Ellis Bird Farm was the scene of the annual Bluebird Festival on Saturday.
Visitors flocked to the picturesque site all afternoon, taking in the flower-filled gardens, serene pools and, of course, dozens of birds, including the marquee bluebirds and purple martens.
Myrna Pearman, biologist and site services manager, said there is no secret to the annual festival’s success.
“The Bluebird Festival is just a wonderful occasion. It’s free. It’s a great family event. It’s at a time of year when the gardens are at their peak.
“We’ve got the purple martens calling,” she said, adding central Alberta’s Jazz Explosion were adding some human musical accompaniment to the songbirds at the site east of Blackfalds.
“Always held the second Saturday in July, this year, the Bluebird Festival is celebrating 20 years of Blue Feather Award recipients.
“For the people who care about bluebirds, set out trails and monitor them, each year we give out a recognition called the Blue Feather Award,” she said.
While they have not done a full count of all the species of birds that have shown up this year, it is about 90 and counting.
“But we have about 135 species that have been recorded here,” said Pearman.
While the bird farm was famous for its bluebirds, the population was nearly wiped out in a severe spring storm.
“They have come back, but not to 2008 levels. But the purple martens have flourished, and because purple martens nest right on the scene, they have become our signature species, because people can sit and enjoy them.”