A Passion for Wildlife Photography

Our country is chock full of incredible wildlife, you just have to get out and look for it!

I am a farm girl from the Prairies. Stony Plain, Alberta, to be exact. Maybe that is where I caught the wildlife photography bug. There is so much peace, joy and fun to be had spending time out in nature, no matter the season.

Ruffed GrouseWendy Mallard
A ruffed grouse.

Take for example, heading out to check on some little great horned owlets you’d spotted, only to hear something creeping through the bush. You’re afraid this is the day you might die, only to discover that it is merely a ruffed grouse that has fallen in love with your giraffe-print boots!

Wildlife Photography - Red FoxWendy Mallard

Opportunities for wildlife photography abound

The amazing sights are endless. Driving along the road, you suddenly notice a flash of orange—you’ve come upon a fox den and one little guy even wants to pose for you! Then there is the rarely seen long-eared owl that looks just as surprised to see you as you are to see it. Migration is a wonderful time to partake in more discoveries, such as spotting a massive flock of snow geese.

Wildlife Photography - Northern Saw-Whet OwlWendy Mallard
A northern saw-whet owl.

When your friends know about your passion, you tend to get phone calls that go something like, “The deer are in the peas. Bring your camera!” Or as another friend proclaimed, “I’ve got an owl in my chicken coop, come over!” That time I captured a pic of a cute little northern saw-whet owl.

Canadian Wildlife - Pygmy OwlWendy Mallard
A tiny northern pygmy owl looks down from its perch.

A Rare Find

One very cold winter day, I was driving with my window open a crack and could hear some chickadees raising a fuss. I stopped, got out and searched for a long time before I finally discovered the cause of the ruckus, a northern pygmy owl. They aren’t much bigger than the chickadees themselves! He was an exciting and rare find for my area.

How many of these Canadian birds have you spotted in your travels?

Deer With Fuzzy AntlersWendy Mallard

I’ve snapped photos of apple-eating coyotes, great grey owls on the hunt, deer and elk fighting and breeding in the rutting season, and all kinds of birds mating and nesting. Porcupines are always a treat, too. I’ve even watched a common raven dance like no one was watching—bouncing up and down on a fence post just for the fun of it.

I’ve also rescued a common loon and a great horned owl. Those will get your adrenaline pumping when you are face-to-beak with them!

Discover the best wildlife experience in every province.

Wildlife Photography - Black Bear Eating BerriesWendy Mallard

I keep my camera handy when I travel, too. On a recent vacation, my husband and I spotted a black bear filling up on berries, as well as an intelligent mule deer sliding her neck along a branch to push it down so she could reach the leaves she wanted to eat.

Wildlife Photography - Deer Eating BerriesWendy Mallard

The Best Gift of All

One of my favourite traditions is every year on Mother’s Day, when my son Ryan and I go for drives looking for wildlife. That is his gift to me—the best gift ever in my opinion. One year, we stopped to watch snow geese fly just over our vehicle. It was quite the sight—and so were all the goose droppings on the windshield when we got back in the car! We just looked at each other and laughed, wondering how we didn’t end up covered in it as well.

Trying to capture great wildlife photography involves a lot of driving to various locales—and you don’t always spot wildlife—but you do get to experience sunrises and sunsets, trees, lakes, mountains, the changing of the seasons and the all-encompassing beauty that our country has to offer. So why not get in your car, go for a drive and enjoy nature in our Canada!

Next, check out this gallery of beautiful bird photography from across Canada.

Originally Published in Our Canada