Located in the heart of central Alberta, Ellis Bird Farm is both a working farm as well as a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of Mountain Bluebirds, Tree Swallows and other native cavity-nesting birds. Drop-in visitors and tour groups are welcome at Ellis Bird Farm during the summer months, when we are open to the public. We invite you to stroll the trails, enjoy the beautiful gardens, see the world’s largest outdoor collection of bluebird nest boxes, take a tour out to our bluebird trail, visit the Visitor Centre and linger in the Tea House. We invite you to visit us! Enjoy a country drive in Central Alberta, find directions to Ellis Bird Farm here.Ellis Café
Box 5090, Lacombe, AB T4L 1W7
Phone: (403) 346-2211 (Off-season); (403) 885-4477 (May-September)
Open mid-May to September – 11:00am to 5:00pmVisit Website
Alberta Open Farm Days 2015
Alberta Open Farm Days is about farmers and ranchers inviting their urban and rural neighbours to stop in for a visit to share stories, see demonstrations, and learn more about the farmers who grow their food. As well, some of Alberta’s most talented chefs and rural communities will be hosting a memorable series of farm to table culinary events that will be held around the province on August 22, using Alberta farm products. Farms across the province will open their gates on August 23. Admission is free. Join us and explore Alberta this summer. (Alberta Open Farm Days , 2015) Last year’s Open Farm Days had a lot of great hosts from Lacombe County including the Lacombe Blacksmith shop, Little Cherries on the Prairies, Flying Cross Ranch, Billy Co. Junction, Ellis Bird Farm, and Brown Eggs & Lamb. From horses, cows, lambs and piglets to cherries, Bird box building, pond dipping, and summer treats there was something to do all week end long! With something for every age group, it was truly fun for the whole family! This year we once again have hosts from all over Lacombe County, with all of the events happening on Sunday, August 23, you and your farm can have a full day of rural experiences. This year’s hosts include Bles Wold Farm, Ellis Bird Farm, Flying Cross Ranch, Garry Peterson Farms, Lacombe Blacksmith Shop and Little Cherries on the Prairie At Bles Wold Farms you can see and learn about calves, cows, feeding, and equipment. There will even be delicious locally made yogurt for you to taste. Ellis Bird Farm you will find regular activities include birdwatching, exploring the gardens and woods, enjoying the “petting zoo” goats, sheep and chickens, building bird boxes, pond dipping (for aquatic insects), visiting the interpretive centres to learn about the history of the farm and the local wildlife. If you haven’t been to Ellis Bird Farm this is an experience you will not want to miss! Old Country Fair complete with family entertainment, livestock, and old fashioned country fun can be found at the Flying Cross Ranch! There will also be Face painting, a petting zoo, pony rides, learn how to throw a rope like a cowboy, take home your name on branded on a piece of wood. Check out the vendors at our country market. It will be fun for the whole family! Visitors to Hidden Valley Garden will have the opportunity to u-pick a wide variety of vegetables and berries. The owners will be on hand to answer questions about producing vegetables and how to harvest and store produce. See Garry’s 2 cylinder John Deere tractor collection and other farm equipment at Garry Peterson’s Farm. Over 60 tractors and engines will be on display, ranging in year from 1924 to 1960! Hear the anvil ring and watch as dedicated blacksmiths and apprentices bring to life the oldest operational blacksmith shop in Alberta. T Blacksmithing demos will take place all day from 11am-4pm. Meet our blacksmiths at the Lacombe Blacksmith Shop and learn about this traditional craft that was once integral to the farming community in Alberta. At Little Cherries on the Prairie you will experience, orchard tour with free samples of fruit, fresh and processed. Product will be available for purchase. Learn More!
