Saturday, July 14, 2018

ELLIS BIRD FARM

      In my last post I told how we had been visiting the Ellis Bird farm . Some asked questions about the farm. I had on my list to do a post of the bird farm.

 The entrance with all kinds of nest boxes

The original gate and driveway. Notice the 
Texas gate.


     First some history.  The province of Alberta in Canada is rich in oil and gas. For a number of years some Petro chemical companies had been planning some large plants to process the gas into other products. In the 1970's they started building these plants.
  


      Modern industry thinks they need large acreages to build on. They also build away from urban areas. It's no big deal for them to build pipelines or railroads to their plants.  At one time they had 4000 construction workers so it gives you an idea of the size of the plants. They've added since that time.


    So one of the farms that was bought was owned by Charlie Ellis.  Charlie and his sister Winnie owned 800 acres.

     Charlie was an excellent farmer and naturalist. In the 1950's he noticed a decline in the bluebird population. Being a resourceful man he set up blue bird nesting boxes. It was new territory. He had to experiment to find the right size of the box and the hole size.

    One of the interpretive centers
 One of Charlies tractors
 The original barn and coral.
  Beautiful rolling farmland now used for hay production

Another one of charlie's tractors.

      Naturalists were horrified that this property was going to be used for industry. Well, part of it was going to be used. The Ellis Blue Bird farm was set up to preserve the land and habitat. The land was still going to be farmed. The Company agreed to this arrangement and sweetened the pot with lots of money over the years.

     All habitat has been maintained and the original homestead has been developed into a tourist destination. Most of the original farm buildings are still there. The house has been made into a tea room.

    Now in photos you will see hundreds of nest boxes. Most of them are fund raising projects. Interpretive centers have been developed with all kinds of information.

    Unfortunately the blue bird population has continued to decline. I saw only two bluebirds on June 18,2018  There are more on the property. On that day in 2 1/2 hours we saw thirty species of birds and did not cover the whole property.

26 comments:

  1. such a great post,, it is sad that the numbers are declining still for the Bluebird,, so sad,, I love Charlies tractor, we had one similar on the farm, lol,our planet needs more people like Charlie!!

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    1. Song bird populations have crashed in the west.

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  2. Oh, that is sad the bluebirds are continuing to decline. Such lovely little birds. This is a lovely piece of property. Anyone know the reason bluebirds continue to decline?

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    1. Loss of habitat is the main reason.

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  3. I wonder if proximity to the petro plant is a problem for the bluebirds? Even if they have boxes and preserved habitat, they may not like being close to so much activity.

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    1. the tree swallows have increased in population as well as Canada geese. The plant is very noisy but I think emissions are well controlled.

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  4. The bird populations in my little corner of the Island fluctuate from year to year and type to type. This year is definitely a house sparrow year.

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  5. We have efforts here to increase the bluebird populations with boxes. It seems to be helping the populations, so do not give up hope. Maybe it is a decline in insect food?

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    1. Yes, food but from loss of habitat.

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  6. Very cool! We have lots of bluebird boxes in Ontario, at the side of the road, in fields. They are on their second broods!

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  7. That is really sad about the bluebird decline. They are such beautiful little birds.

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    1. Sad , but others are suffering the same fate.

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  8. I guess a reasonable compromise between nature and industry ... yeah, I like that old tractor too.

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    1. Yes, it was a very good compromise.

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  9. Birds need as much help as we can give them.

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    Replies
    1. We have to quit destroying their habitat.

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  10. That's sad about the decline in the bluebird population. I wonder if its the location. Interesting post, I enjoyed it.

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    1. It's mostly about habitat destruction.

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  11. Bluebirds are such pretty birds. It was farsighted of Mr. Ellis to provide for them.

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    1. Charlie was farsighted in other things. He built an elevator on his farm which was a first.

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  12. Thanks for more history! Looks like Charlie had a love of birds and land:)

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  13. I didn't know that about the bluebird population. Glad you got to see so many on the farm. We need more people like Charlie. Thanks for sharing Red. This is a very interesting post.

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  14. Hi Red. Nice of you to visit my blog. You ask what a water butt is. It is a plastic tank which fits against the house wall and connects to the downpipe from the roof guttering to the drain - thus collecting the rain water from the roof and storing it in the tank for garden watering. Do call and see me again.

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  15. Hello, great post and info. The Bluebirds need all the help they can get. There are a lot of birds that like farm land, like the Meadowlark. They all need help. Enjoy your day. Thanks for visiting my blog.

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