Must-see birds: July

I got the idea for a northern Alberta version of “Must-see birds” from Pat Bumstead’s and Bob Lefebvre’s Birds Calgary blog. Matthew Sim, who is another young birder, had the idea for the “Must-see birds” posts and writes them all.

July is the heart of summer, and many birds are now starting their second clutch of eggs. It’s also a good time to visit lakes and ponds to look for ducklings and goslings. Here are my must-see birds for July (all photos by me):

1. Ruby-throated Hummingbird

The male Ruby-throated hummingbird has an iridescent green head, back, and wings; a white collar; iridescent red throat; and a very long bill. This bird can be found around gardens and nectar feeders in most parts of Alberta,

2. Blue-winged Teal

The Blue-winged Teal is a small dabbling duck. The male has a white crescent on its face, and the underparts are pale brown with numerous dark spots. Look for this duck on sloughs, lakes, and ponds,

3. American Goldfinch

This very common finch is often mistaken for a wild Canary, because of the male’s brilliant yellow color. The male American Goldfinch has a bright yellow body; black cap, wings, and tail; and white rump. The American Goldfinch is also a common feeder bird, whose favorite seeds are black oil sunflower and nyjer (niger)  seed,

4. Killdeer

The Killdeer has two distinct black bands across its upper breast. The tail and rump show rust-brown color when the bird is in flight.  The female is very easy to identify when she does her “broken wing display”, where she appears to struggle with a broken wing while leading a predator away from her nest,

5. Red-winged Blackbird

My last bird for this month last bird for the month of July is the Red-winged Blackbird. The male has a black body and bright red wing patches edged with yellow on the bottom. You can find them near any body of water with cattails. Just listen for their distinct call, “kon-ka-reeee”,