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.