Archives for 2019

Whooping Cranes Continue to Do Well

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In 1941 only 21 Whooping Cranes existed in the world and many thought North America's tallest bird was doomed to extinction. Through decades of dedicated and painstaking efforts the endangered Whooping Cranes now numbers some 650 in the wild. At least 500 of those Whooping Cranes survive in the Wood Buffalo Aransas Texas flock that migrates through Saskatchewan, the exact number won’t be available until after counts are completed later this winter.

Each spring and fall Whooping Cranes migrate through Saskatchewan to and from their wintering grounds on the Texas Gulf Coast and Wood Buffalo National Park on the border between Alberta and the Northwest Territories. This past fall, 151 were observed near Marcelin, north of Saskatoon. This is the largest congregation of Whooping Cranes sighted in one bunch in over 100 years. Production of young was lower than average in 2018, with only 6 young being spotted in that large flock, a total of 24 young fledged in 2018.

Over the years captive breeding of Whooping Cranes has been successful, with eggs or offspring being introduced in 4 locations in the United States to create additional populations of whoopers. Two of these re-establishment programs have failed (Idaho and Florida) while two others have achieved limited success (Wisconsin and Louisiana).

Currently there are about 100 birds in the Eastern Migratory Flock summering in Wisconsin and another 50 birds in a nonmigrtory flock in Louisiana. Another 15 remain in Florida. There are about 165 birds in captivity, with just over 115 of those being breeding birds that are producing offspring for the reintroductions. Those birds are located in Wisconsin, Calgary, Louisiana and Washington, DC. About 50 nonbreeders are scattered in zoos and wildlife parks in the United States


For further information, contact:

Brian Johns
Retired Wildlife Biologist  


Lorne Scott
Conservation Director, Nature Saskatchewan

*Both Brian and Lorne are Directors of the International Whooping Crane Conservation Association*

Photo credit: Val Mann




Birds of Saskatchewan

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Please Note:

The first print run of Birds of Saskatchewan was an amazing success and we currently do not have any available stock for sale. We will be doing a second print run and order information will be available shortly. McNally Robinson Booksellers and Wild Birds Unlimited in Saskatoon have some remaining stock available and there will be a limited quantity available at the book launch dates in both Regina (February 26) and Saskatoon (January 29.)


A  full-colour, comprehensive look at all of the birds that call Saskatchewan home. 437 species of birds are documented in this 768 page compendium, a result of over ten years of work and several lifetimes of observation, research, and writing. This work celebrates Saskatchewan’s rich natural heritage, and acknowledges the efforts made to study and sustain each bird’s presence in the province. ​It is a record of change - of the birds who have come, those who remain, and those whose habitats are affected by changes in the environment​. Birds of Saskatchewan​ is indebted to the long-time editors of the project. Lead author/co-editor Alan R. Smith is the scientist, the keeper of data, and provincial documenter. Here he joins his mentors C. Stuart Houston, bird bander, history lover, and prolific author, and Houston’s long-time friend, collaborator, and editor J. Frank Roy, whose passion for birds, words, and images has helped to make this a publication that we hope readers will appreciate. Purchase price is $79.95.


Take a look inside...check out these Birds of Saskatchewan sample pages



Citizen Science and the Great Backyard Bird Count

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Citizen Science! You have likely heard of this term but do you know what it means and did you know that you can get involved? In short form, citizen science is the involvement of the public in scientific research. While citizen science can be applied in many areas of science it becomes particularly useful when tracking bird migrations, looking at species populations and monitoring changes.

Once a year from February 15-18 people around the world count birds for at least 15 minutes as part of the Great Backyard Bird Count. By submitting data online, they contribute to valuable information about species health, population trends and more.
Participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count is fun, simple, and anyone can participate. It is a great activity for families and groups or simply by observing birds through your kitchen window while enjoying your morning coffee.

The Great Backyard Bird Count is a joint project of Audubon and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology with Canadian partner Bird Studies Canada, and is supported in Canada by Armstrong Bird Food and Wild Birds Unlimited. If you are interested in participating or would like more information, please go to

For further information, please contact:
Lacey Weekes, Conservation and Education Manager, Nature Saskatchewan 306-780-9481