Deer in Fish Creek Park

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Wildlife Safety and Living Life Next to Fish Creek Park

Welcome to Wolf Willow, a south Calgary community nestled in Fish Creek Park’s backyard, where nature thrives and community spirit flourishes! This stunning natural area in the city offers a haven for wildlife, and a place for residents to connect with nature. By implementing a few simple practices, we can ensure that our presence in this beautiful landscape is a positive one, for both humans and animals alike.

Understanding the Ecosystem of Fish Creek Park

To truly appreciate living next to Fish Creek Park, we must first understand its delicate ecosystem. This expansive park is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna, including over 200 bird species, like Great Blue Herons, ducks, geese, and bald eagles, and mammals such as deer, coyotes, bobcats, and weasels. By respecting and protecting this ecosystem, we can preserve the natural beauty and biodiversity that makes Fish Creek Park so special.

Enjoying Fish Creek Park’s Nature Trails and Walking Paths Responsibly

One of the greatest joys of living near Fish Creek Park is the opportunity to explore its nature trails and walking paths. In Wolf Willow, there is currently one entrance to the park from the community, with a total of five entrances to the provincial park from Wolf Willow planned. A second entrance will be coming soon during phase 9 construction, which faces the Bow River.

Whether you’re an avid hiker or simply enjoy a leisurely stroll, it’s important to do so responsibly. Stick to designated trails to avoid trampling fragile vegetation and disturbing wildlife habitats. Always be mindful of your surroundings and keep a safe distance from any wildlife you encounter. Remember, we are guests in their home.

Fall foliage beside walk trails in Fish Creek Park

Safety Tips for Encountering Wildlife in Fish Creek Park

If you encounter wildlife while strolling through Fish Creek Park, it’s essential to prioritize safety for both yourself and the animals. Here are some guidelines to follow:

Keep your distance: Maintain a safe distance from wildlife and never attempt to approach, feed, or touch them. Respect their space and observe them from afar.

Keep pets on-leash: This not only protects the wildlife but also keeps your pets safe from potential encounters with wild animals. More on this below.

Use binoculars and cameras: Enhance your wildlife viewing experience by using binoculars or cameras with zoom lenses. This allows you to get a closer look without intruding on the animals’ natural behavior.

Be mindful of nesting areas: During certain seasons, birds may be nesting in the park. Keep an eye out for signs indicating nesting areas and avoid disturbing them. Snake nests are also common in Fish Creek Park.

Safety Tips for Encountering Wildlife in Wolf Willow

While Fish Creek Park is teeming with wildlife, it’s not uncommon to encounter some of these creatures in the Wolf Willow neighborhood. Here’s what to do if you come across certain animals:

Deer: If you encounter a deer, maintain a safe distance and avoid approaching or startling them. Deer are generally peaceful animals but may act defensively if they feel threatened.

Coyotes: If you spot a coyote, do not approach or feed them. Keep your distance and make loud noises to deter them. Coyotes are typically wary of humans and will avoid confrontations.

Bobcats: Bobcats are typically most active at sunrise and sunset, and though sightings are rare, they are increasing in our region. While they are shy of humans and unlikely to attack, they do hunt small mammals. Keep your cats indoors and supervise small dogs in your backyard.

Birds: Birds are a common sight in Wolf Willow, thanks to its proximity to Fish Creek Park. Enjoy observing them from a distance and refrain from disturbing their nests or habitat.

There’s even been a moose sighting in Wolf Willow!

A moose sighting in Wolf Willow

Photo by Reddit User ninjacat249

For more information on urban human-animal conflicts and how to handle each animal interaction, the Government of Alberta has a handy resource you can reference here.

Reporting Wildlife to the Authorities

You can report sightings of dangerous or hurt animals to the Alberta Fish & Wildlife department by calling 403.297.6423, Monday – Friday from 8:15am – 4:30pm. If reporting outside of office hours, please call 1.800.642.3800.

There are two rehabilitation centres run by the City of Calgary that can handle smaller mammals and birds.

Not sure how to proceed? You can also contact the City of Calgary by calling 3-1-1 for more information.

Managing Pets in a Wildlife-Friendly Community

Responsible pet ownership is crucial in maintaining a wildlife-friendly community.  As pet owners, it’s up to us to ensure our furry friends coexist peacefully with the wildlife in Fish Creek Park. This means keeping them on a leash (2 meters or shorter in length) at all times when outside of designated off-leash areas. Woof Willow, Wolf Willow’s new fully fenced dog park, is a safe space for your dogs to run off-leash in the community.

By keeping your pets on-leash, we prevent our pets from chasing or harassing wildlife, minimizing stress and potential harm to either your pet or the wildlife. Additionally, please remember to pick up after your pets to keep this public space clean and safe for everyone to enjoy. This not only keeps the park clean but also prevents the spread of disease and protects the delicate ecosystem.

The Benefits of Creating a Wildlife-Friendly Community

Creating a wildlife-friendly community brings numerous benefits to both humans and the natural environment. By respecting and conserving the local wildlife, we foster a sense of pride and connection to our surroundings. Living in harmony with nature promotes mental and physical well-being, as spending time in green spaces has been proven to reduce stress and improve overall health. Additionally, a wildlife-friendly community attracts visitors, boosts property values, and contributes to the overall quality of life for residents of Wolf Willow.

a chickadee sighting in Fish Creek Park

Choosing Native Plants for Your Backyard

One of the best ways to support wildlife is by creating wildlife-friendly gardens and landscapes. Start by choosing native plants that provide food and shelter for local wildlife. Native plants have evolved to thrive in the local climate and soil conditions, making them more resilient and less reliant on artificial fertilizers and pesticides. They also provide essential food sources for native wildlife, supporting the delicate balance of the ecosystem. Incorporate a variety of flowering plants to attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies. By choosing native plants, you can create a beautiful and sustainable landscape that benefits both your backyard and the wider community.

Some native plant examples for Calgary include:

  • Prairie Crocus
  • Canada Anemone
  • Northern Sweetvetch
  • Wolf Willow
  • Slender Beardtongue
  • Wild Bergamot

You can check out a full list of native wildflowers here, as well as common plant species found in Fish Creek Park here.

A front garden at a home in Wolf Willow

Tips for Supporting Wildlife in Your Backyard

In addition to creating wildlife-friendly gardens, there are several other steps you can take to protect wildlife in your own backyard. Minimize the use of artificial lighting at night, as it can disorient migrating birds and disrupt their natural behavior. Install bird feeders and nesting boxes to provide supplemental food and shelter. Avoid using bird netting, as it can entangle animals. Create water sources such as birdbaths or small ponds to provide drinking and bathing opportunities for wildlife. Lastly, secure garbage and compost bins to prevent wildlife from accessing them, reducing the risk of conflicts.

Living harmoniously with nature in Wolf Willow is not only possible but essential for the well-being of both wildlife and our community. By understanding the Fish Creek Park ecosystem, enjoying nature responsibly, managing pets with care, and creating wildlife-friendly landscapes, we can embrace the beauty of our surroundings and create a thriving, wildlife-friendly community.

Find Your Dream Home in Wolf Willow

Are you ready to make Wolf Willow your home and experience the unparalleled beauty of Fish Creek Park? Explore the diverse range of housing options available in this vibrant community, including townhomes, duplexes, condos, laned homes, and front garage homes. With award-winning builders and various floor plans to choose from, you can find the perfect home to suit your family’s unique needs and preferences. There are still lots available in phases 4 and 9, which border Fish Creek Park, allowing easy access to visit the park from your own home.

Find your forever home here.