of webcam technology, people from around the world are watching the owl nest at Ellis Bird Farm.

The adaptation for silent flight benefits the owl in two ways: it can swoop in on prey unheard; and its keen 3-D sense of hearing is likewise unimpaired by the sound of the wind while it glides
It is interesting to note the wide variety of shared characteristics clones will display

Stands of aspen are genetic clones that may perhaps be centuries old

For the past few years, I’ve had a bit of a photographic obsession with aspen poplar (Populous tremuloides) trees.

It is interesting to note the wide variety of shared characteristics clones will display
The solemn

An eye for owls

Owls have long held a special place in the hearts and minds of their human observers.

The solemn
What? Me? In trouble? Charlie the porcupine has grown into a feisty

Meet Charlie

One night last May, an RCMP officer accidently drove over a female porcupine on a road near Rimbey. Upon inspecting the mother’s splayed corpse, the officer noticed the squiggling movements of a baby.

What? Me? In trouble? Charlie the porcupine has grown into a feisty
An adult moose consumes about 18 kg of vegetation a day

Moose in winter

Over the past few years, we have seen an increasing number of moose near our home, which is located on a wooded stretch of Honeymoon Bay, Sylvan Lake.

An adult moose consumes about 18 kg of vegetation a day
Breeding adults turn bright red with green heads. The males develop humped backs and fang-filled snouts. They viciously bite their rivals and grip onto their tails.  Between the time the fish arrive on their breeding grounds and the time they die

Annual run of sockeye salmon a journey toward death, and new life

I made a pilgrimage in mid-October to witness one of the most amazing natural history events on the planet: the return of sockeye salmon to the Adams River in B.C.

Breeding adults turn bright red with green heads. The males develop humped backs and fang-filled snouts. They viciously bite their rivals and grip onto their tails.  Between the time the fish arrive on their breeding grounds and the time they die