How do you solve a problem like migration?

A flock of shorebirds takes to the air at Oak/Plum Lake Important Bird Area, a migration stopover site in Manitoba. The mixed-species flock includes Wilson’s phalaropes, red-necked phalaropes, stilt sandpipers, pectoral sandpipers, dunlin, white-rumped sandpipers and semipalmated sandpipers. (Photo by Christian Artuso)

A flock of shorebirds takes to the air at Oak/Plum Lake Important Bird Area, a migration stopover site in Manitoba. The mixed-species flock includes Wilson’s phalaropes, red-necked phalaropes, stilt sandpipers, pectoral sandpipers, dunlin, white-rumped sandpipers and semipalmated sandpipers. (Photo by Christian Artuso)

I can feel the rapid thrumming of the bluebird’s heart against my palm as I carefully manoeuvre its foot into position over a tiny Ziploc bag. I pick up my nail scissors and take a deep breath to steady my hand. I will only get one chance to...

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Tales of recovery: Cooper's hawk

Cooper's hawk (Photo by Jim Johnson, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

Cooper's hawk (Photo by Jim Johnson, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

Not that long ago, we used the “Santa Claus method” to classify wildlife. There was the nice list. Animals like deer and trout and ducks were on that list. These were mostly animals that we liked to hunt and fish, but also animals that...

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Restore it and they will come

Henslow's sparrow (Photo by Adam Timpf)

Henslow's sparrow (Photo by Adam Timpf)

One spring day last year, I was doing what I always do: walking the family dog and noting on my ebird app what birds were around. This daily ritual exercises the dog and allows me to collect data on what birds and wildlife are inhabiting our farm...

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Mhairi’s bird of the day: Lesser scaup

Lesser scaup (Photo by Christian Artuso, CC BY-NC-ND-4.0)

Lesser scaup (Photo by Christian Artuso, CC BY-NC-ND-4.0)

Spotted on March 24, 2020 Lesser scaup Aythya affinis Aythya: from aithuia in ancient Greek, meaning “seabird” Affinis: “related to” in Latin Some birds are easy to identify at a glance, and some are fairly easy with a...

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An original poem: The Bluebirds Have Returned

Mountain bluebird (Photo by Leta Pezderic/ NCC staff)

Mountain bluebird (Photo by Leta Pezderic/ NCC staff)

Springtime is making its appearance across the country. Buds are starting to appear on bare branches, blades of grass turn green again and signs of critters abound. One feathered friend is particularly endearing, and a delight to welcome back: the...

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Tales of recovery: Eastern bluebird

Eastern bluebird (Photo by Cameron Curran/NCC staff)

Eastern bluebird (Photo by Cameron Curran/NCC staff)

There is perhaps no other bird that has endeared itself into our popular culture as the bluebird. It’s the helpful feathered friend in Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. Bluebird is in the lyrics of over 500 songs, performed by...

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Mhairi’s bird of the day: Wood duck

Wood duck (Photo by Frank Vassen/Wikimedia Commons)

Wood duck (Photo by Frank Vassen/Wikimedia Commons)

Spotted on March 23, 2020 Wood duck Aix sponsa Aix: “diving bird” in ancient Greek For the last 10 years, I have been recording my bird observations on my daily bike commute to work, before we started working from home in light of...

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Mhairi's bird of the day: Song sparrow

Song sparrow (Photo by Stuart Clarke)

Song sparrow (Photo by Stuart Clarke)

Spotted on March 20, 2020 Song sparrow Melospiza melodia Melo: “song,” in ancient Greek Melodia: “tune,” “voice” For the last 10 years, I have been recording my bird observations on my daily bike commute...

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Mhairi’s bird of the day: Brown-headed cowbird

Brown-headed cowbird (Photo by Stephen Davis)

Brown-headed cowbird (Photo by Stephen Davis)

Spotted on March 19, 2020 Brown-headed cowbird Molothrus ater molos: “struggle or “battle” in ancient Greek throsko: “to sire” or “to impregnate” in ancient Greek ater: “dull black” in...

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Tales of recovery: Trumpeter swan

Trumpeter swan family (Photo by Karol Dabbs)

Trumpeter swan family (Photo by Karol Dabbs)

Their call is unforgettable. When you hear it for the first time, “trumpeter” makes perfect sense. Even when silent, a trumpeter swan remains impressive. With a wingspan that can stretch to three metres, this white swan is the largest...

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