Birdwatching in Jasper National Park

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Written by Madison Valois posted on Thursday, July 30th, 2009

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Go vertical with a hairy woodpecker in the Canadian Rockies.

See if you can spot a hairy woodpecker in the Canadian Rockies.

The Birds of Jasper

JASPER, Alberta – Mt. Robson Provincial Park has a varied bird fauna, as does all of Canada and the Canadian Rockies. More than 180 species have been recorded in the park and vicinity, and of these, the majority are summer residents or transients.

Only about 25 species can be considered regular, permanent residents in Robson. These inlcude:

  • Raptors – Goshawks, Great Horned Owl, Boreal Owl, Great Gray Owl
  • Grouse: Ruffed Spruce, Blue Grouse, Willow and White-tailed Ptarmigan; they feed on the buds of trees and shrubs
  • Corvids: Gray Jay, Black-billed Magpie and Common Raven; they are omnivorous feeders
  • Woodpeckers: Hairy, Northern and Black-backed Three-toed; they eat grubs and ants from rotten wood and under bark 
  • Chickadees: Black-capped, Mountain and Boreal; they are bark gleaners
  • Waxwings: Bohemian Waxwing; they like frozen fruit
  • Finches: Evening and Pine Grosbeaks, Gray-crowned Rosy Finch, Red and White-winged Crossbills; they are seed eaters

Transients include several species of waterfowl which breed on the prairies and winter on the south coast as well as shorebirds, which breed in the more northerly Canadian boreal forests and winter generally well south of the Canadian border.

Red-necked and horned Grebes, Mallard and Ring-necked Ducks and American Coots breed in Moose Lake Marsh. They can be seen from the highway by even the casual visitor.

Most abundant of the summer bird visitors are the colorful small woodland species such as the warblers. The Blackpoll Warbler performs the longest and the most spectacular migration of all the summer birds. In late August, the Blackpoll, together with other migratory woodland species, move eastward through the parkland zone of the Canadian Prairie Provinces and even farther through the Atlantic seaboard. The final stage of their journey takes them non-stop across the open ocean over Bermuda to their winter home in South America.

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