Bird watching an inspiration

My son’s class has been challenged to participate in the “Bow Valley Bird Bonanza” where students are asked to identify at least five species of birds around our community. You never have to give me an excuse to get out with my camera, go for a walk and look for birds.

LINDA COTE-nature walkFrom May 30 to June 8 every year, the students bring out their tally sheets, look for birds, note them on their sheet then return the sheets to school for a grand total.

Today was a perfect day for a nature walk, and birding gave us something a little extra fun to do.

What we were amazed at was the number of birds you see when you are paying attention.

I am always looking for birds, but not to do a quantity count — it’s usually for a quality photo I can later turn into an art print. Today, we found what seemed to be a record number of birds.

One example: 14 mallards (including ducklings) in one five-minute span. And throughout our walk: a total of 46 birds and 7 species in a couple hours! It must be spring!

Below are some of the birds we were able to catch with my camera today. Enjoy this view of our lovely birds of the Bow Valley!


A robin suns itself in a tree.


I caught this little robin cleaning its feathers.


This little sparrow was moving very fast: no wonder … it seems there is an insect in its beak!


The sparrow stopped just long enough for me to capture him on a rock beside the Bow River. Then, gone like a flash.

LINDA COTE-bluejay

I wish I had a better shot of this bluejay! My camera focused on the branches and in the time it took me to try to change the setting, the jay had flown away. We were pretty excited, though, just to see one!

LINDA COTE-cow bird

A brown-headed cow bird. Looking into the sky this bird looks almost all black, but the bird flew onto ground in front of us, so we had a good close look. His head was indeed brown.

LINDA COTE-mallard

This momma duck appeared alone at first — her head popping up above the marshy grass. But, as we stopped to take a photo, the grass all around her was rustling!

LINDA COTE-mallard duckling

We counted 5 or 6 ducklings with her — and boy were they hard to see in all this tangled grass. Great cover for them!

LINDA COTE-mallard dad

Poppa mallard relaxing on the creek. Not sure this was the one actually related to the ducklings. The males typically leave at the start of the nesting period and let the females raise the young.

LINDA COTE-redwaing blackbird

A happy sighting of a red-winged blackbird. My son was very impressed seeing this guy fly by with his bright red wing caps!


A very common sight around this area: crows and ravens flying around. Still, it’s a sight I never get tired of.

I have a big love for birds, and bird watching. What a great way to spend the afternoon!

And, although we only saw magpies from the car today, here’s a cool video of a magpie who seemed to talk with me from last summer!

Below is one of my favorite creations titled “Canadian Songbird 2” — a two-colour handmade print. For the blog that shows the process, visit here.

LINDA COTE-Canadian Songbird 2

For more of my printmaking artwork that features birds, see my “Art Prints – Birds” listings on Etsy.


4 responses to “Bird watching an inspiration

    • Thanks Catherine! They are VERY hard to catch. A few years ago I bought a digital camera with a great telephoto just for this purpose. Makes a big difference!

    • It was such a terrific afternoon. Nice to have a little something special to do with my son, too. I was happy he got excited seeing the birds, too. Not all my kids are as kooky about birds as I am. 🙂

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