Terminarch: Making music out of birdsong

Sage thrasher (Photo by Dick Cannings)

Sage thrasher (Photo by Dick Cannings)

One of the best things about composing music for the concert hall is that inspiration can come from just about anywhere. My latest work, Terminarch, is a 10-minute piece for a quartet of percussionists based on the birdsong of 12 endangered...

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Rooting myself in restoration

All smiles after a full day in the field at the Napanee Plain Alvar Nature Reserve, cutting back sumac and prickly ash to improve the habitat quality for eastern loggerhead shrike. (Photo by Samantha Ceci)

All smiles after a full day in the field at the Napanee Plain Alvar Nature Reserve, cutting back sumac and prickly ash to improve the habitat quality for eastern loggerhead shrike. (Photo by Samantha Ceci)

My career in the field of ecosystem restoration has begun to sprout, thanks to the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). It all began with an email last year, where I inquired about volunteering for NCC. I was interested in shifting gears in my...

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Grasslands: Climate change’s unsuspecting heroes

Napanee Plain Alvar Nature Reserve, ON (Photo by Vincent Luk & Evermaven)

Napanee Plain Alvar Nature Reserve, ON (Photo by Vincent Luk & Evermaven)

Carbon is the backbone of life on Earth. Carbon makes up everything we do, everything we eat, and it even makes us up. Carbon is stored in different reservoirs, which broadly include land, water and the atmosphere. Carbon cycles from one reservoir...

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Where the river stops: Why habitat connectivity is critical for healthy fish populations across Canada

Spawning Chinook salmon (Photo by Fish On in the Yukon)

Spawning Chinook salmon (Photo by Fish On in the Yukon)

Before you read any further, stop and think about a fish migrating up a river. Chances are that fish is a salmon and that river is in BC. There’s good reason that salmon in BC have come to symbolize fish migration. The return of millions of...

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Restore it and they will come

Henslow's sparrow (Photo by Adam Timpf)

Henslow's sparrow (Photo by Adam Timpf)

One spring day last year, I was doing what I always do: walking the family dog and noting on my ebird app what birds were around. This daily ritual exercises the dog and allows me to collect data on what birds and wildlife are inhabiting our farm...

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Field work equals teamwork

Stewardship tasks, like removing invasive species, are a lot easier when you work together. (Photo by NCC)

Stewardship tasks, like removing invasive species, are a lot easier when you work together. (Photo by NCC)

Stewardship staff for the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) spend many hours completing field work. When I say field work, I mean just that: work that takes place outside in nature, whether it be a field, marsh, forest or a stream. In other...

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Smile for the camera

Deer caught on trail cam (Photo by NCC)

Deer caught on trail cam (Photo by NCC)

We use a lot of intricate technology at the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). When I’m out surveying an ecosystem in eastern Ontario, radio waves are bouncing between satellites in the sky and a receiver in my phone, to precisely locate...

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High-rise loon watching

Mark Stabb on the main deck of the CN Tower (Photo by © Mark Trusz)

Mark Stabb on the main deck of the CN Tower (Photo by © Mark Trusz)

Making the most of the COVID-19 lockdown has meant finally doing some of those “if I only had the time” tasks. Photo sorting and scanning is one of those things for me. It also can mean trying things you never thought you would ever...

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Mhairi’s bird of the day: Lesser scaup

Lesser scaup (Photo by Christian Artuso, CC BY-NC-ND-4.0)

Lesser scaup (Photo by Christian Artuso, CC BY-NC-ND-4.0)

Spotted on March 24, 2020 Lesser scaup Aythya affinis Aythya: from aithuia in ancient Greek, meaning “seabird” Affinis: “related to” in Latin Some birds are easy to identify at a glance, and some are fairly easy with a...

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Mhairi’s bird of the day: Wood duck

Wood duck (Photo by Frank Vassen/Wikimedia Commons)

Wood duck (Photo by Frank Vassen/Wikimedia Commons)

Spotted on March 23, 2020 Wood duck Aix sponsa Aix: “diving bird” in ancient Greek For the last 10 years, I have been recording my bird observations on my daily bike commute to work, before we started working from home in light of...

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