A case of mistaken identity: Goldenrod and ragweed

Monarch butterfly on Canada goldenrod (Photo by Peter Jessen, CC BY-NC 4.0)

Monarch butterfly on Canada goldenrod (Photo by Peter Jessen, CC BY-NC 4.0)

I count myself fortunate when the change of seasons doesn’t bring about a runny nose, itchy eyes, headache and coughing, among other symptoms brought about by pollen (a fine powder produced by plants for sexual reproduction). Some pollen is...

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Wild about chickens

Lacy Mae and Matilda (Photo by LM Neilson/NCC staff)

Lacy Mae and Matilda (Photo by LM Neilson/NCC staff)

Today it starts at 5:36 a.m. The rusty cackle slides in through my open window with the early morning light. I pause for a brief second to make sure I really heard the sound before opening my eyes and swinging my legs over the edge of the bed. The...

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Nature-based solutions: Benefits for people and the planet

Alpine Lake on Darkwoods, BC (Photo by Bruce Kirkby)

Alpine Lake on Darkwoods, BC (Photo by Bruce Kirkby)

There is no longer any question, scientifically speaking, that the effects of climate change are increasing both the rate and extent of biodiversity loss, not just in Canada, but globally. When combined with human impacts, such as land conversion...

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Hooray for hummingbirds

An Anna's hummingbird on one of her nests. (Photo by Eric Pittman)

An Anna's hummingbird on one of her nests. (Photo by Eric Pittman)

You hear a buzz and see a streak of green, red or purple, and then you realize that a hummingbird just flew by! Hummingbirds are fascinating creatures that have captured our attention for as long as humans have co-existed with them. They are...

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Find the Birds – How a mobile game can aid conservation

Vermillion flycatchers in the game (Graphic courtesy of Adam Dhalla)

Vermillion flycatchers in the game (Graphic courtesy of Adam Dhalla)

It is not a stretch to say that our planet is in dire need of more conservationists, and environmentally minded people in general. Birds and birdwatching are gateways to introducing conservation and science to a new generation. Growing up in...

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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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This St. Patrick's Day, defy convention and celebrate snakes

Queen snake (Photo by Joe Crowley)

Queen snake (Photo by Joe Crowley)

For many of us, Saint Patrick is known as the protector of the rolling hills of Ireland. Every year, people around the world join in celebrating his legendary story. The green beer, shamrocks and other verdant regalia synonymous with St....

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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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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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Salmon run season: Witnessing the remarkable resilience of chum

Bear with salmon (Photo by Bobushphoto via Getty Images Signature/Canva)

Bear with salmon (Photo by Bobushphoto via Getty Images Signature/Canva)

As the wind strips the trees of their leaves, and mushrooms surface through the rain-soaked ground, autumn takes hold along the Pacific Northwest of Canada. The changing season brings one of the most spectacular cycles of nature in the world....

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