Why did the bird hit my window?

This American robin was an unfortunate victim of a window strike (Photo by Wendy Ho/NCC staff)

This American robin was an unfortunate victim of a window strike (Photo by Wendy Ho/NCC staff)

Last spring, when songbirds were migrating back to southern Canada from their wintering sites, I witnessed the victim of my first bird window strike — a juvenile American robin. My husband heard a “bonk” sound against the house....

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Bluebirds of frustration and happiness

A male western bluebird perches on a fence in southern British Columbia. Note the coloured leg bands, which allow observers to identify the bird. (Photo by Catherine Dale)

A male western bluebird perches on a fence in southern British Columbia. Note the coloured leg bands, which allow observers to identify the bird. (Photo by Catherine Dale)

I have a complicated relationship with western bluebirds. I know that sounds strange, because who doesn’t like bluebirds? Their vivid plumage and soft calls are acclaimed as harbingers of spring and symbols of happiness. As Henry David...

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Monarch migration reflections

One of the millions of monarchs I saw in the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Michoacán, Mexico (Photo by Alberto Becerra)

One of the millions of monarchs I saw in the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Michoacán, Mexico (Photo by Alberto Becerra)

I am an immigrant to this country, as are most people across this diverse continent with such a complex history. In fact, all who are not indigenous to this land are immigrants. When I was just a toddler, my family and I immigrated to Canada from...

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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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Using migration patterns to understand bird population declines

A tree swallow sits on a barbed wire fence (Photo by Lisha Berzins)

A tree swallow sits on a barbed wire fence (Photo by Lisha Berzins)

I don’t know about you, but by this time of the year I am ready for winter to be over. I think birds feel the same way. As soon as the sun comes out of hiding and the temperature inches above freezing after a dreary Ontario winter, the...

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Small but mighty — Migrating green darner dragonflies

Common green darner (Photo by Nancy Norman, CC BY-NC 4.0)

Common green darner (Photo by Nancy Norman, CC BY-NC 4.0)

In February when I wrote this blog, I was thinking about my “snowbird” colleagues taking vacations to escape the cold, Canadian winter. Little did I know that right around that time, a species of dragonfly was beginning to migrate...

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Monarch migration

Monarch (Photo by NCC)

Monarch (Photo by NCC)

Fall is fast approaching. As the days grow shorter and temperatures drop, it’s time for monarchs to migrate south for the winter. These iconic bright-orange butterflies will soon be replaced by pumpkins and turning leaves. Monarchs spend...

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