Who doesn’t want to eat a meadow vole?

Meadow Vole poop is an essential source of nutrients for grasses and other plants where they forage

Who doesn’t want to eat a meadow vole?It’s easy to admire big animals, but without tiny critters nothing can survive. From the soil insects, micro-organisms and small mammals that become food for predators up through the food chain, everything relies on something smaller to survive. One of the most overlooked mammals is the Meadow Vole. It’s a small mouse-like animal that lives…

Why do birds really migrate in the fall?

It isn't so much to escape the cold but to find enough food to survive

Why do birds really migrate in the fall?I get both excited and saddened at this time of year. In the spring, I await the return of the birds and then all summer long I enjoy their song, but in the fall I know they will soon be migrating south. The young have fledged and the adult birds have put on enough weight…

How to be eco-friendly when mowing your lawn

Helping insects survive is more valuable than practically anything else we do to help nature

How to be eco-friendly when mowing your lawnI recently wrote about haying and the delicate balance between harvesting a crop and protecting nesting birds. Today, I would like to offer some advice to help us protect the beauty and functionality of our properties while simultaneously protecting wildlife. Why should we care? Wildlife is more than just an attractive feature of the landscape;…

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…
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