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Events of interest

Saskatchewan Breeding Bird Atlas

Bird Studies Canada and its partners officially launched the Saskatchewan Breeding Bird Atlas. Bird Studies Canada expects to repeat this effort every 20 years to track our breeding bird population over time.

Birders of any skill level can contribute. Data will be gathered for 10 km x 10 km squares in the form of point counts, surveys and casual observations. The entire province has been divided into nearly 7000 squares and you are encouraged to collect data for squares in the Saskatoon region, but also in other parts of the province where there isn't the same base of birders as we enjoy locally.

In the late winter, there will be a workshop for Atlassers and other training events will be held over the course of the project. This will be an excellent opportunity to sharpen your birding skills and make a real contribution to understanding the health and distribution of our provincial bird populations, so please make plans to participate in Saskatchewan's largest-ever Citizen Science project.

Watch for further announcements on the project website:


Sundays in May - MVA Trail Bird Walk
7:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

This weekly walk is ideal for beginners to learn some common birds. Meet at the Diefenbaker Centre parking lot on the University of Saskatchewan campus.

Sunday, May 7th
Leader: Michael Williams (306-242-5383)

Sunday, May 14th
Leader: Hilda Noton (306-374-0674)

Sunday, May 21th
Leader: Hilda Voth (306-242-0198)

Sunday, May 28th
Leader: Heather Wagg (306-652-7351)


Birdwatching for Beginners Class
Tuesday, May 23 and May 30, 2107 (7:00 p.m. - 9:15 p.m.)

This course will cover the basics of birding and is open to both novices and experienced birders. The first session will be an indoor seminar that will meet in Room 130 Physics building on campus. This seminar will summarize tips for using field guides to identify common Saskatoon area birds. The following Tuesday evening will be an outdoor field trip restricted to registered participants in the class.

Advance registration is required. The registration fee for non-members of the society is $20 per person, which includes a 2017 Saskatoon Nature Society membership. Mail a cheque payable to the society along with their name, phone number and email address to:

Saskatoon Nature Society
P.O. Box 448, RPO University
Saskatoon, SK S7N 4J8

Any current members of the society who wish to take this Birdwatching course may register at no cost. They should email their name and phone number to: trips [at] as soon as they know that they will be available to attend the course. If you have any questions, use this email address or phone Stan Shadick at (306) 652-5975.


Wildflower Identification 101: Legume and Rose Family
Friday, May 26 and Thursday June 15, 2017 (7:00 p.m. – 9:15 p.m.)

This introductory workshop will focus on key identification features of common wildflowers in the legume and rose families. Wildflowers (and a few shrubs) that are found in the Saskatoon Region will be discussed‎ including the tricks to identifying these plants from leaf, flower, and even seed heads. The first session will be held in Room 130 Physics building. The follow-up field trip to the workshop will be at Cranberry Flats Conservation Area where the prairie is rich in wildflowers.

Advance registration is required. The registration fee for non-members of the society is $20 per person, which includes a 2017 Saskatoon Nature Society membership. Mail a cheque payable to the society along with their name, phone number and email address to:

Saskatoon Nature Society
P.O. Box 448, RPO University
Saskatoon, SK S7N 4J8

Any current members of the society who wish to take this Wildflower ID course may register at no cost. They should email their name and phone number to: trips [at] as soon as they know that they will be available to attend the course. If you have any questions, use this email address or phone Stan Shadick at (306) 652-5975.


Display Pictures Needed

Ron Jensen has donated a digital picture frame which we can use at our various displays. But we need your photographs. We are looking for pictures of nature (wildlife, landscape, fungi, and flowers, etc.) and especially pictures of Nature Society members enjoying nature. If you have digital pictures you would like to share, please e-mail them to saskatoonnaturekids [at]


Receive SNS newsletter by e-mail

With postal rates going up, we urge you to opt to receive your Saskatoon Nature Society Newsletter by e-mail if you can. Many of us already enjoy this option; we can print the newsletter, and/or file it in a special folder on our home computers for access whenever we need to consult it. This saves the costs of printing and mailing the hardcopy. Changing to an electronic version (with full colour photos!) is easy: just send an e-mail to Claire Bullaro at c.bear [at] asking for the change; this also gives her your correct e-mail address. We would greatly appreciate your help in keeping our costs in line with our resources!

