Spotlight on Alberta

Although it is the westernmost of Canada’s prairie provinces, southwestern Alberta claims a chunk of the Rocky Mountains, including some of the most spectacular scenery in North America: Jasper and Banff national parks. Farther east in Alberta is prairie and agricultural lands, and north is boreal forest and muskeg. Canada’s fourth-largest province, Alberta is slightly smaller than Texas. The landlocked province has a predominantly humid continental climate, with warm summers and cold winters.

Its capital, Edmonton (famous for its wintertime gyrfalcons), is geographically centered, and its largest city, Calgary, is farther south, but both metropolitan areas boast populations of more than a million people. Central and northern Alberta are the breeding grounds of countless waterfowl and other migratory birds. Best birding is in the low-lying wetlands and reservoirs. Wood Buffalo National Park, nesting area for the western population of whooping cranes, occupies Alberta’s northeast corner, but is too remote for most birders.