Park #1: Inglewood Bird Sanctuary

Date visited: June 26, 2021

Location: SE Calgary

Best Time of Year To Visit: Definitely spring or summer when the migratory birds have returned and are nesting. Plus, in the summer, you can see the birds fledging.

Best Time of Day: Early enough in the morning or late enough in the evening when bird enthusiasts are around. Plus, the fewer people around, the more birds you get to see. More people come around noon, so it’s not as peaceful then.

Welcome to my first park in my Calgary Parks Challenge starting with the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary! Okay, this first park wasn’t selected randomly. We have been wanting to visit since moving to Calgary last October. However, the birds were migrating then, so we felt it was best to wait until the birds were nesting or the baby birds were fledging. That was the best decision!

They said the park hours were from sunrise to sunset. At this time of year, we’re talking 5:00-23:00 or thereabouts. I will make a point of posting the park map too on my challenges.

Map of Inglewood Bird Sanctuary

We arrived around 9 am and saw some prairie dogs near the entrance. We thought we saw our first-ever moose, but as we got closer it turned out to be a mule deer. So close!

Mule Deer

I wish I didn’t have to say this but keep in mind where there’s deer, there are ticks. This park is one of those places where you have to take preventive measures for ticks. Some of the benches have grasses growing through the cracks, so be aware of that if you’re wearing something that exposes your legs.

A Bit of Sanctuary History:

The Inglewood Bird Sanctuary was bought by Colonel James Walker, a commissioned officer of the North West Mounted Police in 1883. His son Selby created the bird sanctuary. It then passed to Ed Jeffries before the City of Calgary purchased the sanctuary in the 1970s. You can read more about Colonel Walker here. There is a school near the bird sanctuary that’s named after him. You can read more about the history of Inglewood Bird Sanctuary here.

Additionally, Colonel Walker House is on the bank of the tributary. We didn’t go in because we doubted it was open. Heck, even the Nature Centre wasn’t open because of COVID-19.

Back to the Birds:

The first part of the bird sanctuary took us to a tributary off of the Bow River. There are ducks and other waterfowl in that area.

A goosander in the tributary

We continued walking to the Bow River and saw some geese there. We were keeping our eyes peeled for eagles and ospreys, but no such luck. Even so, it was great to see swallows flying around. I saw a tiger swallowtail, but couldn’t get a good photo of it. It was getting hot pretty quickly so it was best to see the river earlier (it was the start of this record-breaking heatwave in Canada). Once we got back to an area with more trees, it felt cooler. It was nice to be able to go between the river and a more forested area. I think if we hadn’t had the forested part, we wouldn’t have lasted long!

Pet Peeves and Conclusion:

Normally, I don’t mind seeing people with dogs in parks. However, I am glad that dogs are banned in this park. It’s a sanctuary and it should stay that way. It doesn’t mean there aren’t people who don’t follow the rules though. We did see one person who was walking their dog in the sanctuary. That and the fact that the sanctuary is over the flight path to YYC were my pet peeves for the day.

This was a great park to start my challenge! I would love to see what this park is like in the evening near closing time. I’m sure it’s a quieter time like the morning and there might be owls around. Would I come here in the winter? I don’t know. A lot of the birds would have migrated. I am interested in visiting in the autumn when the leaves change and some birds are still there though. I’m definitely going to come back here again! It made me remember the times I went to the London Wetlands Centre.

If you miss any of my future posts on my challenge or want to reread my past posts, you can go to my page Calgary Parks Challenge. You can also find more photos from the parks on my Instagram page here.

See you at the next park in my challenge!