...but please keep your email address up-to-date

If you are receiving the Newsletter via email and you change your ISP or your email address, remember to send the updated address to Claire Bullaro at c.bear [at]


Journals of interest

The Francis Morrsison Library carries a number of print publications that might be of interest to our members. Thanks to Ron Jensen for the following list.

BirdWatching Daily, library no 3 6001 04419 9087 MA published monthly
Birds & Blooms, library no 3 6001 04421 3391 MA published quarterly
AWI (Animal Welfare Institute) Quarterly, library no 3 6001 04423 4066 MA
Canadian Wildlife, library no 3 6001 04423 4033 MA published monthly
Field & Stream, library no 3 600104423 4793 MA published monthly
Plants, Garden Making, inspiring & informing home gardeners, library no 3 6001 04423 9438 MA
The Gardner for the Canadian Climates, library no 3 6001 04423 0398 MA published quarterly
Natural History, library no 3 6001 04423 6335 MA published 10 issues per year
National Geographic, library no 3 6001 04423 4371 MA published monthly
Our Canada, our country, our stories, library no 3 6001 04423 4413 MA published bimonthly
Outdoor Canada West, library no 3 6001 04423 7606 MA
The 2016 Prairie Garden, library no 3 6001 04419 1019 MA published annually
Rodale's Organic Life, published no 3 6001 04420 0778 MA
Tropical Fish Hobbyist, library no 3 6001 04423 9826 MA published bimonthly


Citizen Science resources

Brenda Dale, in her talk at the December meeting, listed many citizen science projects that are successful because of the volunteers who devote their time and expertise. The web links to many of these projects are contained in the document Citizen Science Summary (pdf) available on the Resources page.

The projects include Breeding Bird Atlas - coming to Saskatchewan soon! Time commitment is 20 hours for each square but can be shared. All skill levels can contribute distribution data.

Christmas Bird Count: one day per count. All skill levels can contribute distribution data.

Checklist / eBird: time commitment and skill levels that can contribute distribution and abundance data vary.

Nest Records / Project Nestwatch: time commitment varies. Can contribute breeding distribution and productivity data for any birds you can identify. Report found bands or observed markers: Anyone can assist with this and help provide distribution and longevity data.

Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS): requires 7 or more days per year and a high skill level at banding, aging, and sexing birds but provides vital information on productivity and longevity needed to understand trends

Migration Monitoring: time commitment can vary. Banding skills or assistance with practical logistics can contribute to understanding migration ecology and to a lesser degree trends.

Chaplin and Reed Lakes shorebird monitoring: from one to several days. Shorebird ID skills required to provide data to track trends and understand migration ecology of shorebirds.

Breeding Bird Survey: time commitment is 1 day for survey and 1 day for logistics, data entry and checking. Skill level to provide abundance and trend data for many species is high.

Free online training to improve skills in bird identification (Dendroica) or aging and sexing birds in the hand (Piranga). You may use the program as a guest but if you get an account you can create and save custom lists.


Books about nature

EcoFriendly Sask, with input from many including SNS, has compiled a list of books about nature in Saskatchewan. It's a work in progress but a good start. If you have books to suggest, please let them know. Meanwhile, check this out!


PAD option for donations to SNS

You now have the option of supporting the work of the Saskatoon Nature Society through either a onetime donation or an ongoing monthly contribution using the pre-authorized debit (PAD) system. To use the PAD system, you simply sign an authorization form indicating the amount you wish to donate regularly from your bank chequing account, and attach a cheque marked "VOID" to provide your account information. An official receipt for income tax purposes will be issued in January of each year.

The Membership/donation page of the Newsletter has been changed to include the PAD option. The PAD authorization form will be available at the membership desk at each monthly meeting, or it can be mailed to you by our Treasurer, or you can download the membership form here (pdf document). Your financial support is greatly appreciated!


3rd edition of the Nature Viewing Sites is here!

