Saskatchewan Whooping Cranes with Canadian Geographic

Snow geese in Saskatchewan.
Expand Image

Departing Oct 4, 2023

In October, sandhill cranes migrate by the thousands south across southern Saskatchewan, stopping at various localities to refuel before continuing their journey. With them are a handful of whooping cranes, coming south from breeding grounds in Wood Buffalo National Park in the Northwest Territories.

We have a good chance of finding whooping cranes on our birding tour as there is a fine network of field observers scouting the area for these legendary birds. Along with cranes, tens of thousands of snow geese and Canada geese, with lesser numbers of Ross’s, greater white-fronted and cackling geese, are pouring through, as well as other waterfowl, shorebirds, raptors and passerines, especially large flocks of lapland longspurs with snow buntings and possibly northern shrikes.

If time permits and we have seen whooping cranes well, we will venture to Prince Albert National Park and the boreal forest, where we will have chances for boreal specialties like spruce grouse, pileated, black-backed and American three-toed woodpecker, Canada jay, boreal chickadee, bohemian waxwing, and occasionally pine or evening grosbeak, or white-winged crossbill. We also have the possibility to see moose, elk and sometimes river otter.

Meet your RCGS Travel Ambassador

Expand Image
Carol Patterson

Carol Patterson is a travel writer and photographer whose work has appeared in National Geographic, Canadian Geographic, the Daily Beast, USA Today, and the Calgary Herald, among others. A former tourism product development consultant, Carol has spoken at conferences and workshops in North America, Bhutan, Borneo, Botswana, China, Iceland, Norway, Scotland and the Faroe Islands, and written nine books, including The Business of Ecotourism.  

Carol was an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary in the geography department, teaching classes in adventure travel and sustainability. She was named a Global Calgary Woman of Vision in 2008. She has also won several awards for her writing and photography from the Travel Media Association of Canada. 

Carol has long ties with the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo. She used her private pilot’s license in 1985 to create the Calgary Zoo’s Flying Zoo program, her first step in leaving behind a job as a professional accountant to become an everyday explorer. She is a past Chairman of the Board of Trustees and was also a board member for Watchable Wildlife Inc., a U.S. non-profit established in the 1990s to promote wildlife viewing tourism in North America.