Calgary's critters: A hinterland who's who on wildlife in the city

Each week in May we took a look at local wildlife, but since there are so many animals that call Calgary home here's a look at some more birds that share our city — everything from the drill master woodpecker to the pretty song birds.

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The three-toed woodpecker is just one of many birds that reside in Calgary that come from all over North America. (Submitted by Dianne Thomas)

Each week in May we took a look at local wildlife, but since there are so many animals that call Calgary home here's a look at some more birds that share our city — everything from the drill master woodpecker to the pretty song birds.

Blue jay

This juvenile blue jay was hanging out in the Calgary neighbourhood of Lakeview. According to Canadian Geographic, blue jay's feathers are not actually blue. Instead the "bright cobalt colour is the result of the unique inner structure of the feathers, which distort the reflection of light off the bird." 

(Submitted by Diane Stinson)

Western tanager

National Geographic says the striking black-and-yellow western tanager, with its bright red head, is one of the more characteristic summer species of western pine forests. 

(Submitted by Tim Hopwood)

Red crossbill

The red crossbill, like this one in Calgary's Weaselhead, range from small-billed birds that feed on spruce cones to large-billed ones that specialize on pines. 

(Submitted by Tim Hopwood)

Golden-crowned kinglet

The golden-crowned kinglet is boldly marked with a black eyebrow stripe and flashy lemon-yellow crest, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. 

(Submitted by Shirley Otway)

Common redpoll

A member of the finch family, the common redpoll can be distinguished by its red forehead. 

(Submitted by George McBride)

Pine grosbeak

The pine grosbeak is the largest and rarest of the "winter finches," according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. 

(Duane Starr)

American white pelican

Few can fail to be impressed by the sight of the American white pelican, like these ones in Fish Creek Park. 

(Phil Smith/Flickr)

Great blue heron

Canadian Geographic says the great blue heron is the largest heron in North America, and is mostly grayish blue. 

(Submitted by Tim Hopwood)


The city says magpies are scavenger birds and are well adapted to our environment. They eat nuts, sunflower seeds, insects and small animals. 

(Robson Fletcher/CBC)

Downy woodpecker

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology says downy woodpeckers make lots of noise, both with their shrill whinnying call and by drumming on trees. 

(Submitted by Valerie Calon)

Northern Flickers

The short bursts of drumming can be heard in spring almost throughout North America thanks to the northern flicker, like this one in Copperfield, according to the Audubon guide to birds. 

(Submitted by Debra Beaton)

Cedar waxwings

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology says cedar waxwings collect hundreds of berries in the fall and fill the air with their high, thin whistles. 

(Submitted by Dianne Thomas)

Red-winged blackbirds

National Geographic says the red-winged blackbird is one of the most widely distributed, abundant, well-known and well-named birds in North America. 

(Submitted by Donald Spear)

Yellow-headed blackbirds

Audubon's guide to North American birds says the male yellow-headed blackbird is impressive to see, but not hear. 

(Submitted by Dianne Thomas)

Mountain bluebird

Birds Calgary says the mountain bluebird is an early migrant to our area, arriving in mid to late March, like this one in the Cross Conservation area just southwest of the city.

(Submitted by Jeannette Ridley) (Submitted by Jeannette Ridley)

Red-breasted nuthatch

This red-breasted nuthatch hangs out in Voiter's Flats in Fish Creek Provincial Park in southwest Calgary. 

(Submitted by Marcy Stader) (Marcy Stader)


The Black-capped Chickadee is found throughout Canada in tree-covered areas, according to the Canadian Wildlife Federation. 

(Submitted by Valerie Calon)

Ring-billed gull

Ring-billed gulls are comfortable around humans and frequent parking lots, garbage dumps, beaches and fields. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology says they nest near freshwater in the interior of North America. 

(Phil Smith/Flickr)


This calliope hummingbird with her young is one of the five species of the fast flyer found in Canada, according to the Canadian Wildlife Federation, and the tiniest among them.

(Phil Smith/Flickr)

There are many other birds that reside in Calgary. Have a photo of one — such as a robin, raven or crow? Send them to

Stay tuned as we bring you more wildlife pictures as spring continues to ramp up. Have a picture you're particularly proud of from Fish Creek Park, then you can enter it into the Friends of Fish Creek Photography contest starting in July.