Canada's splendid sparrow crew

Dark-eyed junco (Photo by Bill Hubick)

Dark-eyed junco (Photo by Bill Hubick)

Sparrows often don’t get enough credit. Many don’t have flashy plumage like jays, orioles or cardinals, or melodic songs like thrushes or meadowlarks; however, sparrow species are often fairly distinct (once you get to know them) and...

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Something’s fishy: While you were sleeping

Atlantic whitefish (Photo by Bob Semple)

Atlantic whitefish (Photo by Bob Semple)

There are few things I love more than a good power nap. As an avid runner, I put my body through a lot, and rest is an important part of the training process. But sleep is essential for all humans, regardless of how many kilometres we are...

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Do you get enough Vitamin N?

Father and child by the lake (Photo by Laubenstein Karen, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Wikimedia Commons)

Father and child by the lake (Photo by Laubenstein Karen, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Wikimedia Commons)

You find yourself breathing more deeply, taking in the sharp scent of pine and the sweet mustiness of leaves returning to dust on the forest floor beneath your feet. For a moment, the quiet is broken only by birdsong — the notes that...

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Lessons in winter wildlife photography

Male cardinal (Photo by Lorne)

Male cardinal (Photo by Lorne)

Distant memories of my first film camera come to mind when I think about photography. Its silver colour and round dials looked impressive, everything was manual, all decisions were mine and feedback was non-existent, until the film was processed....

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Birding for beginners

Child with binoculars (Public Domain)

Child with binoculars (Public Domain)

I wouldn’t consider myself a birder, but I am one of the many people who has been more tuned into the nature around me since the pandemic started. Working from home and sticking to walks around my neighbourhood has made me more aware of my...

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Let's talk about bulls this Lunar New Year

Muskox (Photo by camerondeckert, CC BY-NC 4.0)

Muskox (Photo by camerondeckert, CC BY-NC 4.0)

Lunar New Year is celebrated every year and is marked by an animal zodiac on a repeating 12-year cycle. This year marks the year of the ox. According to Chinese mythology, the ox was the second animal to cross the finish line in a great race held...

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Bird diversity is linked to human happiness

Cardinal on the fence (Photo by Nathan Anderson from Unsplash)

Cardinal on the fence (Photo by Nathan Anderson from Unsplash)

How to protect avian biodiversity and our well-being Are the early morning songs of black-capped chickadees a welcome sound? Does watching a flurry of happy finches and jays feasting on berries bring you joy? If you answered yes, then it may...

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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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A McKenzie Towne Almanac

Inverness Pond, McKenzie Towne (Christine Beevis Trickett/NCC staff)

Inverness Pond, McKenzie Towne (Christine Beevis Trickett/NCC staff)

The slowing down over the past 10–11 months with the COVID-19 pandemic and its related restrictions has meant more time to be in one place and appreciate the nature around me. While where I live — McKenzie Towne, in southern Calgary...

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How tracking animals leaves a different imprint on winter

Tracks of a coyote walking - note the straight track pattern. (Photo by NCC)

Tracks of a coyote walking - note the straight track pattern. (Photo by NCC)

It isn’t a secret that most city dwellers have complicated relationships with winter (myself included). When the weather takes a turn for the worse, it seems to have a domino effect on urban centres, increasing traffic and slowing everything...

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