Imagine a bounty of lush forests, shrublands and wetlands, winding ravines, a large river, rolling hills and steep and gentle slopes. Hiking along trails or peering into calm forests and marshes, you are about to discover – if you haven’t already – the intriguing and satisfying pastime of birding. Ten per cent of the people in the Western world bird watch and another 50 per cent are curious about our feathered friends.
Birding is an exciting and healthy hobby, done alone or in the company of friends. Birding is an introduction to our natural environment that will engage people from all ages.
It’s easy to get started. Just make a list of all of the birds you already know. You’ll be surprised to find you can recognize the Robin, Crow, Chickadee, Hummingbird, Red-winged blackbird, Canada Goose and Blue Jay. Next, get outside and look up. Do you see these birds? Perhaps there are birds you don’t recognize? Snap a photo, take some notes, share your discovery on social media. You might just find a birding community. Check out our bird list and bird habitat guide.
While you are birding, look for animals. Focus on the sound of branches snapping in the bushes. There’s definitely something big in there. An enormous bull moose emerges from the thicket, turns his majestic head and stares right at you. Where’s that camera when you need it? You’ve just been introduced to one of Alberta’s all-stars – elk, moose, bear, bison, cougar and wolf.
Accessible and rewarding birding and wildlife viewing opportunities are found year round in Eagle Point Provincial Park and Blue Rapids Provincial Recreation Area. Set off along the beautiful trail system hiking, jogging or running at dawn or in the evening, when the birds and animals are most active.
Eagle Point Provincial Park and Blue Rapids Provincial Recreation Area provide excellent opportunities to view abundant wildlife and beautiful scenery. The parks are located in the transition zone between Boreal and Mountain Forests and the Prairies. It contains the incredible North Saskatchewan River Valley (see our fish list). This makes the parks a good home for a diverse array of plants and animals. See our vegetation classification report. There are also some very significant natural features in the parks. See our significant features report.
More than 145 bird species have been spotted in the park, including at least 13 raptor species. These include nesting bald eagles, osprey, barred owls and great grey owls. Canoeing and paddling through the parks provides access to water birds. The park’s ponds and streams attract osprey, eagles and kingfishers.
At least 30 mammals frequent the park including wolves, coyotes, bears, beavers, pine martin, river otters, elk, moose, mule deer and white-tailed deer. See our mammal checklist. There are also reptiles and amphibians.