Lacey’s Day at Ellis Bird Farm
My name is Lacey Pilgrim and I am a summer student intern at Lacombe Regional Tourism. I have recently had the opportunity to visit the Ellis Bird Farm for my very first time and the place was above and beyond my expectations. Although I was there by myself, it seemed like the perfect place to bring your friends and family to join in and share the unique and pleasurable experience. I began my visit at the Ellis Bird Farm’s Visitor Centre. The staff members that welcomed me were delightfully friendly and welcoming, and one of the staff members, Shalynn, answered all of my tough questions with ease (and there were quite a few!). She had suggested I take the self-guided tour to start off my adventure and I’m glad she had – it was very informative! However, with a love for goats, I headed to play with the farm animals first. The baby goats were only a month old when I visited and it was safe to say my heart was melting as I played with them. When I finally forced myself to leave the animals I decided to try the self-guided tour, even with my terrible sense of direction. Lucky for me the tour was easy to follow and had a great description of each of the thirteen spots to visit. I captured some beautiful photos of the area, although it was impossible to capture just how much beauty this area truly holds – from the colourful and unique nest-boxes, to the butterflies flying around the gardens, it is a masterpiece of nature. While I was walking around, I met a few visitors walking around the area and asked how they were enjoying their day at Ellis Bird Farm. Their responses were all positive and many of them were returning visitors who brought their friends who had never been there before. One of the groups visiting was all the way from Holland! I also met parents that brought their kids to visit the farm for the day, and took advantage of the beautiful weather and had a picnic at the tables near the entrance. At the end of the tour I decided to check out the Tea House. This quaint little house was the perfect end to the perfect day. Their food is made with local ingredients and consists of a farm to fork style menu. They even have a patio area for the beautiful summer days when you just can’t be indoors! I finished off my tour where I began, at the Ellis Bird Farm Visitor Centre, reading the descriptions on each of the displays and marveled at their display of the Purple Martin routes and just how far these birds fly; it is truly amazing! After taking in all of the information at the Visitor Centre, it was time for me to leave this breathtaking area. Although it is free to visit, they do appreciate donations for a great cause. The donations help provide continued educational programs, general upkeep, help develop and expand the projects and the Visitor Centre displays, all of the important aspects that make it such an inspiring place. It is safe to say that I will be returning to the Ellis Bird Farm this summer but next time I will be bringing a few friends to share the experience with me; and who knows, maybe I will take an idea from the other visitors I met and have a picnic! For more information on the Ellis Bird Farm visit their website at ellisbirdfarm.ca or phone them at (403) 885-4477.
Ellis Bird Farm Tea House and Special Events Schedule
Tea House At the end of the day, the Tea House is the perfect place to relax and take in all that you have done throughout the day. The Tea House makes their food with local ingredients and offers delicious fresh tasting meals. Reservations are recommended in order to guarantee you table, walk-ins are certainly welcome though there may be a little wait. If you wish to reserve a table at the Tea House you can book a table by calling them at (403) 586-4547. The Tea House is open Tuesday through Sunday (open on holiday Mondays) from 11:00am-5:00pm. They have also prepared a delightful variety of specials for their summer events. June 7th & 8th (Country Drive) =BBQ pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw June 15th (Father’s Day)=BBQ Beef on a bun with coleslaw June 21st (Solstice Dinner) = Roast Suckling Pig. Stay tuned for ticket information. Wine and beer will be available for purchase July 1st (Canada day) = Home brewed, old fashioned root beer float July 12th (Bluebird festival + Country drive) = Homemade sausage on a bun and BBQ pulled pork on a bun with coleslaw August 9th (Bug Jamboree) = set menu for kids1) hot dog + homemade lemonade or 1 scoop of ice cream 2) hot dog + homemade lemonade + 1 scoop of ice cream August 23rd (Open Farm Days) = Country pig roast*subject to change, please refer to ellisbirdfarm.ca for complete details Special Events & Activities The Ellis Bird Farm hosts a number of events and offers a great variety of activities and workshops for all to enjoy. Fan favorites include the Blue Bird Festival – July 12 and the Bug Jamboree – August 9. Opening Day May 19 Springtime Country Drive June 7 & 8 Pollinator Gardens Workshop