Wednesday Wings: Chukar

Seen by McKenzie Amerongen and her family in the SW West Springs district on Friday, June 27/12.

Lost Forever?

Posted by Matthew Sim

Back in November, the Calgary Herald ran an article on the Sage Grouse, a large and impressive grouse that faces a bleak and dismal future. For me, this was a depressing article; it opened my eyes to a species I never knew even lived in Alberta, only to present very pessimistic prospects for the bird here.

Image courtesy Wikipedia

A scarce permanent resident with a very limited distribution in our province, the sage grouse needs large stands of sagebrush as well as wet meadows, river bottoms or green areas for foraging. This habitat is crucial for the bird and without it, the grouse cannot survive. It is for exactly this reason that population levels have decreased in Alberta since the 1960’s, in fact, the sage grouse population in Alberta is down to just 13 males. Many experts have already given up any hope of saving Alberta’s prairie sage grouse, however, led by the Alberta Wilderness Association, 12 environmental groups are acting to save the species. These groups have asked that the federal government enact an emergency protection order, which would force Environment Canada to do whatever it can to save this species’ habitat. Though it may be too late, let this species plight be a lesson to all of us, and let us ensure that this never happens again.

To read the Herald’s article, follow the link below:

Iconic prairie Sage Grouse facing local extinction

Bird Profile: Ring-necked Pheasant


The male Ring-necked Pheasant is a very colourful bird with a loud, harsh and raucous “koork-KOK”, call; one that often emerges from grasslands, deep brush and agricultural land. The pheasant is native to Caucasus and Russia and has been introduced all over the world as a popular game bird.

Ring-necked Pheasant

 There is usually one male who guards his harem of plain, mottled females from other males, chasing them away during the breeding season. Pheasants are known to hunker down in a roost in very bad weather, going for days without eating. They nest and forage on the ground, eating seeds, wild fruits, nuts and insects.

 I had my own special encounter with a pheasant the other day. I rode my bike to Fish Creek and as I turned a corner, I came to within a couple meters of a pheasant. He was startled (so was I!) and in his haste to get away, slipped on ice! Definitely funny for me to see!

Elegance… This male Pheasant is trying to be as regal as possible. 

He hits the ice as he runs away and is unprepared…

Whoa!!! He definitely wasn’t ready for this!

Dignity regained… Or so he thinks. 

Posted by Matthew Sim