Ellis Bird Farm has officially wrapped up its 37th season.
Central Albertans – people and critters alike – flocked to the site Labour Day Monday for its final day of the season, taking advantage of what was a rare sunny day this summer.
“This was a wonderful season – except for the weather,” said Myrna Pearman, Ellis Bird Farm’s site manager and resident biologist. “Our numbers are down a bit, but our programs were well attended and our feedback from visitors was all positive – our gardens are the most beautiful they’ve ever been.”
This year, the site celebrated its “Big Year of Birding” where they documented how many species of birds that were seen. As of Monday afternoon, the count was at 119, which Pearman said is a record number of species over the summer.
While they were able to spot more species than ever before, purple martins, tree swallows and bluebird numbers – typical residents of the farm, which they track out of the nest box – were all down in numbers, no thanks to the rainier summer.
“We hope now that the water table is recharged, everything will be nice and we’ll be back up to record numbers next year,” she said.
The past few years have seen Ellis Bird Farm undertake a number of large-scale projects, including the installation of an observation tower dedicated to Jessica Emily Schamehorn, a new library and water garden, and a circle deck honouring First Nations. Moving forward, Pearman says they’re going to focus on smaller items, focusing on improving the grounds, as well as providing more opportunities for children to engage in nature-based play on the site.
For now, Ellis Bird Farm will be “winterized” – with flower beds cleaned up after pollinators are finished and birds have eaten the seeds. Most of the reptiles had already been released as of Monday, and the goats were picked up at closing time. Birds, meanwhile, will be continued to be fed over the winter months, while the site itself will host several meetings and be rented out for events on occasion.
Ellis Bird Farm will reopen again on Victoria Day, May 18, 2020.
To stay up to date to happenings at the farm, visit www.ellisbirdfarm.ca, or contact the site at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (403)885-4477.