Canada Jay is the best choice to be our national bird

The Jay lives and breeds from coast to coast to coast

Canada Jay is the best choice to be our national birdMy friend and colleague Dr. David Bird, formerly of McGill University, has been driving a movement to have a national bird declared for Canada. Although many thought it was a done deal already and we had affirmed the Canada Jay as our national bird, Canada has not yet done so. Starting in 2016, the community…

What to do when you see wildlife on urban trails

Four tips on making wildlife encounters of every description safe and enjoyable for all parties

What to do when you see wildlife on urban trailsIt seems one can’t swing a cat without hitting a coyote, a jackrabbit, a Canada goose, or a bear – and not just in the far-flung wilderness. Wildlife encounters are now common in cities, with urban populations of coyotes, skunks and Canada geese increasing throughout North America. Here are four tips on making wildlife encounters…

There’s room for everyone in nature – if we’re respectful

The only time we need to stand up is when nature is negatively impacted by someone’s actions

There’s room for everyone in nature – if we’re respectfulI sometimes wonder how people with disparate desires share a common resource while respecting other people’s differing ideals and goals. I’m a dedicated birdwatcher, as I think you might have figured out by now. Years ago, I went to Rondeau Provincial Park in Ontario to look for a very rare bird – a sage thrasher…

When is the right time to mow hay fields to protect birds?

Knowing birds' behaviour and nesting habits allows nesting and mowing to coexist

When is the right time to mow hay fields to protect birds?Every year about his time I feel sadness for the many birds and small mammals killed by haying. I know there are many and varied reasons why fields are cut, and I respect that, so please don’t think I am criticizing farmers. Mowing hay fields is a necessary and important part of agriculture. We forget…

Can beavers catch chronic wasting disease?

New research suggests beavers may be susceptible to the fatal illness – increasing spread between species

Can beavers catch chronic wasting disease?Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is an infectious disease that affects the central nervous systems of animals, typically affecting cervids such as deer, elk and moose. “CWD is always fatal. There’s no cure; there are no treatments,” says Debbie McKenzie, a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. CWD is increasing its geographic range as well…

My neighbour the osprey in all its grandeur

These magnificent birds often nest in odd places, such as the light standards and hydroelectric towers

My neighbour the osprey in all its grandeurThe waterfront of Port Perry, Ont., is hosting new neighbours. Two osprey have taken up residence right in the middle of town on the waterfront. These magnificent birds inspire awe but often nest in odd places, such as the light standards and hydroelectric towers. A pair has nested for years at the ball fields at…

Forestry grad harvests his passion for the outdoors into a career

Fergus McSween is applying his new knowledge of forests, plants and animals to help protect them

Forestry grad harvests his passion for the outdoors into a careerFergus McSween loves the outdoors. Growing up in Calgary, he spent much of his youth outside the city, roaming Alberta’s forests as a Scout, on school outdoor education trips, or camping with friends and family. “Nature is so peaceful and tranquil. It’s a place where I can be myself, turn my brain off and just…

Does the internet make us better naturalists?

While the amount of information available is astounding, it is usually hard to find the answers

Does the internet make us better naturalists?When I was a kid, we didn’t have cellphones, the internet or even computers. Facebook, TikTok, Tumblr, YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram or myriad other social media platforms didn’t exist. Add to that the many apps that are available to help us learn bird songs or identify everything from plants, mammals and insects to mushrooms, and we…

New approach using species traits could be critical for conservation efforts

Examining characteristics could help scientists better predict how climate change will affect all life

New approach using species traits could be critical for conservation effortsIt’s not enough to understand what the effects of climate change are. Society needs ways to get ahead of these changes, to predict them before they actually happen. And when it comes to conservation, the approach scientists use to study species in the wild could be critical to these predictions, according to a recent research…

Uptick in avian flu cases poses little threat to humans

Risk of transmission to people and pets is very low unless you're regularly in contact with birds

Uptick in avian flu cases poses little threat to humansIf the recent increase in avian influenza cases has you concerned, you likely have nothing to worry about and don’t need to take any added measures, according to a University of Alberta expert on influenza in birds. As with human flu, there are a variety of strains of avian flu, explains Katharine Magor, a professor…
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