Alberta is the only place in North America where prairie, boreal forest and mountain ecosystems meet. As a result, Alberta
is home to an abundance and variety of wildlife. More than 400 bird, 90 mammal, 18 reptile and amphibian, 50 fish and 1800
flowering species can been found here.
Learn about the rich habitat Albertans share with wild plants and animals. Wildlife photography, species identification,
bird feeding, behaviour study and flower identification are all rewarding activities for those seeking a connection to the
The Watchable Wildlife sites described here are just some of the many spots you can visit to explore what being a steward
of Alberta’s wilderness means to you.
The following are tips to help make your wildlife-viewing outings successful:
- Practice good stewardship – Protect the sites you visit by staying on designated trails, keeping your
dog on-leash, staying far enough away from animals to avoid disturbing them and packing out your garbage.
- Plan ahead – Before you head out, do your research. Learn what are the best times of year and the best
locations for viewing wildlife in the area you want to visit.
- Choose the best time of day – Early morning and late afternoon or evening are the best times for viewing
many species of birds and mammals.
- Pick the season – Wildlife may be more active or easily viewed at certain times of the year. Migratory
birds, for example, are more readily observed in spring and fall.
- Be quiet and patient – Wildlife can be very sensitive to the presence of people. By moving slowly and
quietly, or even stopping for several minutes at a time, you can be less disruptive of wildlife in the area.
- Reduce your visibility – Learn to use what’s in the environment – trees, logs, stones, tall grasses –
as a screen to block your presence. Wear soft clothes that make little noise when you walk through the bush. Darker clothes
with irregular patterns can also help camouflage you.
- Use all your senses – Take in the full range of sights, sounds and smells to help you locate the more
secretive wildlife species, and to heighten your overall experience.
- Read wildlife signs – Wildlife will leave clues that they’ve been there. Watch for tracks, nests, droppings,
or bits of fur or feathers.
- Use viewing guides and equipment – Use binoculars and spotting scopes to get a close up look. Bring field
identification guides to help you with the identification of what you see.
- Keep notes – Keep a record of the wildlife you’ve seen, their characteristics, and any observations about
the scene, such as the time of day or weather.
- Finally, be safe – Always keep yourself a respectful distance away from wildlife. Getting too close may
force them to react defensively to protect themselves and their young. Also, always be proactive in preventing encounters
with animals such as bears and cougars.
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Updated: Dec 22, 2010