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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A significant investment in conservation

Abram Village, Prince Edward Island (Photo by NCC)

Abram Village, Prince Edward Island (Photo by NCC)

Canada is a land teeming with biodiversity, from coast to coast to coast. With 10 per cent of the world’s forests, 20 per cent of its fresh water and 24 per cent of its wetlands, Canadians have countless reasons to celebrate the land we call...

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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 common synonymous with St....

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Beak to beak: The importance of Bird and Biodiversity Areas and Migratory Bird Sanctuaries

Semipalmated plover, Johnson's Mills, NB (Photo by Mike Dembeck)

Semipalmated plover, Johnson's Mills, NB (Photo by Mike Dembeck)

Protecting land is critical to the survival of Canada’s natural world. With approximately 80,000 known plant and animal species, many of which are in decline, it is no wonder that the protection of wildlife habitat has never been more...

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Lights, camera, nature: An ode to Canadian landscapes in film

Nodwell, AB (Photo by R. Berdan)

Nodwell, AB (Photo by R. Berdan)

One of my favourite things about living in Canada is getting to experience different seasons. However, my personal favourite season may not be on everyone else's list…Oscars season! As an avid film junkie, one of the most exciting times of...

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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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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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Identifying bats by their distinctive voices

Big brown bat (Photo by Brock Fenton)

Big brown bat (Photo by Brock Fenton)

Having studied bats for more than a decade, I have been fortunate to be able talk to students in their classrooms while doing bat presentations, or to landowners while I trapped bats on their properties. Everyone has a bat story. Everyone loves...

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On a quest for the alluring swift fox

Swift fox cub and its mum (Photo by Catriona Matheson, Cochrane Ecological Institute)

Swift fox cub and its mum (Photo by Catriona Matheson, Cochrane Ecological Institute)

My unsuccessful search for the elusive swift fox has spanned nearly a decade.It was 2008, the winter semester of my first year at Lakeland College in Vermilion, Alberta, when I first learned about the history of swift foxes in Canada. The smallest...

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Not my story: What it means to be bison people

Views from Buffalo Treaty Signing Ceremony at Prince Albert National Park (Photo by Anthony Johnson)

Views from Buffalo Treaty Signing Ceremony at Prince Albert National Park (Photo by Anthony Johnson)

I really like telling stories about the crazy things that happen to me at work. I also like telling other people’s crazy stories that I haven’t even witnessed. Ask me about the adventures of my buddy Tyler. He gets up to some...

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