Last weekend my wife and I decided to try out a baby backpack that a friend lent us, so we made the short drive into Quebec to visit Gatineau Park, one of the real treats of living in the Capital Region. Gatineau Park — which, at 70 years old this year, is one year older than Nature Canada — is a 361-square kilometre jewel of a park located where the Canadian Shield and the Saint Lawrence lowlands meet. Those who are familiar with the park’s history know that it took pressure from nature lovers and conservationists to cajole the government of the day to establish the park (thank you to the citizens of 30’s Canada who raised their voice for… read more →
A very interesting article from the Globe and Mail on the impact of wind turbines on bats. Unfortunately, whatever source of energy we humans decide to produce, there will be impacts on other species. Another reason to focus on conserving energy!
This month, the gang at Nature Canada selected this picture, which the photographer has dubbed ‘Life at the water’s edge’, which captures two damselflies mating on grasses in Cootes Paradise, Hamilton, Ontario. Thank you Jean Crankshaw! (Update from online community member James Wolford: the two insects are not “mating”, but rather are in the “in tandem” position, with the male at the top in the photo and the female below. This position is either a pre-mating or post-mating relationship. If they have already mated, the male could be “guarding” the female to prevent her from being mated by another male before she lays eggs fertilized by her current mate. Thanks James!) In the last few months, we have been receiving… read more →
I just came back from an event here in Ottawa where Environment Minister John Baird announced that three new national wildlife areas will be established in Nunavut! More than 450,000 hectares of Arctic wilderness in Nunavut, including one globally significant Important Bird Area, will be protected at three sites located on the northeast side of Baffin Island: Niginganiq (Isabella Bay); Qaqulluit (Cape Searle); and Akpait (Reid Bay). This is great news for Canada’s birds, biodiversity and the cause of wilderness preservation. Two of Canada’s Important Bird Areas are found within the Qaqulluit and Akpait NWAs announced today. This means critical breeding and feeding grounds for millions of migratory birds will be preserved. The Inuit people are to be congratulated for… read more →
Next Birdlife International Olympic event — the sprint, in honour of the world’s fastest human sprinter, Jamaican Usain Bolt, who set a 200m World record of 19.30 seconds – equivalent to 37.3 km / hr. From Birdlife International: Birds are amazing athletes – Can you spot which of the bird species below can fly up to 350 km/hr?A – Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) B – Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) C – Tuamotu Kingfisher (Todiramphus gambieri) D – Red-footed Falcon (Falco vespertinus) I’m way out of medal contention, with only two correct answers out of 5 so far. Hope you do better! Go to Birdlife International’s Web site to compete, and perhaps win a copy of the Rare Birds Yearbook 2008.
Canada Establishes Three National Wildlife Areas in Nunavut: Nearly Half a Million Hectares to be Preserved View backgrounder on national wildlife areas in Canada Ottawa (August 22, 2008) –Nature Canada today congratulated the Government of Canada, the community of Clyde River and the Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated upon the announcement that Canada will protect more than 450,000 hectares of Arctic wilderness in Nunavut, including a globally significant Important Bird Area, by establishing three new National Wildlife Areas: Niginganiq (Isabella Bay); Qaqulluit (Cape Searle); and Akpait (Reid Bay). All three sites are located on the northeast side of Baffin Island in Nunavut. “This is great news for Canada’s birds, biodiversity and the cause of wilderness preservation,” said Julie Gelfand, president of Nature… read more →
Deceptions around the Mackenzie Gas Project are surfacing. This recent article about the report on impacts to Kendall Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary reminds me of the promise by the Chinese government to allow protesters as a condition for hosting the Olympic games. They make a promise they’re not likely to keep and they get the games. Then they break their promise (oh surprise!) but what can the world do…? The proponents of the Mackenzie Gas Project have promised (among MANY other things) that they will keep the footprint on Kendall Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary under the 1% disturbance threshold set by Environment Canada (something Nature Canada believes they can’t accomplish because the 1% threshold has already been surpassed). In this… read more →
A growing body of research is revealing that climate change is affecting birds in many different ways. Last month on this blog, Sarah wrote about a study in Global Change Biology that provided more evidence that birds migrating to or through the eastern U.S. are arriving earlier to correspond to optimal food and habitat conditions like insect emergence and leaf budding, which occur earlier in the spring as the climate warms. Now, yet another study has added to our understanding, this one out of the UK., where British birds are apparently laying their eggs earlier in the year as a result of climate change. From The Herald: The report said birds were being forced to rapidly adapt their behaviour in… read more →
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 →