Late, cold spring hard on gardeners, birds — and bugs

Winter continues to hang on in Central Alberta, keeping gardeners and naturalists wondering if they’ll ever get their plants in the ground or if birds will make it through a difficult spring.

Winter continues to hang on in Central Alberta, keeping gardeners and naturalists wondering if they’ll ever get their plants in the ground or if birds will make it through a difficult spring.

There was a bit of good news from the cool and snowy weather that began late Sunday, carrying into Tuesday and today.

Fire bans have been lifted in all Central Alberta counties and the Town of Olds.

Bans had been ordered prior to the Victoria Day long weekend for 20 provincial parks and recreation areas until snow fell in many parts of the province Monday.

Myrna Pearman, biologist at the Ellis Bird Farm southeast of Lacombe, said tree swallows and purple martins are struggling to make it.

Bluebirds are late. Virtually half their population was wiped out by an April 2008 storm.

The martins and swallows take insects on the wing but the lingering cold weather has halted insect flights.

“If the weather warms up soon our purple martin numbers should be as good or even better than last year when we had a record,” Pearman said.

Pearman said bird numbers appear to be down generally.

“I was out walking in the forest a while ago and was struck by how quiet the woods were. It was silent.

“Usually it’s pretty noisy with birds. Hopefully everything is just late,” Pearman added.

Today isn’t expected to be great.

Possible rain showers could turn to snow flurries with winds reaching 20 km/h in the afternoon. Today’s high is predicted to climb to only 10C.

Environment Canada is calling for warming temperatures by Thursday with a high of 12C and 16 to 19C Friday through until Monday.

The miserable weather forced cancellation of all activities at Great Chief Park Tuesday.

John Bouw, owner of Dentooms Greenhouses, said business was good up until a few days ago with people buying bedding out plants and shrubs.

However, the weekend weather slowed the shopping.

Bouw said a lot of garages and sheds around the area are filled with plants waiting for gardeners to get them in the ground.

“Everything seems to be late this year,” he added.

Red Deer, Ponoka, Lacombe and Camrose counties lifted their fire bans Tuesday morning.

Clearwater County never had a fire ban this spring.

In Red Deer County, fire permits are required for all open fires, including burning barrels within the county. Permits for burning barrels issued before the fire ban are still valid and a new permit is not required. Campfires are allowed without a permit but must be contained within an acceptable fire pit.

As of May 14 the fire ban was lifted for the Town of Olds.

Just Posted

Fire investigators comb through industrial fire wreckage looking for answers

Industrial building in north Red Deer was completely gutted in Wednesday morning fire

Time for a central Albertan in cabinet, says chamber of commerce

Central Alberta had no cabinet ministers in last government

Trump Russia probe finally delivers some answers

WASHINGTON — After nearly two years of waiting, America is getting some… Continue reading

Trans Mountain Pipeline deadline extended

OTTAWA — The federal government is delaying a decision on the Trans… Continue reading

WATCH video of Innisfail resident creating the world’s biggest caricature

Watch as Innisfail resident Dean Foster creates the world’s biggest caricature of… Continue reading

Study: Genetic test predicts middle-aged obesity risk

NEW YORK — Can a genetic test identify newborns at risk of… Continue reading

Downtown Red Deer Co-op Plaza Food store closing

Central Alberta Co-op is closing its downtown Red Deer Plaza food store… Continue reading

Earth, meet Polo: Ralph Lauren unveils plastic bottle shirt

NEW YORK — Earth, meet Polo. Polo Ralph Lauren on Thursday launched… Continue reading

Statistics Canada reports retail sales rose 0.8 per cent in February

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says retail sales rose 0.8 per cent in… Continue reading

Inflation rises 1.9% on higher prices for fresh vegetables, mortgage costs

OTTAWA — Canada’s annual inflation was up last month as price pressures… Continue reading

Netflix adds 9.6M subscribers in 1Q as competition heats up

SAN FRANCISCO — Netflix kicked off the year with the biggest subscriber… Continue reading

Liberals find anti-Trudeau sentiment on campaign trail in Prince Edward Island

OTTAWA — When voters in Prince Edward Island go to the polls… Continue reading

Officer tells of finding body at trial for B.C. dad accused of killing daughters

VANCOUVER — A police officer choked up Tuesday as he recalled finding… Continue reading

Most Read