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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Love is in the air, and in the waters too

Mating arctic grayling (Photo by Charles Summers Jr.)

Mating arctic grayling (Photo by Charles Summers Jr.)

Did you know the amorous aura of Canada’s most romantic cities can be detected in nearby bodies of water? From coast to coast, and the rivers and lakes in between, there is no shortage of passion…among fishes. Coastal...

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This Groundhog Day, it's all relatives

Groundhog (Photo by Cephas/Wikimedia Commons)

Groundhog (Photo by Cephas/Wikimedia Commons)

Tomorrow marks Groundhog Day, a North American tradition dating back to 1888. The groundhog, also called the woodchuck, is the largest member of the squirrel family and one of four marmot species that live in Canada. Rather than just focusing on...

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Calling in the corps — the Canadian Conservation Corps

CCC participants cutting invasive phragmites stems (Photo by NCC)

CCC participants cutting invasive phragmites stems (Photo by NCC)

They say that many hands make light work. Well, I don’t know if the hard-working young people who hauled brush, cut phragmites stems or collected buckets of acorns would tell you that the work was “light” but I can certainly say...

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How collaboration kept an invasive beetle at bay

Asian longhorned beetle with wing exposed under elytron (wing casing) (Photo by Pudding4brains, Wikimedia Commons)

Asian longhorned beetle with wing exposed under elytron (wing casing) (Photo by Pudding4brains, Wikimedia Commons)

What is black with white spots and shiny all over? It’s the invasive Asian longhorned beetle (ALB)! This beetle is well known for its striking appearance, piercing eyes and antennae that extend beyond the rear of its body. It has no natural...

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The wonder of winter wetlands

Brighton Wetland from a nearby field in early fall. Note that the cattails in the distance are already turning brown and falling down. (Photo by NCC)

Brighton Wetland from a nearby field in early fall. Note that the cattails in the distance are already turning brown and falling down. (Photo by NCC)

Two summers ago I spent a lot of time trekking through beautiful wetlands, both while working at NCC and for leisure. I loved every moment of my time there, whether I was wading out into knee-deep water to hand pull invasive European frog-bit,...

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Stopping habitat loss is the key to saving Canada’s endangered species

Evening grosbeak (Photo by Anna Tchoulik)

Evening grosbeak (Photo by Anna Tchoulik)

Canada has been losing and saving species for a long time. Since European settlement, over 100 species have been lost here. These include plants and animals that are extinct and extirpated and species that are considered historic (no one has seen...

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Twelve spooky facts about Canadian bats

Townsend's big-eared bat (Photo by Brock Fenton)

Townsend's big-eared bat (Photo by Brock Fenton)

There are 18 known bat species in Canada. Although they are subjected to a spooky stigma around Halloween, they’re nothing to be afraid of. Here are 12 things you didn’t know about these not-so-scary mammals: 1. The snooze...

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Going batty in BC

Early morning scene of a small town in Transylvania, Romania, while volunteering with Operation Wallacea, Romania chapter. (Photo by Katie Bell)

Early morning scene of a small town in Transylvania, Romania, while volunteering with Operation Wallacea, Romania chapter. (Photo by Katie Bell)

The moon is full and bright, with fog settled in the valley, making for an eerie view. It is early morning, just before sunrise. I am with a group of volunteers and one biologist. We are on our way back to camp after a two-hour walk around a small...

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Coasting along Canada’s habitats

Musquash Estuary, NB (Photo by NCC)

Musquash Estuary, NB (Photo by NCC)

Canada is a nation bordered by three oceans: Pacific, Arctic and Atlantic. In many ways, the habitats, local culture and economies are shaped by them. Often when those of us who don’t live near the shoreline think of oceans, we picture a...

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