Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Unusual Chukar Sightings at Red Deer Alberta

        Since the the spring of 2009 there have been sporadic sightings of chukars in the city of Red Deer.

        Chukars are a non native species to North America. They are native to central Asia and live in arid areas. The chukar is the national bird of Pakistan. Chukars were introduced to North America as a game bird species. They have done quite well in the central southern United States in the arid regions. They have been introduced to Canada on several occasions but did not survive as we have snow cover which covers their food source.

        Chukars are a very handsome bird. They have a red beak and very prominent yellow stripes along the breast. The rest of the bird is grey brown.

         In the spring of 2009 a chukar was found on the steps of our local news paper, the Red Deer Advocate. They got a nice picture but misidentified the bird.

        For the summer of 2009 chukars were seen along a park strip on the east side of the Bower subdivision. The winter of 2009-2010 found the chukars frequenting a yard the had ground feeders for birds. Two birds visited this feeder all winter.

          In the spring of 2010 a nest was found and young were seen on the park strip which had long natural grass. These birds were spotted many times in the summer of 2010. I saw them twice when I cycled through the area.

        In September of 2010 Chukars were observed on a strip of parkland on 30th avenue north of Save-on-foods.

       I didn't hear anything about chukars until today when someone phoned to say that they had chukar in their back yard. This yard is in the northwest quadrant of the city. The last sighting of the chukars had been in the southeast quadrant of the city.

      So speculation has it that these birds escaped from and exotic bird sale held near the Bower subdivision. My speculation is that these birds are able to survive by taking advantage of bird feeders throughout the winter. This winter was severe with long cold spells and heavy snow cover yet obviously these birds survived. So when you surmise that their natural food would have been well covered, one would have to suspect that they took advantage of feeders,

      I would like to hear from anyone who has information about chukar survival in this area or any other area.


  1. They use them across the river for a hunt every February and some say that they often see the ones they don't get in the summer. I guess it depends on the winter. To me......its stupid turning them out like that.

  2. Sounds very interesting. I've never heard of them or seen them. They must have adapted well to endure up there in your territory.

  3. Rae, they have not survived here in the wild. These birds have apparently found feeders and survive that way. They have established well in the southwest states...New Mexico, Arizona
    Your area would be far too wet as they seem to inhabit very dry areas.

  4. These would be farm produced birds. A few would survive from Feb. and survive over the summer but unless there's a winter with very little snow they won't survive. They were released in the 30's a couple of times but did not survive for the third year.

  5. I seen a Chukar Partridge on August 6th 2012 in Edmonton. It was a lone bird, one of my neighbors said she had seen most of that day. I saw it on 59th Street just south of 143 avenue. The bird was not very wary, it allowed me to approach quite closely as it pecked away at some dandelions. Certainly a very striking and handsome bird....unmistakeably a Chukar!

    1. I just saw a large group of 8 of them running around Yellowbird/Keheewin in south Edmonton this morning. When I stopped the car to look at them more closely, they ran under my truck!

  6. This afternoon I spotted a couple of Chuckers in the yard of a Cenovus compressor station about three miles southeast of Patricia Alberta. I was quite shocked by this as my birding book stated that the last Chuckers released in Alberta were in the mid 50's in the very southern part of the province and by about 1962 none of these were to anywhere to be found. they were quite tame and walked right up to my truck. I was able to get quite a few pics

  7. Saw one today in Calgary (Bearspaw) just walking around my acreage yard