June 14 Father’s Day Hikes June 15 Solstice Dinner June 21 Bioblitz! June 30 Medicinal Plant Walk July 6, August 10 Beginner Photography July 8, August 5 July 9, August 6, August 20 Summertime Country Drive July 12 & 13 Bluebird Festival July 12 The Bluebird Festival is a great time to visit the bird farm. The festival brings in vendors and bands, allowing you to enjoy Ellis Bird Farm with the utmost fun and entertainment. The vendors provide a great selection of local and rural goods and products. Families and friends all welcome to join in on the festivities. Evening Event July 18 Art and Nature Day Camp July 21 Macrophotography Workshop July 22, August 19 Bird Photography Workshop July 27 Youth Plant Talk Theatre July 31 Flora and Fauna Artist Trading Cards August 2 Bug Jamboree August 9 The Bug Jamboree is a great time to visit the Ellis Bird Farm, especially for those bug enthusiasts! This day is filled with a butterfly count and plenty of bug-filled crafts! Day Camp August 11 Alberta Open Farms Days August 23 & 24 Closing Day September 1
Member Profile | Ellis Bird Farm
The Ellis Bird Farm is open from Victoria Day to Labour Day (May 19-September 1). It is open from 11:00AM-5:00PM every Tuesday through Sunday, and open on holiday Mondays. Ellis Bird Farm is located 8 km east (on Highway 12) and 8 km south (Prentiss Road/RR 26-0) of Lacombe. The farm is on the west side of the road, across from the MEGlobal petrochemical facility. Ellis Bird Farm is incredibly accommodating, especially when it comes to groups. They can host up to 50 people per group to ensure everybody can participate in the discussions and activities, along with smaller groups who would like an expert staff member to share their knowledge and gain nest-box building or pond dipping experience. If you would like to just experience the bird farm on your own and at your own pace, they also offer a self-guided tour that teaches you about the farm with easy step-by-step directions. When It All Began – The story of the Ellis Bird Farm… The Ellis Bird Farm was officially established in 1982, but it took years of hard work to become the remarkable place it is today. It all began when Charlie and Winnie took over their parent’s farm back in the early 1950’s. It was around this time that Charlie began to place nest-boxes for Mountain Bluebirds around the Lacombe-area farm. After about 20 years of the siblings rimming the area with nest-boxes, the Ellis Bird Farm became the largest recorded nesting density of Mountain Bluebirds. The Ellis siblings continued their lifelong passion and have left an incredible and long-lasting conservatory for the native Lacombe area birds, as well as an astounding legacy that will undeniably carry on throughout Lacombe’s history. For the Kids! The Ellis Bird Farm offers plenty of fun activities for kids of all ages. These activitiesare also educational and focus on wildlife typically found around the area; from beavers and bugs to owls and bird feathers. The farm also hosts school tours throughout the spring months, and includes pond dipping, nest box building, playing with the farm animals along with other hands on activities. The pond dipping is a major draw for the kids, giving them the opportunity to catch different pond critters and learn about the different ones they caught and the roles they play in the environment. Another kid favorite is the nest-box building, giving kids the chance to create their very own birdhouse – with adult supervision of course. Activities for Adults The Ellis Bird Farm not only caters to kid’s interests, but also to adults and the kids at heart. Any naturalists would love to come in and explore the land or even take a walk through the paths in West Woods. Bird watching is exquisite and if you are wondering where the birds fly, they also track the Purple Martin flying routes. There are a wide variety of workshops that cater to many different interests such as learning about the medicinal plants or learning how to capture the perfect moment here during a photography workshop. Birthday Parties and Day Camps The Ellis Bird Farm also hosts birthday parties as well as a variety of day camps, such as the Art & Nature Day Camp. These day camps allow the kids to experience all different types of activities including the favorites, pond dipping and nest box building, as well as arts and crafts for the kids to make something to remember this experience forever. Although they welcome and encourage people to stop by anytime, the day camps do require you to pre-register. New Visitor Centre Opening Soon! The Ellis Bird Farm is opening a brand new Visitor Centre! Although it is not quite completed, they look forward to the opening in July. The brand new Visitor Centre is hard to miss, catching everyone’s eye with the red barn style look. One staff exclaimed she was very excited for the opening, as it will give them more space to further provide interactive activities for the visitors and more space to do so.