Super cool species to know this Halloween

Vampire finch (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Vampire finch (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

The leaves have changed, the air has cooled and the pumpkins have been carved. You know what that means — it’s Halloween! This spooky custom has always been my favourite. Growing up, I always took the opportunity to dress up as the...

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The ants that herd aphids

Oleander aphids (Photo by cory_silas_sheffield, CC BY-NC 4.0)

Oleander aphids (Photo by cory_silas_sheffield, CC BY-NC 4.0)

On July 21, 2021, I was carrying out annual conservation monitoring at the Old Man on His Back Prairie and Heritage Conservation Area (OMB), when I came across an unusual sight: much of the silver sagebrush that covers the property was covered...

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Unlikely animal pairings: Part two

Brown-headed cowbird (Photo by David Dodd CC BY-NC)

Brown-headed cowbird (Photo by David Dodd CC BY-NC)

This is part two of a two-part series on unlikely animal pairings. Check out part one, the hunting partnership between an American badger and a coyote, here. Another unlikely animal partnership features a bird that is known to take advantage of...

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Paw in claw: Friendships in the wild

A sea anemone hitching a ride on a hermit crab. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

A sea anemone hitching a ride on a hermit crab. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Friendships are one of the most organic things that can happen between humans. An often magical thing, these bonds are strong and can last a lifetime. While these human connections are no doubt valuable, for animals, “friendships,”...

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My fuzzy muse

Virgin tiger moth (Photo by Nolie Schneider – CC 4.0 via iNaturalist)

Virgin tiger moth (Photo by Nolie Schneider – CC 4.0 via iNaturalist)

I used to think moths were ugly. Compared to their colourful, beloved cousins — butterflies — moths are hardly ever prized to win the blue ribbon at the beauty pageant. Often monotone, muted and furry — the latter of which makes...

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Keep your coffee mug covered: How LDD put a lid on my camping trip

A caterpillar crawling on my pants (Photo by Jensen Edwards/NCC staff)

A caterpillar crawling on my pants (Photo by Jensen Edwards/NCC staff)

As a west-coaster, I’ve come to relish the soothing splats of raindrops on my tent — so long as, of course, I am dry and warm inside. That sound, that damp smell that steams up from rainforest ferns, they awaken in me memories of...

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What's up with the very hungry caterpillars?

Each LDD caterpillar can eat one square metre of leaves in one season (Photo by Paul Prior, CC BY 4.0)

Each LDD caterpillar can eat one square metre of leaves in one season (Photo by Paul Prior, CC BY 4.0)

If you have young children in your life, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by the late and celebrated children’s author Eric Carle, is probably a familiar read and has been a fan favourite since 1969. This spring and summer though, there is...

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The truth about ticks

Adult deer tick (Photo by Scott Bauer/Wikimedia Commons)

Adult deer tick (Photo by Scott Bauer/Wikimedia Commons)

Ticks seem to be everywhere these days. They’re on the news, on your social media feed and maybe even on your skin. People, especially those in southern Canada, are dealing with blacklegged ticks (also called deer ticks) with increasing...

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Ick, it's a tick! Tips for tick safety

Adult deer tick (Photo by Scott Bauer/Wikimedia Commons)

Adult deer tick (Photo by Scott Bauer/Wikimedia Commons)

At the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), field work is an integral part of many staffers' routine, be it leading volunteer events or conducting various conservation activities. When it comes to spending time outdoors, it is important to be...

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5 ways insects make our world a better place

Dragonfly at Carden Alvar, ON (Photo by NCC)

Dragonfly at Carden Alvar, ON (Photo by NCC)

There are an estimated 10 quintillion individual insects on Earth. That’s 19 zeroes after the one! Insects make up 75 per cent of all animals. Despite their ubiquity, they have a PR problem. People often find them gross, scary or even...

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