Billions of birds are on the move, making the annual migration from Canada to warmer climes in the United States, the Caribbean, Central and South America. Some stay — the boreal chickadee makes do, exploiting hidden food sources like insects and spiders and their eggs, hiding inside the bark of trees — but for many birds the risks of staying in Canada and braving the cold and lack of food are too great. About 40% of the world’s bird species are considered migratory. In North America about 75% of bird species migrate, but in Canada alone roughly 90% of bird species take off for the winter. Not all migrants are long-distance; in fact, many ducks (like the Harlequin Duck) and… read more →
It’s Halloween, so we thought that these two photos from Nature Canada’s online community were perfect. This first is from Barbara Culinas, Toronto, Ontario: From Barbara’s email: “this is a funny ladybug I spotted last winter on the stairs of a building in downtown Toronto…I thought that it was beautiful…she made me smile!” The next one is from Beatrice Laporte, Merrickville, Ontario Beatrice wrote: This photo of a Halloween Pennant Dragonfly was taken at Charleston Lake Provincial Park during a camping trip there in August 2008. Along the Westside trail just before the floating bridge we came across beautiful dragonflies sitting in the sun, and I felt lucky to be able to capture this shot.
Canadians elected Prime Minister Stephen Harper to a second minority government on October 14. Now, as the Prime Minister sets his agenda for the future, help ensure that nature conservation is not forgotten! Send a letter urging the Prime Minister to make the following actions a top priority of his Government: Recognize that protected areas are key to curbing carbon emissions, and commit to completing Canada’s network of national wildlife areas, national parks, national marine protected areas and migratory bird sanctuaries. Work with the provinces to achieve a country-wide goal of protecting a minimum of 50 percent of Canada’s boreal forest. Ensure that the Arctic environment (including habitat for terrestrial and marine wildlife and migratory birds) is protected from the… read more →
EnCana’s approach to caring for the environment in Suffield National Wildlife Area apparently does not include recognizing the Base Commander as the ultimate authority for environmental protection in the NWA — according to testimony by the Government of Canada last week. (The wildlife area is located within a Canadian Forces Base near Medicine Hat, Alberta. The base has been active in its management since 1971, when it was zoned “out of bounds” to all military training and defence research activities.) At the same time, EnCana claims that their relationship with the Base is improving, a claim that is contradicted by Department of National Defence. The DND spokesperson, it an opening statement at the hearings, declared in a slide: “Proponent has… read more →
Two weekends ago, 17 participants of all ages gathered in Ottawa to put their collective brain power to identifying and addressing common issues facing young naturalist clubs in Canada, in particular the question of how to get more youth involved in nature. Seven youth and eleven adult leaders/mentors came from six provinces to share their perspectives and wisdom, thanks to a grant from the Mountain Equipment Co-op. Award-winning environmental educator Lisa Glithero opened the workshop with an inspiring talk on developing leadership skills and qualities in youth through experiences in nature. The group spent the next two days exploring solutions and strategies to deal with common issues. Across Canada, it is apparent that many clubs and organizations such as the… read more →
The hearings on EnCana’s proposal to drill in the Suffield NWA continue… Saturday: The panel held an informal session in Calgary, where it heard from many individuals interested in protecting the NWA, including Sandra Foss and Glen Semenchuck of Federation of Alberta Naturalists. They told the panel that an NWA is supposed to have more protection than a National Park. Mrs. Kettenbach, a local farmer, shared her concern for the integrity of native prairie, based on her experience on the land. Doug Hutton of This Living World Nature Trust made reference to the oil development threats to the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge before making the simple point that we need to have protected areas and we should just stay out… read more →
On Monday past, the forestry giant J.D. Irving pleaded guilty to a violation of the Migratory Bird Convention Act for the destruction of several Great Blue Heron nests in the summer of 2006. The heronry was located in a forest near Cambridge Narrows, about 80 kilometres north of Saint John, where the company was building a logging road. Provincial Court Judge Patricia Cumming fined the company $10,000 and ordered it to make a $50,000 contribution to Bird Studies Canada (BSC) for bird research and conservation. Becky Whitham of BSC has indicated that this amount will be put toward the Maritime Breeding Bird Atlas, a massive, volunteer-driven, five year project led by BSC, along with many partners to document and map… read more →
A hearing begins today in a New Brunswick courtroom to address charges against Maritime conglomerate J.D. Irving Limited after several Great Blue Heron nests were destroyed in 2006. Here’s a little background on the case: On November 9, 2006, J.D. Irving Limited and an employee were charged with unlawfully destroying nests of Great Blue Herons, contrary to a regulation under the Migratory Birds Convention Act. In response to this charge the defendants pleaded not guilty. Prior to the start of the trial, Irving challenged the constitutionality of the Act and the regulation, arguing that they go beyond federal powers and violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Crown countered that the Act and regulation are a valid exercise… read more →
This is the second week the Joint Review Panel has been hearing testimony on EnCana’s proposal to drill 1,275 shallow gas wells and build over 200 km of pipelines in CFB Suffield NWA. Cross examination of EnCana’s panel of experts took longer than expected and only late this afternoon did our environmental coalition’s panel begin their presentations. But it was certainly worth the wait! One by one, our seven experts showed that EnCana has no reliable data to support its proposal. Among many things, our experts showed today: – That EnCana can recover the gas without new wells. – That the ecosystem and wildlife of the NWA is worth more than the gas under it. – That the NWA has… read more →
An update to Chris’ blog entry from last month: On Friday, David Suzuki hosted the CBC program The Current. Dr. Suzuki interviewed Mike Rands, the CEO of BirdLife International, about the declines of bird species around the world that are highlighted in State of the World’s Birds. You can listen to this really interesting interview (as well as lots of other interesting conservation tidbits from the show) here (it’s part three of the program).