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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Emerald in the rough

Hine's emerald dragonfly at Minesing Wetlands, ON (Photo by Chris Evans)

Hine's emerald dragonfly at Minesing Wetlands, ON (Photo by Chris Evans)

Deep in the heart of the Minesing Wetlands, southern Ontario’s third-largest wetland system, located just 15 minutes west of Barrie, Ontario, lives a mysterious creature. It is thought to inhabit only 50 distinct locations in the entire...

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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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Top 10 blog posts of 2017

Bunchberry Meadows Conservation Area, AB (Photo by Kyle Marquardt)

Bunchberry Meadows Conservation Area, AB (Photo by Kyle Marquardt)

Every year, Land Lines is filled with submissions from across the country, with tales touching on a variety of topics — from the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC’s) stewardship work, to heartwarming accounts of conservation...

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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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Identifying bats by their distinctive voices

Big brown bat <i>(Eptesicus fuscus)</i> (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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Poweshiek winter wonderland

Poweshiek skipperling (Photo by Jaimee Dupont)

Poweshiek skipperling (Photo by Jaimee Dupont)

Forget about crocuses and birds — the first sure sign of spring on the prairies is when the insects start to fly around. Have you ever wondered what happens to the insects in the winter? A few, like the monarch, fly south with the birds, but...

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A soft spot for the infamous predator: Wolves

Gray wolf (Photo by Mike Dembeck)

The timber wolf, also known as the gray wolf, is common in northwestern Ontario, where I have worked and lived for nearly 40 years. Common, but not always safe.I have a soft spot for predators such as wolves. In part because they are beautiful...

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The elusive wolverine: Beyond the X-Men character

The elusive wolverine. This individual was caught on camera making off from the bait station with a large piece of beaver carcass. (Photo by InnoTech Alberta and Alberta Environment & Parks)

When you think of a wolverine, do you think of an elusive, almost mythical creature with superpowers, or do you think of the comic book character? Most people have heard of X-Men, either through the movies or the comic book series, but few people...

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