Posts

Dancing Without a Stage – The State of the Greater Sage-Grouse

By Rick Schneider / 1 August 2021

BY TIMOTHY SHAPKA

As of 2020, the Alberta population of greater sage-grouse was estimated to be 72 individuals — down from the thousands that were present when we started keeping track in 1968. Timothy Shapka reviews the causes of the decline and what is being done to recover the species.

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Ticked Off

By Steph Weizenbach / 21 July 2021

As you get ready for bed, your mind wanders and you think, “Did I lock the door? Did I turn off the stove? Did I blow out that candle…?” But did you remember to check for unwanted guests that may have hitched a ride home with you on your afternoon hike? It could be that tiny pests are ready to dig in for a feast!

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Swift Fox by Gordon Court

The Swift Fox: A Canadian Conservation Success Story

By Steph Weizenbach / 22 April 2021

BY LU CARBYN, NIKKI PASKAR, KRISTY BLY, AND RICHARD SCHNEIDER

The swift fox reintroduction program successfully brought the fastest member of the wild dog family’s population from Extirpated to Endangered, and finally to Threatened. Although it began with an illegal publicity stunt by a game farm, structured efforts soon followed. Habitat conservation continues to be a key issue for swift fox populations.

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Beaver - T. LePrieur

Where Beavers Go, Surprises Follow

By Steph Weizenbach / 21 April 2021

BY GLYNNIS HOOD

It’s an usually warm day in January and my snowshoes are only partially necessary on the frozen ponds that aid my route through the Ministik Game Bird Sanctuary. As I rest against a beaver lodge to have my tea, I realize that after all these years, there is still so much more to learn about these rodents, which can engineer entire landscapes unlike any other mammal, other than humans.

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Tiger Salamander juvenile

Tiger Salamanders

By Steph Weizenbach / 21 April 2021

BY CHERYL TEBBY

I was seven years old when I first saw Alberta’s elusive tiger salamander. Nearly six inches long and smooth, I can still remember its richly colored body: black stripes and splotches contrasted against olive green.

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Birding the Badlands

By Susan / 27 January 2021

BY RYAN WILKES WITH HEATHER BLANCHETTE

Despite the barren landscape that is often associated with the badlands, the valley accommodates a lively riparian forest. This ecosystem makes the river valley a popular birding spot for local naturalists and visiting birders alike.

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Loon with chick

Why Are Common Loon Chicks Becoming Less Common?

By Susan / 22 January 2021

BY KRISTIN BIANCHINI

Measuring loon productivity is also an excellent indicator of lake health. As top predators, loons are sensitive to damage at lower levels of the food chain. For example, processes that decrease the number of fish in a lake can cause food shortages, especially for young loons. Being a top predator also makes loons more vulnerable to pollutants, like acid rain and mercury.

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Two adult coyotes.

Keep Those Wily Urban Coyotes Wild!

By Susan / 22 January 2021

BY COLLEEN CASSADY ST. CLAIR

I began studying urban coyotes a little over a decade ago because Alberta’s cities, like virtually every city in North America, have seen a steady increase in reports of urban coyotes over time.

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Gail Michener with a rotund ground squirrel.

Underground Life

By Susan / 16 August 2020

BY GAIL MICHENER

Richardson’s ground squirrels are regularly seen above ground during daylight hours for seven to eight months of the year, but rarely from late October through late February, generating the perception that they hibernate for a four-month period encompassing winter. Winter does not last that long, so what accounts for such extraordinarily long hibernation seasons?

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Rabbits and Hares

By Susan / 16 August 2020

BY MYRNA PEARMAN

It has been my good fortune to have spent, over the past few years, some quality time in the company of each of Alberta’s three native “bunny” species. All three species — which include two hares and one rabbit — have adapted well to human habitation, taking up residence in farmyards, towns, and cities across the province.

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