Inglewood Bird Sanctuary reopens!

More than two years ago, before the Calgary flood, one of our favourite things to do as a family was to walk the trails in the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary. In summer we’d look for ripe Saskatoon berries, in fall we’d admire the colourful foliage, and in winter we’d appreciate the stillness save for the chatter of chickadees. In all seasons there was wildlife, notably deer, and occasionally we’d see muskrats or a bald eagle.

Blake and Bennett spot ducks from a new bridge at the recently reopened Inglewood Bird Sanctuary.

Blake and Bennett spot ducks from a new bridge at the recently reopened Inglewood Bird Sanctuary.

For the past two years Bennett would ask, “The bird sanctuary will be closed forever?” It began to feel like it. So we were thrilled to return from vacation on August long weekend and find out our old stomping grounds had been (partially) reopened. Not all of the pathways are ready for foot traffic — the flood did a number on the trails and infrastructure like bridges and viewing platforms — but our favourite loop that meanders past the Colonel Walker house, across the lagoon over two new bridges, and around to the main rehabilitated bridge, is once again open. We walked there on a recent evening to check it out.

Peaceful evening inside the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, which has finally (partially) reopened after the Calgary flood.

Peaceful evening inside the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, which has finally (partially) reopened after the Calgary flood.

We immediately spotted several fawns walking in the brush on the other side of the lagoon, their mother grazing not far away. Then, we saw an enormous great blue heron perched atop a fallen log. We got a good look and then he took flight, his enormous wings beating the still air.

This is why they call it a bird sanctuary -- a great blue heron rests atop a fallen tree.

This is why it’s a bird sanctuary — a great blue heron rests atop a fallen tree.

On the other side of the lagoon, where the forest is thicker, we saw what looked like numerous trails leading from the water into the trees. On closer inspection we realized they are beaver runs and lead to trees that have been felled by the industrious critters, which have pretty much taken over during two years of free-range chewing.

Have trees, will chew. The beavers have taken over the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary.

Have trees, will chew. The beavers have taken over the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary.

As we walked along the path we kept our eyes peeled for the fawns, and we were lucky to spot all four of them (!), plus mama having a rest among tall grass near the water’s edge.

One of four fawns spotted on a recent evening.

One of four fawns spotted on a recent evening.

Her babies were skittish, but mama deer is entirely non-plussed about sharing the bird sanctuary with humans again.

Her babies were skittish, but mama deer is entirely non-plussed about sharing the bird sanctuary with humans again.

In all, it was a special evening that reinforced why we love — and truly missed — the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary.

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