Thirteen spooky facts about Canadian bats

Big brown bat <i>(Eptesicus fuscus)</i> (Photo by Brock Fenton)

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

There are 19 known bat species in Canada. Although they are subjected to a spooky stigma around Halloween, they’re nothing to be afraid of. Here are 13 things you didn’t know about this not-so-scary mammal: 1. The snooze button....

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Something's Fishy: Ghosts of fishes past

A 60-day-old American paddlefish <i>(Polyodon spathula)</i> fry (Photo from Wiki Commons)

A 60-day-old American paddlefish (Polyodon spathula) fry (Photo from Wiki Commons)

They’re there, lurking the depths of Canadian lakes and rivers, unseen by humans or other fishes. Ghosts of fishes extirpated or extinct from waters across Canada haunt other species and scientists alike. Their absence leaves an impression...

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On the trail of mountain caribou in Darkwoods

Caribou crossing sign close to Kootenay Pass on Canada’s Highway 3. (Photo by David Moskowitz)

Caribou crossing sign close to Kootenay Pass on Canada’s Highway 3. (Photo by David Moskowitz)

The South Selkirks herd is the last group of mountain caribou that still range back and forth across the international border between British Columbia and Washington and Idaho. Just north of the border, Canadian Highway 3 crosses the Selkirk...

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Something’s Fishy: Swimming with the sculpin

Deepwater Sculpin (Myoxocephalus thompsonii) (Photo by Doug Watkinson/Fisheries and Oceans Canada)

Deepwater sculpin (Myoxocephalus thompsonii) (Photo by Doug Watkinson/Fisheries and Oceans Canada)

The first time I saw a sculpin splashing around was in a large bucket, among several other fish species, captured for a population survey of small creek on a piece of residential land. I was working with the Central Lake of Ontario Conservation...

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Grandparents in the natural world

Old-growth forest (Photo by NCC)

Old-growth forest (Photo by NCC)

I often find similarity in the structure of human society and the ecosystems in nature. Reflecting on how our community is comprised of people from all walks and stages of life, I can’t help but think the same about forests. As Grandparents...

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Bring Back the Bluebirds Project: Season four in review

A female western bluebird steadies herself at a feeder before slipping through the robin-excluding mesh to grab mealworms for her second brood of fledglings. (Photo: R Hetschko/GOERT)

A female western bluebird steadies herself at a feeder before slipping through the robin-excluding mesh to grab mealworms for her second brood of fledglings. (Photo: R Hetschko/GOERT)

When, just days into spring, more adult western bluebirds had naturally returned to their former nesting or natal territories in the Cowichan Valley than in entire years previously, we knew we were in for a remarkable breeding season. But no one...

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Tailing biologists on a local "bat blitz" near Osoyoos

The big ears, strong bite and honey-coloured downy fur make this rare male pallid bat distinctive. (Photo by Richard McGuire)

The big ears, strong bite and honey-coloured downy fur make this rare male pallid bat distinctive. (Photo by Richard McGuire)

It’s Sunday afternoon and I have a date with a large group of biologists conducting a bat blitz at the Sage and Sparrow Conservation area [in BC's Okanagan region]. The forecast is calling for a severe thunderstorm, but I have no way to...

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My (grizzly) neighbours - Part Two

Grizzly bears attempt to corner a horse.

Grizzly bears attempt to corner a horse in the Tatlayoko Valley. (Photo by NCC)

If you followed Part One of my grizzly bear chronicle, you'll know my motto to, "never leave the house without a camera." Over the years, I've captured many images, too many for a single posting so I have singled out bears as being the most...

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My (grizzly) neighbours - Part One

No need for coffee when you see this vision outside the kitchen window first thing in the morning. (Photo by Peter Shaughnessy)

No need for coffee when you see this vision outside the kitchen window first thing in the morning. (Photo by Peter Shaughnessy)

Never leave the house without a camera...and a spare battery. I learned that lesson well over the past 27 years while living and working in British Columbia’s Tatlayoko Valley and I will explain why. But first, where is Tatlayoko? It is a...

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Beyond the boardwalk at the Garry oak preserve

BC Garry Oak (Photo by Tim Ennis NCC)

I’ve been wanting to visit the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC's) Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve since we moved here, but as an endangered ecosystem it’s not open to the general public. We’d wandered the (short) boardwalk...

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