Birding around Kramer Pond in west central Alberta is extraordinary! The pond itself is home to loons, osprey, blue heron and cormorants. In recent years nearby fields have become the nesting sites for sand hill cranes attesting to dramatic environmental and climatic changes. An hour to the west are the montane and alpine migratory routes skirting the eastern slopes of the Rockies and to the east the prairie corridor for arctic bound water birds. Boreal enclaves to the south and west of the lodge create habitat for numerous species of songbirds.

Updates in text for 2004-2005

It's still a bone of contention around our lodge whether we have three or four resident species of hummingbirds but over the past twenty years we've noticed a number of changes both in numbers and species in other bird populations in west central Alberta. The appearance of sand hill cranes nesting across the pond on our pastures, the disappearance of the bluebird, infrequent sightings of the red winged blackbirds on nearby marshes and the decreasing numbers of kestrels as well the shocking numbers of  "starlings" which have transplanted swallows - all attest to changing conditions. Also, the wren population seems to have disappeared, if not from the area entirely, at least from our birdhouses, for sure. Cormorants now appear regularly on our diving raft whereas five years ago, like the sand hill cranes, they were seldom, if ever, seen.

If this is a red winged blackbird (it's difficult to determine exactly) the sight of it's breathing here seems prophetic for it's sightings are much less frequent around our lodge. But the osprey diving for trout in our pond seem numerous - although it's always difficult to distinguish between individuals which seldom hunt more than two at a time without altercation. However, since this is an artificial water body (man-made) with an artificial trout population (stocked) it's difficult to determine just how healthy these numbers are. It could be another result of the disappearing wetlands (sic. birds moving in from traditional nesting areas for easy pickings.) Less disturbing are the numbers of loons. After twenty years we are still trying to determine just how many nesting pair we have. It seems that parents which return every year to the same body of water, allow mature chicks to nest for a year or two in close proximity before chasing them off.

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