Are we Earth’s protectors if we carelessly wipe out species?

The well-being of the animals and the benefits they provide us rarely factored in

Are we Earth’s protectors if we carelessly wipe out species?Typically I note articles that cross my desk that report negative stories about nature. Historically, they didn’t emerge that frequently and nature, in general, was doing pretty well, despite some ongoing issues with overhunting, predator control, urbanization, pesticides and poaching. I read and keep these stories because sometimes lessons can be learned by studying other…

Seasons come and go, but where did they get their names?

Plants "spring" forth and leaves "fall" but what about the other two seasons?

Seasons come and go, but where did they get their names?Last fall when I looked out my door, most of the leaves had fallen, the nights were very chilly and there truly was frost on the pumpkins. Now, as the end of the winter season approaches, I thought again about the seasons and how they got their names. I simplistically thought I could come up…

Is the majestic bald eagle making a comeback?

In the 70s, bald eagles, like many raptors, were devastated due to exposure to pesticides

Is the majestic bald eagle making a comeback?The majestic bald eagle never fails to arouse awe in observers fortunate enough to spot it. In the 19th and 20th centuries, it variously was considered common to rare in North America, depending primarily on where you lived. They historically nested in 45 of the 48 contiguous United States but have declined dramatically since. One…

Animal indicators abound in the wild if you can follow the clues

There are hundreds of clues all around us. Sights, smells, holes in trees, nests, songs and much more

Animal indicators abound in the wild if you can follow the cluesI’d like to introduce you to the signs that wild things leave when they share our landscape. We already know birds sing and come to bird feeders, and that animals leave tracks. But what other clues do they leave to tell us they were here? There are hundreds of ways we can see what shares…

Kid-friendly, nature-themed activities to do during COVID-19

While outside, stop a moment and watch. You might see a rabbit hop by or birds searching for a snack

Kid-friendly, nature-themed activities to do during COVID-19I know how tough it is to amuse kids when times are normal, but during this COVID-19 crisis, I can appreciate that it’s much harder. I raised three wonderful children and two of them are now raising children of their own. So I thought I’d share some ideas on how to engage your kids and…

Why birds practise their mating songs in winter

In winter a young bird will practice singing as it tries to mimic its elders

As winter settles in and the cold enshrouds our northern landscape, we expect the woods to be pretty quiet, with only the rustling of windblown leaves and the occasional chirp of a chickadee or the scolding of a red squirrel. But what’s that? Is that bird singing its spring song when it’s so cold outside?…

Is the polar bear’s life becoming even more perilous?

Life's tough for polar bears: climate is extreme, ice varies, food's scattered. Yet they persist

Is the polar bear’s life becoming even more perilous?I recently had several encounters with polar bears in the Canadian Arctic at Coningham Bay on Prince of Wales Island, along the Nunavut coast. We had been advised that bears sometimes frequented this interesting area because Beluga whales often came here to moult and feed, and they are a plentiful and reliable source of food…

How animals use mimicry to survive and thrive

Mimicry is usually designed to protect prey from predators. But some also use the tactic to fool prey

How animals use mimicry to survive and thriveWhat you see may not be what you get when it comes to the natural world. Many animals use mimicry to fool predators and prey into thinking they’re something else, with insects putting on the best show in this regard. Tens of thousands of species of insects aren’t what they seem at first glance. But…

Raptors on the move are a sight to behold

Food and weather are driving migration forces. The best places to look are along coastal areas

Raptors on the move are a sight to beholdNo, this article on raptors isn’t about basketball – it’s about birds. Raptors – including hawks, eagles, falcons, harriers, owls and vultures – undertake prolonged and extensive migrations over a protracted period. What drives them? Where do they go? Let’s talk about owls first. Most owls are actually quite sedentary and only move short distances…