Native grassland is important habitat for grassland birds

Native grassland (Photo by Sarah Ludlow/NCC staff)

Native grassland (Photo by Sarah Ludlow/NCC staff)

Saying that native grassland is important habitat for grassland birds seems quite obvious. And you might think to yourself, “Of course grassland birds like grassland habitat; it’s right in the name!” The important point to note...

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Gardening with native plants this spring

Wild bergamot (Photo by Sarah Ludlow/NCC staff)

Wild bergamot (Photo by Sarah Ludlow/NCC staff)

I love to garden. I excitedly begin planning for the next year as soon as the autumn chill settles over the prairies. I’m always impatient for spring to arrive, and it doesn't help when the seed catalogues start arriving in November. I find...

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Location, location, location: Building real estate for cavity dwellers

Black-capped chickadee (Photo by Lorne)

Black-capped chickadee (Photo by Lorne)

The number of tree cavities are often limited on the landscape, but there are many different species that require cavities for their home (such as squirrels, bats and birds). As a result, cavities that suit the needs of a given species are a hot...

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Bird homes: Location is everything

Juvenile American robin (Photo by Sarah Ludlow/NCC staff)

Juvenile American robin (Photo by Sarah Ludlow/NCC staff)

On May 17, Conservation Volunteers helped install 14 nest boxes on the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Edenwold property in Saskatchewan. These nest boxes were designed with certain species in mind ― tree swallows and mountain bluebirds....

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Canada's splendid sparrow crew

Dark-eyed junco (Photo by Bill Hubick)

Dark-eyed junco (Photo by Bill Hubick)

Sparrows often don’t get enough credit. Many don’t have flashy plumage like jays, orioles or cardinals, or melodic songs like thrushes or meadowlarks; however, sparrow species are often fairly distinct (once you get to know them) and...

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How species survive the winter: Skin breathing and antifreeze

Northern leopard frog (Photo by NCC)

Northern leopard frog (Photo by NCC)

Previous blog posts have discussed how small songbirds and big brown bats survive the winter. Those blogs briefly covered some strategies used by birds and mammals. But what about amphibians? How do frogs survive the many months of sub-zero...

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How species survive winter: Hibernation

A big brown bat

A big brown bat "hanging out." Often when found outside, big brown bats sit in this position on the side of a building, tree or (ideally not) on the ground. (Photo by Sarah Ludlow/NCC)

Previously, I discussed how small songbirds, and black-capped chickadees in particular, survive winter on the Canadian prairies. Now I will discuss another strategy that animals use to survive the long, cold winter months: hibernation. Hibernation...

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How birds survive the winter

Black-capped chickadee in winter (Photo by NCC)

Black-capped chickadee in winter (Photo by NCC)

Winter on the prairies is long and cold, often lasting from November until March, and with temperatures falling to -20 °C or -30 °C, it’s a wonder that anything can survive here at all. However, a walk around any residential...

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Banding together to protect birds

Warbling vireo that was just banded. Also shown are the banding pliers used to apply the band, data sheet, wing chord ruler and digital scale. (Photo by NCC)

Warbling vireo that was just banded. Also shown are the banding pliers used to apply the band, data sheet, wing chord ruler and digital scale. (Photo by NCC)

In a previous blog post, I discussed how scientists determine long-term trends in bird populations through annual monitoring. Those estimates provide valuable information about a species, but are limited in their capacity to explain the underlying...

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Building homes for bats in the prairies

Conservation Volunteers from across Saskatchewan joined together to build bat boxes. (Photo by NCC)

Conservation Volunteers from across Saskatchewan joined together to build bat boxes. (Photo by NCC)

Every year, the Nature Conservancy of Canada's (NCC's) Saskatchewan Region holds a Conservation Volunteers event at its Old Man on His Back Prairie and Heritage Conservation Area (OMB). This year, one of the activities involved building bat boxes...

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