Saskatoon Nature Society will launch its new publication, "A Guide to Nature Viewing Sites in and around Saskatoon" (3rd edition) on Wednesday, May 18, 2016, 7 p.m. at McNally Robinson Booksellers.

Nature ZViewing Sites - 3rd editionEnjoy the beauty of nature close to home! The Saskatoon Nature Society invites you to explore 36 hot-spots for finding wild plants, birds, animals and other creatures in parks and natural areas in and around our prairie city. Members Donna Bruce, Joan Feather and Anna Leighton, with the help of many others who know and love these places, explain how to find them and what natural wonders await you in all seasons.

This third and much expanded edition of the Society's popular Guide features clear directions and maps, GPS coordinates, full-colour photographs of landscapes and species, and fascinating nature facts that may surprise you. Whether you are a long-time resident or a newcomer, looking for an outdoor break from work or a good place for a stroll, this Guide is for you.

For more information please e-mail Joan Feather ( jfeather [at] )


SNS on Facebook

Our Facebook page needs material. Members are encouraged to upload photos or other media directly through the SNS page, or alternatively to submit files and any descriptive information to Members with active Facebook accounts can access and promote our page by liking us and sharing our page with others on Facebook.


Report on the Naturalized Areas in Saskatoon

The City of Saskatoon has designated several city parks as naturalized parks. These parks are managed to attract birds. Gary Pedersen, Naturalized Areas Supervisor, has prepared an updated report on the Naturalized Areas section. You can download the report here:

Saskatoon's naturalized parks - reportNaturalized parks in Saskatoon - March 2013 report (pdf, 49 KB)



What is eBird? A real-time, online checklist program, eBird has revolutionized the way that the birding community reports and accesses information about birds. Launched in 2002 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, eBird provides rich data sources for basic information on bird abundance and distribution. It is amassing one of the largest and fastest growing biodiversity data resources in existence.

How does it work?

A birder simply enters when, where, and how they went birding, then fills out a checklist of all the birds seen and heard during the outing. The observations of each participant join those of others in an international network of eBird users. eBird then shares these observations with a global community of educators, land managers, ornithologists, and conservation biologists. In time these data will become the foundation for a better understanding of bird distribution across the western hemisphere and beyond.

Birders wishing to contribute and record their sightings can register as a new user at the website


Web resource - A Beginner's Guide to Bird Watching

Thanks to Frannie Davis, a Science Student Teacher from Seattle, we learned about a great web resource for people wishing to learn more about the art of bird watching: A Beginner's Guide to Bird Watching for Couch Potatoes. Check it out.


SNS members' discount

With a new membership or a renewal, you will receive the SNS membership card. By showing the card, SNS members can receive a discount at:

  • Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop (330A-2600 8th Street E)
    Offers members a 10% discount on regularly priced books, bird seed, feeders and bird houses.
  • Don's Photo (1902 8th St. E)
    Discount on photo-finishing and certain other items in the store.
  • Members can also get a 10% discount at Early's Farm and Garden Centre (2615 Lorne Ave and 502A-51st Street East) on all regularly priced wild bird feeding products, bird houses, books, etc.


Bird surveys of the Northeast Swale and Chief Whitecap Park

The Saskatoon Nature Society is seeking volunteers to record observations of birds, plants and wildlife in the NE Swale (north of Sutherland) and Chief Whitecap Park (south of the Exhibition Park). The MVA has requested this data from us to support their work in these areas. If you wish to volunteer, please contact Stan Shadick by email to stan.shadick [at] or by phone 652-5975 to receive more details about these 2 projects.

You can download instruction packages and survey forms here (documents will open in a new window):

Link to Northeast Swale Survey PackageNortheast Swale Survey Package (Adobe pdf, 1.4 MB)
Link to NE Swale Wildlife Survey FormForm - Northeast Swale Wildlife Survey (Adobe pdf, 45 kb)

Link to Chief Whitecap Park Survey PackageChief Whitecap Park Survey Package (Adobe pdf, 4.5 MB)
Link to Chief Whitecap Park Wildlife Survey FormForm - Chief Whitecap Park Wildlife Survey (Adobe pdf, 52 kb)

Last updated: 4 May, 2017