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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Tips on how to squeeze in time for nature

Skating at –41 C (Photo by Gayle Roodman/NCC staff)

Skating at –41 C (Photo by Gayle Roodman/NCC staff)

We all lead busy lives, full of work and family commitments, errands and to-do lists that, over the course of a day, seem to magically grow longer. It’s easy to become consumed by it all, but there’s nothing like a little nature to...

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Snowy shutterbugs: My top six tips for winter photography

Large format camera lens (Photo by Wikimedia Commons, Image Gallery of the Agricultural Research Service (U.S. Department of Agriculture))

Large format camera lens (Photo by Wikimedia Commons, Image Gallery of the Agricultural Research Service (U.S. Department of Agriculture))

Blue Mountain outside Halifax, Nova Scotia. It was late afternoon after a fresh snowfall. Like many people, I tend to keep my camera tucked away more often during winter. But the hike to the top of this granite ridge is rewarded with a panoramic...

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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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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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My guide to surviving winter

Snow forest on Darkwoods, BC (Photo by NCC)

Snow forest on Darkwoods, BC (Photo by NCC)

I love winter. Yes, you heard me right; I love Canadian winters. It’s part of who we are, it brings us together and it creates for some friendly competition between provinces. I mean, it’s practically a Canadian pastime to talk about...

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Winter strategies for at-risk birds

Bobolink (Photo by Bill Hubick)

Bobolink (Photo by Bill Hubick)

Now that I’m hunkered down for the cold winter season, I often find myself reminiscing about summer days and the colourful feathered friends that have long departed for warmer climates. Yearning for a trip somewhere warm, I wonder, what...

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Winter is for the birds

Prothonotary warbler (Photo by Bill Hubick)

Prothonotary warbler (Photo by Bill Hubick)

When the temperature drops and fall colours give way to bare trees and snowy scenes, we tend to huddle up for the winter. Much like the natural world, we either take off somewhere warm or enter a state of torpor, often staying in to conserve our...

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My winter hike at Big Valley

Looking out over Big Valley, SK. (Photo by Bill Armstrong)

Looking out over Big Valley, SK. (Photo by Bill Armstrong)

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has a knack for giving their properties memorable names. On a (relatively) mild February day, I set out to get acquainted with Big Valley, north of Regina, at the southwestern edge of Last Mountain Lake in...

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