Ruell Du Toit and Letje Vorster took in Ellis Bird Farm’s annual Bluebird Festival on July 13. Todd Colin Vaughan/Lacombe Express

PHOTOS: Ellis Bird Farm celebrates 20 years of the Blue Feather Award

Bluebird Festival draws large numbers to serene conservation area

After a summer of incremental weather, the clouds parted in time for Ellis Bird Farm’s annual Bluebird Festival.

“Today is our annual Bluebird Festival and it is a beautiful day. There is tonnes of people and we have an extra celebration because it is the 20th anniversary of our Blue Feather Award,” Site Manager Myrna Pearman said.

The Blue Feather Award honours individual who make great contributions to the education, conservation and care of Bluebirds and other nesting birds.

“Starting in 1999, we started offering the annual award to someone who maintains an extensive bluebird trail and really goes above and beyond to conserve bluebirds and other cavity nesters,” Pearman said. “The people have been able to come back and are on the site today. We are having a luncheon, group photo and then the Blue Feather Award Presentation.”

This year, Ellis Bird Farm honoured two couples who maintain bluebird trails in the Calgary area.

“One has a trail north of Calgary and one south of Calgary and they have been working on the trails since the 1980s and have helped 1,000s of birds. They have done lots of work to educate the public and have done a remarkable job,” Pearman said. “There is a lot of work managing a bluebird trail. It depends on the number of boxes and how remote it is. We had a lady who won in 2016 who has a bluebird trail out in the Kootenay Plains. Every time she monitors her trail, it is a 500 km drive.

“Some people have them in their own communities and it means going out every one to two weeks and checking the boxes. It is a big commitment.”

Ellis Bird Farm runs several events throughout the summer for people of all ages.

“We have lots Knee-high Nature Programs for little children and we have lots of camps for art and nature,” she said. “We have our Bug Jamboree in August and we have Family Nature Schools we holding in the evening. We also have lots of evenings where we are open late, so families and couples can come enjoy the site on a Saturday.”

Ellis Bird Farm without the support of staff, volunteers and sponsors.

“Today we have lots volunteers and we have a great team of summer students. We have a hard-working Board of Directors and lots of good people,” Pearman said.



todd.vaughan@lacombeexpress.com

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Alan and Kay Samways from London, England visited their family including Phoebe Day at Ellis Bird Farm’s Bluebird Festival. Todd Colin Vaughan/Lacombe Express

Rogen Jones, 9, peeked through his binoculars to spot some birds during Ellis Bird Farm’s annual Bluebird Festival. Todd Colin Vaughan/Lacombe Express

Del Spenst brought out the long lens to spot some bluebirds at Ellis Bird Farm’s annual Bluebird Festival. Todd Colin Vaughan/Lacombe Express

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