BirdLife International continues its BirdLife Games with a new event: weightlifting. See if you can figure out which bird would take the gold! From the BirdLife Web site: Weightlifting is a sport in which participants attempt a maximum weight single lift of a barbell loaded with weights. The heaviest weight lift of all time is 266.0 kg (586.4 lb) lifted by Leonid Taranenko in Canberra, Australia. Birds are amazing athletes – Can you spot which of the bird species below can not only lift, but also fly with prey weighing up to 6.8 kg? A – Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus B – Indian Vulture Gyps indicus C – Blakiston’s Fish-owl Ketupa blakistoni D – Philippine Eagle Pithecophaga jefferyi To find… read more →
Larry Merculieff is an Aleut native who was raised on St. Paul, one of the Pribilof Islands southwest off the Alaskan mainland, where the Aleut seal hunters have lived for more than 10,000 years. In a recent interview, he provided a dramatic account of the rapid changes taking place in the Arctic, the front lines of this planet’s climate crisis. From the Flint Journal: The average Alaskan — native and nonnative alike — eats 420 pounds of wild food per year, [Merculieff] said, more than anywhere else in the U.S. “That means we have to maintain a profound and intimate relationship with our environment.” Like the climate scientists, what disturbs Merculieff most isn’t just the simple fact of change itself.… read more →
BirdLife International , which has been running its own BirdLife Games in tandem with the Olympics in China, has issued its next Bird Olympics challenge — the Marathon. Here’s the question: The marathon was one of the original Olympic events in 1896. The world record time for a human over the distance is 2 hours 4 minutes and 26 seconds, set by Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia. Birds are the ultimate long-distance atheletes; travelling thousands of miles each year during their migration period. Can you spot which of the bird species below travels an average of 64,000 km (40,000 miles) during their migration period? A – Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica B – Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica C – Northern Bald Ibis… read more →
Back in June Jim Dubois sent me a great series of photos from his backyard feeder, along with amusing — and strikingly apt I think — commentary. Enjoy! (Jim is a member of Nature Canada’s online community and has his own Web site of beautiful bird photography. Check it out.)Photo 1: As the inhabitants of Finchville slept peacefully, unaware of the impending disaster headed their way, Birdzilla relentlessly plodded on, determined to stomp the town off the face of the arbour. Photo 2: Suddenly, a mysterious stranger appeared, blocking the path of the monster. Photo 3: Heedless of his own safety, he calmly talked to the monster, reminding it of their common dinosaur heritage, and family traits they’d shared before… read more →
Energy giant EnCana Corporation, which has been charged with violating Canada’s Wildlife Act within the Suffield National Wildlife Area, has finally, at its seventh court appearance Tuesday, filed a plea: not guilty, of course. Suffield National Wildlife Area near Medicine Hat, Alberta, is home to nearly 100 plant and animal species at risk of extinction. Just two years after the Government of Canada established an NWA within the Canadian Forces Base at Suffield, a proposed drilling project by EnCana threatens one of the last remaining large intact pieces of pristine prairie grasslands in Canada. Nature Canada and 6 other environmental groups have formed a coalition to try to save Suffield from this unnecessary, and precedent-setting development. This fall we will… read more →
This sounds familiar… although independent scientific review is written into the ESA in the US and our SARA, there are constant attempts to skirt this critical element of our legislative frameworks to protect species… Click here to read the full article.
Misty Harris wrote a good article for Canwest News called “Too much Yoda, not enough Magpie, show tackles kids’ weak nature knowledge.” This article highlighted the imminent release of a series of Hinterland Who’s Who (Canadian Wildlife Federation and Environment Canada) vignettes on television to get kids outdoors. I am quoted in the article as saying that part of the problem for why kids these days know so little about nature is “a failure in parenting.” Of course much more was said, likely several pages of text, but only a few words were chosen to make her point. What my point really was is that it is our social and cultural values that are the root of this issue. We… read more →
Scientists in Australia have recruited elephant seals, fitted with sensors on their heads, to help collect data on ice formation, ocean currents and climate change. The seals can go where satellites and ship-based monitors cannot; under winter sea ice, where the seals dive to a depth of more than 500 meters (1,500 feet) on average and to a maximum depth of nearly 2 km (a mile). Eighty-five seals are involved, and with the data they’re sending back researchers are able to determine what the ocean currents are doing, how temperatures and salinity are changing, and how quickly or slowly ice is forming. Earth’s polar regions are the front lines of our planet’s climate crisis. It’s both where the effects of… read more →
This year, for the first time, I’m trying my hand at backyard vegetable gardening as a way to eat (very!) locally and teach my daughter about where food comes from. I decided to try out square foot gardening after reading about the high vegetable yields that can be achieved from a small amount of garden space. An added bonus: this intensive method has required little thinning and weeding and no chemical inputs. My square foot garden has 18 one foot by one foot squares growing everything from Thai basil to cherry tomatoes to peppers to beets. We’ve been eating fresh radishes, peas, beans, and lettuce for quite a few weeks now, and we are quite enjoying the garden. So is… read more →
BirdLife International is running its own “Bird Olympics” while the Games are going on in China. Every few days, they’re posting a new event — today is the high jump — and asking you to select which avian competitor has what it takes to win. Last week was the diving competition. The questions aren’t easy, but the answers provide fascinating information about birds from all over the world.