City Nature Challenge: April 24-27

During the City Nature Challenge, Calgary and surrounding municipalities (Airdrie) will compete with cities around the world, like Berlin, Cape Town and San Francisco, to get the most (accurate) observations on the iNaturalist platform.

On April 16, 2020 Airdrie had 108 observations. Let's reach 200!

Contribute to a database of scientifically valuable information

Document species in and outside of your home on iNaturalist.ca.

  • Add your house plants as “captive/cultivated” and mark your location privacy as “obscured” when you post
  • Check out your garden
  • Document birds at the feeders
  • Look in your compost
  • Leave a light on in the evening to attract insects
  • Walk through your neighbourhood and document plants and animals
  • Explore a nearby stand of trees or area you’ve seen but never looked at closely
  • Visit your favourite park and document as many species as possible

Please maintain two metres of physical distance between you and other people in parks and pathways.

 

Explore Airdrie's natural areas

Airdrie’s natural areas, comprising 26 per cent of City park space, supports wildlife that lives here year-round such as American mink, muskrats and white-tailed jackrabbits. We also see a lot of migratory bird species that are just passing through, like great blue heron, double crested cormorant and red-necked grebe. They use our natural areas to nest, raise young, forage and rest during their long migrations. This represents 243 acres of land which varies in maintenance objectives, methods, and frequency. These areas are typically located in drainage areas, storm pond fringe, under-utilized park space, areas of ecological significance, and/or areas suitable for habitat connectivity.

Identifying and cataloguing local wildlife helps us conserve species. This information could also influence future development.

Contribute to citizen science by adding your observations to the community of Airdrie on the iNaturalist platform.

Migratory birds

The following migratory birds can be seen in Airdrie throughout March and April. Robins

  • Some water fowl (i.e., ducks)
  • Great blue heron
  • Hawks (i.e., Swainson’s hawk, red-tailed hawk, etc.)
  • Owls
  • Northern Flickers

Mammals

Mink – (Neovison vison) is a semi-aquatic cat-sized weasel usually found along rivers, ponds and lakes in forests and occasionally in the prairies of Alberta. They occur everywhere in Alberta except the Rocky Mountain Natural Region. They can be seen within Airdrie along Nose Creek. They start mating in March/April and their young (“kits”) are born 40 – 75 days later.

Plants

Prairie Crocus (Anemone patens) is a harbinger of spring. These flowers begin flowering in April and can be as early as March. You’ll notice Prairie Crocus appearing as soon as the snow melts. The Prairie Crocus has pale blue or purple flowers and a woody rootstock. The whole plant is covered with woolly-white hairs. They grow on the prairie and in dry, open woods, often on sandy soils. It prefers sunny, hot, dry areas. In the dry, southern prairies, it is mainly found on north-facing slopes.

Insects

Have you heard of the Cryptic Bumble Bee (Bombus cryptarum), the Hunt’s Bumble Bee (Bombus huntii) or the Confusing Bumble Bee (Bombus perplexus)? These and many other bee species have been spotted in Airdrie. Alberta has over 300 wild bee species, most of which are solitary ground nesters. Bee part of the citizen science projects helping researchers and bee enthusiasts by noting and identifying different bumble bees in Airdrie. Keep an eye out this spring for the Queen bee gathering resources for the nest and her next brood. 

The City of Airdrie has been recognized as a Bee City. Learn more about this status and how to promote bee health in your backyard here.

 

Keep natural areas natural

Why does the City leave areas natural/naturalize?

      *   Reduce unnecessary water consumption

      *   Eliminate unnecessary mowing

      *   Increase habitat and connectivity for wildlife

      *   Provide areas for school groups to learn about nature

      *   Natural buffer/filter to protect water quality, and

      *   Create areas for residents to enjoy nature within the urban environment

By allocating some areas to naturalize, we reduce the need for watering and mowing, while increasing habitat for wildlife and vegetative species. By allowing the grasses to grow to their natural height and planting native grasses, we reduce soil erosion, and reduce nutrient accumulation in water bodies.

What you can do?

     *  Do not mow outside your property

     *  Do not dump yard waste (including grass clippings and sod) use a green bin!

     *  Do not plant on City land

     *  Do not dispose of garbage or construction debris

     *  Keep dogs on leash to protect wildlife

     *  Pick up after your pets, and

     *  Enjoy the natural environment!

 

 

Connect with nature from inside your home

Indoor birding

Indoor birding is a family-friendly activity. Ask kids to draw birds they see and the environment around them.

Find a place with a view of the outdoors that includes trees, tall grasses, shrubs, wildflowers or other natural elements that attract birds
Grab a notebook, pencils, and—of course—binoculars!
Patience is key to bird watching. Sometimes there’s nothing to do but watch and wait. This can be challenging if you are eager to see birds, but it’s often worth the wait!

Find more tips for enjoying nature from Nature Canada.

 

Contact us


Parks

P. 403.948.8400

F. 403.948.8403