Alberta birds return is a sign of spring, says wildlife expert Brian Keating

Ravens, gyrfalcons, merlins and the like are back in Alberta in one of the early signs that spring is well on its way, says one Alberta naturalist.

Send us your photos of Alberta birds that have returned at calgaryphotos@cbc.ca

The most accessible place in North America to view a gyrfalcon like this is at the old Alberta government grain terminal in Edmonton, on the north side of the Yellowhead Highway, says Brian Keating. (Getty Images)

Ravens, gyrfalcons, merlins and the like are back in Alberta in one of the early signs that spring is well on its way, says one Alberta naturalist.

Around 6:40 p.m. on Saturday evening, wildlife expert Brian Keating was sitting in his Inglewood home when a flock of no fewer than a couple of hundred gulls flew overhead, he said.

"They come every year about this time of the year, so it's nothing unexpected, but it's always a nice spring affirmation to see the birds," said Brian Keating, wildlife columnist for CBC's The Homestretch and Radio Active.

Probably the most accessible place in North America to spot the gyrfalcon, the largest falcon in the world, is an old Alberta government train terminal just north of Yellowhead Highway in Edmonton, he said.

Grain cars there are surrounded by spilled canola seed, making the area an unusual haven for birds of all kinds. Some experts have even called it the best free show in town, Keating said. 

He was lucky enough to spot one there last week, as well as a merlin and three ravens.

Canada geese, which have been spotted in Southern Alberta throughout the winter, have also reappeared in Edmonton, he said.

"I heard rumours that there's already swans in Alberta, so maybe someone can give me a heads up on that."


If you've got photos of birds who have made their return to the province, send them to us at calgaryphotos@cbc.ca, or tweet us @CBCCalgary.

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