Counting crows: A winter walk reveals an abundance of birds in the Fraser River Estuary

Conservation Volunteers ready for birding (Photo by Fiona Walsh)

For more than a century, an ongoing citizen science survey has taken place during the holiday season. Known as the Christmas Bird Count, the first survey was initiated by ornithologist Frank M. Chapman on Christmas Day in 1900. One hundred and...

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What's so special about Kenauk?

Osprey nest on Lac Papineau in Kenauk, viewed by several participants in the 2016 survey (Photo by Richard Gregson)

Kenauk is big. Really big! In terms of surface area, it’s the largest conservation project ever undertaken by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) in Quebec, and certainly one of the largest in Canada. The site, located about eight...

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How species survive the winter: Skin breathing and antifreeze

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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This Groundhog Day, it's all relatives

Groundhog (Photo by Cephas/Wikimedia Commons)

Tomorrow marks Groundhog Day, a North American tradition dating back to 1888. The groundhog, also called the woodchuck, is the largest member of the squirrel family and one of four marmot species that live in Canada. Rather than just focusing on...

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A mega-rare mistle thrush visited my mountain ash

Mistle thrush (Photo by Peter Gadd)

On Christmas Day 2017.... It is here! It is here in the mountain ash tree at the crack of dawn. It is a brief appearance, as it turns out, but one long enough to perhaps sense it is sending a Christmas greeting. A bird, once known as the ...

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In search of my totem

Great blue heron spreading its wings (Photo by Lorne)

I frequently awaken with pre-set routines and their parameters dancing in my head — actions and reactions caused by billions of neurons sending and receiving electrochemical signals to and from my brain. Whether stretching and slowly...

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How species survive winter: Hibernation

A big brown bat

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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December roundup: Conservation and nature stories that caught our eye this month

Golden-winged warbler (Photo by Marshall Faintich)

Golden-winged warbler (Photo by Marshall Faintich)

Every day, countless inspiring and informative stories are published about conservation successes or discoveries in nature and wildlife around the world. Here are some that caught our attention in December 2017: Animal herbalists Researchers...

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Identifying bats by their distinctive voices

Big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus) (Photo by Brock Fenton)

Big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus) (Photo by Brock Fenton)

Having studied bats for more than a decade, I have been fortunate to be able talk to students in their classrooms while doing bat presentations, or to landowners while I trapped bats on their properties. Everyone has a bat story. Everyone loves...

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The 12 birds of Christmas

Mourning dove (Photo by Ken Schneider)

On the 12th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…fun bird facts! To celebrate the holidays this year, here are some interesting tidbits about 12 different birds found in Canada, some of which are featured in the 12 Days of Christmas...

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