This blog was written by Nature Canada member Steve Gahbauer and edited by our Professional Writing Intern, Blair Scott. I hope all of you had a relaxing long weekend at Easter, good maple syrup outings, and an enjoyable March break. I also hope that you have not missed the nature events of January and February – male raccoons leaving their winter dens to search for females; Eastern Grey Squirrels starting their first annual breeding season; Snowy Owls returning to their Arctic breeding grounds. And I trust you did not forget to celebrate Earth Hour on March 19. In our region – around the Rouge Urban National Park – we had a mild winter with very little snow and only a few extremely cold… read more →
Swallows are beginning to start their spring migration, and they travel hundreds of kilometres a day at a speed of over 30km/h! These small birds are vulnerable to starvation, exhaustion and storms, so when they arrive in Canada they will be grateful for all the help they can get to recover. Before we get started, here’s how to identify swallows. Swallows used to breed in caves, but now almost always nest in the eaves of buildings such as barns. However, they also inhabit much busier places, and can be seen flitting in and around bustling restaurants and markets. For this reason, swallows are one of the most familiar bird species in the world. Even if you didn’t know what it was called,… read more →
I’m excited! Today Nature Canada launches a new initiative to Keep Cats Safe and Save Bird Lives catsandbirds.ca. Our aim is to reduce the number of free-roaming cats in Canada. This initiative will bring together cat lovers across Canada – in our Nature Canada community and beyond – to protect wildlife; it highlights ways that we as nature lovers can take individual actions to protect nature in our community; and it builds on Nature Canada’s commitment to keep science and evidence at the heart of our work. Keeping science at the forefront I am always asking myself and our conservation team a lot of questions. How can we have the biggest impact to protect birds and other wildlife? What are… read more →
Nature Canada is pleased to announce a new collaboration with author Margaret Atwood. As profiled in The New York Times today Ms. Atwood is publishing a series of graphic novels, Angel CatBird, to be published by Dark Horse Comics starting in the fall of 2016. The announcement marks the debut of an exciting collaboration between Nature Canada and the world-famous author under the banner ‘Keep Cats Safe and Save Bird Lives’. Launching in the spring of 2016, this initiative will celebrate the contributions cats and birds make to our lives, our environment, and our communities, and invite Canadians to consider what they can do to make Canada a safer place for both cats and birds. For the announcement from Dark Horse… read more →
It is said that more than 90% of the world’s migratory birds are inadequately protected due to a lack of coordinated conservation efforts across the globe. A new study recently came out in Science calling for a higher level of collaboration around the world to help save migratory birds, as many of them are at risk of extinction. The research had indicated huge gaps in the conservation of these birds since some countries have ranges well covered by protected areas and while others do not. From the 1,451 migratory bird species, it was said that 1,324 of them have improper protection in at least one part of their migratory journey. Two species were even indicated as having no protection whatsoever! As a result, there has been a… read more →
In 2013, then Ontario Environment Commissioner Gord Miller stated that industrial-scale wind energy projects should be excluded from Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA). Since then, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) approved two major projects in extremely well-known and highly significant eastern Ontario IBAs – one on Amherst Island and a second on the south shore of Prince Edward County. Another wind energy project at Ostrander Point, also located within an IBA with globally rare alvar habitat and rich in threatened species such as Blanding’s Turtle and Whippoorwill, may also be approved soon. The MOECC has done it again with its shoddy treatment of another serious bird conservation issue, attracting the ire of the interim… read more →
Purple Martins are social, colonial birds. They have a very interesting relationship with humans that dates back centuries. It is believed that before Europeans arrived in North America, some First Nations people hung up hollowed out gourds (similar to a pumpkin) to encourage Purple Martins to nest near their settlements, and Europeans continued this tradition. Putting up these martin houses was so common that east of the Rocky Mountains, Purple Martins had become entirely dependent on these special birdhouses that people provide for them. In John J. Audubon’s (American ornithologist, naturalist, and painter) world renowned book, Birds of America (Published between 1827 and 1838), he remarked “All our cities are furnished with houses for the reception of these birds”. Today,… read more →
The Important Bird and Biodiversity Program (IBA) has been active in Canada since 1996, and Nature Canada has been there to help guide its development every step of the way. A program of BirdLife International, developed and implemented in Canada by Nature Canada and its BirdLife Canada partner, Bird Studies Canada, IBAs are about identifying, recognizing and protecting (either formally or through voluntary stewardship) the network of the most important places for birds. IBAs are discrete sites supporting specific groups of birds: threatened birds, large groups of birds, and birds restricted by range or by habitat. IBAs range in size from very tiny patches of habitat to large tracts of land or water. They may encompass any combination of private… read more →
With parents breathing a collective sigh of relief as the new school year begins, it is timely to feature the Ovenbird. Why is that? Find out in this weeks segment! Each week we introduce a new bird from the Ottawa-Gatineau area through our segment on CBC Radio’s In Town and Out. Alex MacDonald, Nature Canada’s Manager of Protected Areas, shares interesting facts about the birds that live in our communities. Be sure to tune-in to “Bird Tweet of the Week” on CBC Radio One 91.5 FM on Saturday mornings from 6am to 9am and listen to past episodes on our website. This episode aired on Saturday, September 12th, 2015. Email: *Join Now!
The flamboyantly coloured Magnolia Warbler originally had a much more literal, much less botanical name. Find out what it was in this week’s Tweet of the Week! Each week we introduce a new bird from the Ottawa-Gatineau area through our segment on CBC Radio’s In Town and Out. This August, Nicolas Conroy, Nature Canada’s Conservation Intern, shares interesting facts about birds that live in our communities. Be sure to tune-in to the “Bird Tweet of the Week” on CBC Radio One 91.5 FM on Saturday mornings from 6am to 9am and listen to past episodes on our website. This episode aired on Saturday, September 5th, 2015. Email: *Join Now!