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.

jwilson@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

WATCH: Central Albertans learn about farm life at Sunnybrook Farm Museum

Pioneer Days Festival in Red Deer Saturday-Sunday

Raising awareness for Bikers Against Child Abuse

Second annual Raise A Ruckus Against Child Abuse was held at the Red Deer Radisson Hotel Saturday

Number of seniors who play bridge in Red Deer growing

Red Deer Bridge Club has been around for close to 60 years

Central Alberta Yogathon cancelled Saturday

Due to air quality concerns the fourth annual event will take place Sept. 15

PHOTOS: Buccaneers battle Wolfpack in AFL semifinal

The Central Alberta Buccaneers battled the Calgary Wolfpack in the Alberta Football… Continue reading

WATCH: Medicine River Wildlife Centre opens new playground

The grand opening of the playground was Saturday morning

Trump says his White House counsel not a ‘RAT’ like Nixon’s

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — President Donald Trump insisted Sunday that his White House… Continue reading

Wildfire moves closer to Glacier National Park’s scenic road

MISSOULA, Mont. — A wildfire in Montana’s Glacier National Park is forcing… Continue reading

Prime Minister Trudeau, Premier Couillard march in Montreal’s Pride parade

MONTREAL — Thousands of cheering spectators lined the streets of Montreal on… Continue reading

All eyes on Andrew Scheer as Conservative convention set for Halifax

OTTAWA — After a week of internal caucus squabbles, Conservative Leader Andrew… Continue reading

Canadians fear for relatives trapped amid flooding in Indian state of Kerala

In the wake of deadly flooding in the Indian state of Kerala,… Continue reading

Indonesia’s Lombok island jolted by multiple quakes

SEMBALUN, Indonesia — Strong earthquakes jolted the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok… Continue reading

Afghan president calls for Eid cease-fire, Taliban to reply

KABUL — Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has called for a conditional cease-fire… Continue reading

Montreal may have less influence after October provincial election

MONTREAL — When Coalition Avenir Quebec Leader Francois Legault recently dismissed the… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month