Saturday, July 14, 2018


      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.