Research reveals new clues to hunting habits of elusive falcons

Study gives a rare glimpse into urban behaviour of birds of prey

Research reveals new clues to hunting habits of elusive falconsA popular Edmonton, Alberta landmark for local birdwatchers is teaching some valuable lessons about falcons – some of the most difficult raptors to observe. The Alberta Grain Terminal, a hulking brick structure in west Edmonton that’s been used to load grain rail cars for 96 years, is also a hotspot for pigeons and their predators,…

Bird bullies are just protecting their resources

Sometimes we see smaller birds apparently bullying larger birds of prey. Here is why

Bird bullies are just protecting their resourcesWhen birds bully others of their own or other species, there are no malevolent feelings involved as is often the case with humans. Bullying is defined as “using superior strength or influence to intimidate, typically by force.” In essence, this is exactly what happens in nature on a very regular basis. Protection or retention of…

Get those bird feeders up and enjoy the show

Here are some tips so the birds – and those who enjoy watching birds – get the most out of your feeders

Get those bird feeders up and enjoy the showThe last few days have been really exciting bird-wise as hawks, ducks, geese, loons and many small passerines (e.g. kinglets, sparrows and finches) are on the move. Winter is here whether we like it or not and those hardy northern birds have decided it’s time to migrate. North winds and cool nights have caused an…

Less winter snow could spell disaster for snowshoe hares

Changing climate in the Canadian North will have a ripple effect for many species, study shows

Less winter snow could spell disaster for snowshoe haresWarmer winters with less snowfall could wreak havoc on snowshoe hare populations in the Canadian North – and the fallout has consequences for other wildlife such as lynx and coyotes, according to a new study by University of Alberta ecologists. “Our study shows that snowshoe hare survival is significantly reduced in shallow snow, particularly when…

Iqaluit and beyond, through snow and ice

Everyone was on high alert, and while the crew sailed and fretted, we watched the parading wildlife

Iqaluit and beyond, through snow and iceI left you last time off the coast of Baffin Island, where we shared the shore with polar bears and followed the tracks of early explorers. Let’s see what happened next on my 20-day journey northward. Nunavut was separated from the Northwest Territories in 1999, as a result of the enactment of the Nunavut Act…

Cougars respond to roads based on traffic, topography, time of day

New U of A research outlines factors that lead cougars to select habitats near roadways in Alberta

Cougars respond to roads based on traffic, topography, time of dayA study by University of Alberta biologists identifies three key factors for how cougars select habitats near roadways: traffic, topography and daylight. “Cougars will avoid roads if there is human activity or while there is daylight,” explained Mark Boyce, professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and Alberta Conservation Association chair in Fisheries and Wildlife. “However, cougars will select habitat near…

Sailing ever northward in search of wildlife, culture and history

Venturing to rarely-visited sites along the Newfoundland and Labrador coast on the way north

Sailing ever northward in search of wildlife, culture and historyI get to travel to some great places as an expedition guide. A few months ago (pre-COVID-19), I travelled to parts of Canada I had never seen before and filled in gaps on my lifelong adventures in Canada’s remotest reaches. I thought I’d share some insights about Canada’s northern regions as we celebrate Canada’s 150-plus…

Survival of the fittest, from a very young age

Some orphaned babies are unlikely to survive if very young but others can fend for themselves at an early age

Survival of the fittest, from a very young ageI was working on a breeding bird survey recently and encountered a scene that was both moving and shocking. Huddled in the short grass on the shoulder of the road was a baby raccoon, only days old, snuggled up beside its mother. At first I thought the scene was a Disney moment – one of…

Crickets, grasshoppers, songs and heatwaves

Grasshoppers existed long before dinosaurs. And crickets are eaten, reviled and revered around the world

Crickets, grasshoppers, songs and heatwavesFolklore widely claims that you can tell the temperature simply by listening to how fast crickets ‘sing.’ Is that really true? Read on and I’ll share the truth by the end of this column. But first, let’s learn something about these little guys and their buddies. Crickets are related to grasshoppers and resemble them a…

Common sunscreen ingredients dangerous for freshwater ecosystems

Research by U of A biologists shows detrimental effects on tiny water fleas that are fundamental to freshwater food chains

Common sunscreen ingredients dangerous for freshwater ecosystemsThe active ingredients found in sunscreen have detrimental effects on freshwater ecosystems, according to new research by University of Alberta biologists. The results show that long-term exposure to ultraviolet (UV) filters – including avobenzone, oxybenzone, and octocrylene – is lethal for some organisms living in freshwater environments. One of the largest sources of UV-filter contamination…
1 2 3 4