My 2017 Ontario birding “Big Year”

Violet-green swallow at Thunder Bay Marina, Ontario's third ever record of this species. (Photo by Jeremy Bensette)

Violet-green swallow at Thunder Bay Marina, Ontario's third ever record of this species. (Photo by Jeremy Bensette)

Last year was a pretty “big” one for me, birding-wise! I committed to completing a "Big Year," a quest to see as many bird species as possible in one year in my beautiful home province of Ontario, and held onto that goal until dark on...

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Ten of nature's weirdest courtship rituals

Greater prairie chicken (Photo by Ron Knight/Wikimedia Commons)

Greater prairie chicken (Photo by Ron Knight/Wikimedia Commons)

Much like humans, other animals have evolved ways of wooing or courting potential mates, whether it’s singing a love song, doing a sensual dance or giving a thoughtful gift. With love in the air this Valentine’s Day, here are 10...

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

Conservation Volunteers ready for birding (Photo by Fiona Walsh)

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)

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

Orcas (Photo by Robert Pittman/Wikimedia Commons)

Orcas (Photo by Robert Pittman/Wikimedia Commons)

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 January 2018: Birds set fire to the plains Birds...

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A mega-rare mistle thrush visited my mountain ash

Mistle thrush (Photo by Peter Gadd)

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)

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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The 12 birds of Christmas

Mourning dove (Photo by Ken Schneider)

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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Birdwatching apps play a role in conservation

Downy woodpecker (Photo by Lorne)

Downy woodpecker (Photo by Lorne)

Wondering what that bird is? Several apps make it easy to answer this question. By entering some data, uploading a photo of the bird or matching its birdsong you can confidently identify birds. Three particular apps — eBird, Merlin and...

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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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