Family and friends of the late Jim Boyd came out to a rededication the refurbished Purple Martin birdhouses he donated to Ellis Bird Farm. (Todd Colin Vaughan/LACOMBE EXPRESS)

Family and friends of the late Jim Boyd came out to a rededication the refurbished Purple Martin birdhouses he donated to Ellis Bird Farm. (Todd Colin Vaughan/LACOMBE EXPRESS)

Ellis Bird Farm celebrates Canada Day and prepares for ‘a good summer’

Purple Martin birdhouse rededication highlights celebration

COVID-19 didn’t stop Ellis Bird Farm from celebrating Canada Day and this year the party included a rededication of donated Purple Martin birdhouses.

The houses were donated by the late Jim Boyd, who developed a passion for Purple Martins along with his friend Del McKinnon after Boyd visited the nature conservancy at Pigeon Lake.

“Jim and I became the best of friends. Jim got to be a wonderful friend and I miss him every day. I am so happy to see these here everyday, continuing his legacy, my legacy and the legacy of Ellis,” McKinnon said.

After falling into disrepair, Site Services Manager Myrna Pearman began looking for replacements for the three houses. Boyd’s family and friends of Ellis Bird Farm, however, wanted to ensure the houses remain and a decision was made to refurbish the houses and rededicate them.

“They have been renovated and we are going to celebrate with the family of the man who donated them to us. People are here and even though the weather isn’t great, they are loving it. Lots of folks are out here enjoying the site,” Pearman said the day of the rededication.

The celebration comes after a spring of uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The site, however, is now open with the only thing missing being the cafe — which will remain closed for the summer.

“The site itself is open and we are hosting quite a few events. They are small events and we are hoping to add a few more family events because we are seeing people really love coming out here. It will be a good summer,” Pearman said.

Visitors to Ellis Bird Farm have been thrilled to be able to spend time on the farm, according to Pearman.

“It is wonderful because we are a big enough site and people can keep distant, while enjoying the nooks and crannies and because of the rain the gardens are spectacular. It is a wonderful place close to home where people can come out and enjoy,” she said, adding they have seen many guests come from Edmonton and Calgary.

Pearman said there are a lot of plans for the season including a continuation of the Knee-high Nature Program and the introduction of Butterflies with Ben and the Birds in Flight Photography Day.

“We also have a writing retreat with Dr. Jane Ross, so that is beautiful,” she said.

In terms of the returning bird populations, Purple Martins and Bluebirds appear to be coming back in similar numbers to last year and Pearman said they are also working to keep track of their insect populations.

“We are doing a lot of research this summer — that is the exciting thing,” she said. “We are doing insect inventories with Dr. Delano Lewis from Burman University. and we have a summer student here who is working on her undergraduate thesis. She is looking at fitness of Bluebird nestlings compared to adults.

“We also have a new scientific advisor who is looking at our past data. She is looking at publishing papers using the amazing data we have collected.”

She added, “We really are encouraging people to come out. Bring a picnic, come out and enjoy what nature has to offer at the Ellis Bird Farm.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer reports 25th COVID-19 death

415 new cases identified provincially Saturday

Alberta Health reported two new COVID-19 deaths in Red Deer Friday. (Image courtesy CDC)
Two more deaths linked to Olymel outbreak in Red Deer

Province reported 356 additional COVID-19 cases Friday

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta’s budget promises more help for COVID-19 with a hard deficit

Annual spending on debt interest is closing in on $3 billion

Alberta reported an additional 399 cases of COVID-19 Thursday, on 9,217 tests, for a test positivity rate of 4.3 per cent. (Image courtesy CDC)
Red Deer down to 562 active COVID-19 cases

8 new COVID-19 deaths, 399 additional COVID-19 cases

Alberta premier Jason Kenney, right and Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General, provide details about Bill 13, the Alberta Senate Election Act., in Edmonton Alta, on Wednesday June 26, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Minister Doug Schweitzer talks on Enhanced COVID-19 Business Benefit

Provincial government rolling out new benefit this April to better help small businesses.

Bookings for COVID-19 vaccines for people age 75 or older start Wednesday. (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Updated: Delays for seniors booking for vaccine appointments

By 9:20 a.m. Wednesday, 4,500 seniors had booked their appointments

A helicopter flies past a mountain near McBride, B.C., on Saturday January 30, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Avalanche warning for backcountry users in North and South Rockies

Avalanche Canada is urging backcountry users to always check their regional avalanche forecasts

Supporters pray outside court in Stony Plain, Alta., on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, as a trial date was set for Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church. He is charged with holding Sunday services in violation of Alberta’s COVID-19 rules and with breaking conditions of his bail release. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Trial date for jailed Alberta pastor charged with breaking COVID-19 health orders

The court says it will reconvene with lawyers on March 5 for a case management plan by teleconference

A pharmacist prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at Village Green Retirement Campus in Federal Way on Jan. 26. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
Canada approves use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

The country joins more than a dozen others in giving the shot the green light

Emily Keeping of Wetaskiwin, Alta., was last seen at 4:20 p.m. on Feb. 25, 2021 at the FasGas on 49 St and 50 Ave in Wetaskiwin. Supplied/ Wetaskiwin RCMP.
UPDATE: Wetaskiwin RCMP seek assistance in locating missing 11-year-old

Emily Keeping was last seen on Feb. 25, 2021 at the FasGas on 49 St and 50 Ave in Wetaskiwin.

Sylvan Lake's Winter Village lured many visitors to the town this winter. The town has launched a new contest to attract a new business.
(Black Press file photo)
Sylvan Lake offering rent-free storefront space to lure new businesses

Winning business proposal will get a storefront space rent-free for a year

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP will not trigger election as long as pandemic continues: Singh

‘“We will vote to keep the government going’

Students and staff at Gateway Christian School wore pink Wednesday in support of Pink Shirt Day, a worldwide anti-bullying initiative that was started in 2007. (Photo courtesy of Red Deer Public Schools)
Students, central Alberta community celebrate Pink Shirt Day

Mayor of Sylvan Lake Sean McIntyre supports anti-bullying cause

Most Read