Fall migration is a marvelous time to be a birder. Numerous species that aren’t normally hanging around Saskatoon and area pop up on their way to their winter homes. And Beaver Creek Conservation Area often finds itself right in the middle of things.
This protected natural region provides a perfect stopover for several incredible species. Sandhill Cranes, Great Blue Herons, and even the occasional Whooping Crane have been viewed there, making this a prime destination for local bird watchers.
If you do decide to come out to Beaver Creek and try to spot these beautiful creatures, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Be realistic. There are no guarantees in wildlife spotting and the animals you’re looking for may not be around.
- Be respectful. This goes for the land, the other people around you, and especially the wildlife. It also means packing your trash out and not picking up “souvenirs” from the environment. Take a pic, don’t pick.
- Be sensible. Keep a safe distance away from any and all wildlife.
During this time of year, hundreds of thousands of these magnificent birds are on the move across North America. Since they aren’t normally in such massive numbers around Beaver Creek and Saskatoon, seeing them during migration is always a treat.
A Sandhill Crane’s combination of a wingspan that can be up to 2.3 meters, their long, pointed bills, and their distinctive call certainly help them stand out. They can be spotted in the fields around Beaver Creek, in the conservation area itself, and flying overhead.
Great Blue Herons
One of the biggest wading birds spotted throughout North America on shores and in wetlands is the Great Blue Heron. They also pop up in the Galapagos Islands, though if you’re not heading that way Beaver Creek is almost as impressive.
Thanks to the creek which winds through the Conservation Area as well as the nearby South Saskatchewan River, Great Blue Herons appear here with some frequency, particularly during migration. They are impressive to see every time.
Calling the sound a Whooping Crane makes distinctive is an understatement. They sure didn’t get their name by accident. These large and stunningly white birds definitely pop in most environments, though their critically low numbers mean sightings are rare.
The chances of seeing one at Beaver Creek are low. At the same time, they have been known to migrate with the Sandhill Cranes. There have been a few people over the years who have spotted them nearby, so you never know what you’ll see if you keep your eyes peeled.