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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Blanding’s turtle: A lesson about life in the slow lane

Blanding's turtle at Emma Young Property, Frontenac Arch, ON (Photo by Mike Dembeck)

Blanding's turtle at Emma Young Property, Frontenac Arch, ON (Photo by Mike Dembeck)

I think many of us need a reminder to slow down. With a ground speed maxing out at only a few kilometres per hour, the only option for a Blanding’s turtle is slow. Although it takes them a long time to travel throughout their extensive home...

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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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Clowns of the sea: the Atlantic puffin

Atlantic puffins (Photo by Laurel Bernard/NCC staff)

Atlantic puffins (Photo by Laurel Bernard/NCC staff)

The summer of 1999 was a unique one for me. I spent three months living on a small 23-acre (9.5 hectare) island 16 kilometres away from the nearest land. Machias Seal Island in New Brunswick was home to two full-time lighthouse keepers, three...

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The wolverine went over the esker

Wolverine going up the esker as the red fox trails behind (Photo by Claire Elliott)

Wolverine going up the esker as the red fox trails behind (Photo by Claire Elliott)

By Wendy Ho, as told by Claire Elliott It’s not every day that you see a wolverine. These elusive predators have vast home ranges (50–400 square kilometres for males and 230–1,580 square kilometres for females). So, when I not...

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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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Sharing a quiet forest with a Canada lynx

Canada lynx (Photo by Mike Dembeck)

Canada lynx (Photo by Mike Dembeck)

Sitting for hours inside a cramped, cold blind waiting for wildlife doesn't sound exciting — but it is. Being able to observe animals in their natural surroundings isn't just a thrill, it's a passion, and one that doesn't come easy and is...

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The most majestic seagull

Bald eagle (Photo by Brittany Foster)

Bald eagle (Photo by Brittany Foster)

As a child, I split my time between a forested acreage and an old farmhouse in Nova Scotia surrounded by lush fields and cow pastures. From coyotes meandering up the driveway and bats roosting in the garage, to raccoons raiding the compost and...

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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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The upside of the downside

Families riding along the Bow Valley Parkway (Photo by Gayle Roodman/NCC staff)

Families riding along the Bow Valley Parkway (Photo by Gayle Roodman/NCC staff)

I have a confession: I really dislike like the word “staycation.” There’s something about this particular portmanteau that makes me shudder a wee bit every time I hear someone say it. And with COVID-19 wreaking havoc on...

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