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Bird watching reaching new heights in Edmonton

By Admin User on April 13, 2022

The pastime of bird watching has changed a lot over the years. The stereotypical avatar of someone with a Tilley hat, utility vest and knee-high socks has somewhat faded. Alberta is home to over 430 bird species. Dozens of them are common enough that you see them swoop through your backyard or spot on morning walks through the River Valley. It makes Edmonton a great place to get involved in this new pandemic pastime.

Urban Bird is open 7 days a week in Manchester Square, Edmonton

COVID-19 has changed the way people go about their daily routines. People are experiencing and seeking the outdoors more than ever. And when it comes to bird-watching, younger people are getting into it rather than being a senior-exclusive pastime. “I’ve noticed particularly in the pandemic, a lot of families are getting involved in it,” said Tammy Johnston of Urban Bird. “The kids are also getting into it as well, they’re noticing birds in their backyard.”

Owner, Tammy Johnston showing a bird feeder.

Tammy Johnstone quietly opened up Urban Bird last year during the pandemic after seeing a need for Edmontonions wanting to purchase birdhouses. At the same time, discovering a community wanting learn more about birds in their city. “It’s a very fun hobby and extremely addicting,” said Johnston, who is clearly passionate and educated about the birds in the Edmonton. You’ll find various species of chickadees, woodpeckers and hummingbirds flying through the city during every season. Bird watching or sometimes referred to as “birding,” has kind of evolved into a game of Pokémon Go.

In fact, mobile applications have replaced the worn-and-torn birdwatching pocketbooks of yesteryear. “I have Merlin on my phone right now. You can hold your phone up while listening to the bird, it will determine which bird you are listening to,” said Johnston. The abundance of bird applications is making it easier for anyone to get started with this hobby and journal their findings.

Owner, Tammy Johnston’s live stream of her backyard.

A quick Google search for bird watching podcasts will populate your search engine with multiple results. The Casual Birder has been releasing podcast episodes almost weekly since 2017. The hobbyist program constantly finds itself at the top of nature podcast lists.  Host, Suzy Buttress, shares the joys of watching wild birds from her garden and areas around southern England. “Birding is a great pastime, it can be done with others or alone,” says Buttress. “You don’t need expensive equipment, your eyes or ears are enough.”

Check out The Casual Birder’s latest podcast:

Edmonton is a giant hub for birding moments, it’s home to vast forestry and parks that can be accessed anytime of the year. Getting a birdhouse or feeder is a good way to start bringing feathered animals to your backyard. It’s a calming hobby that can help you relax during the stressful times. Adding it to your outdoor walks is a great way to connect with nature and keep you physically fit. Tammy Johnston stresses that one bird feeder can go a long way. One of the bird’s main source of food are bugs they get from old trees and houses. “Even in the middle of the city here, we get a lot of old houses being torn down. I like to help the birds anyway I can.” said Johnston.

Urban Bird seeds and supplies are locally sourced.



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