Posts

Alberta Red-necks — Grebes, That Is

By Steph Weizenbach / 19 October 2022

BY NICK CARTER

Although the courtship of red-necked grebes is one of nature’s great shows, it often goes unappreciated. The same goes for other grebe species. These birds generally do not inspire the same sense of northern majesty that loons do. Nor are they synonymous with Alberta wetlands the way ducks and geese are. But grebes are just as much a part of our lakes and ponds as all those other birds.

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What Lies Beneath: The Hidden Life of Fungi

By Steph Weizenbach / 3 October 2022

BY HEATHER ADDY

Fungi are often overlooked because many of them spend much of their lives hidden from us, and out of sight means out of mind. While all fungi share certain features, these organisms display remarkable diversity. Here, we’ll focus on fungi that form mushrooms and other large, complex fruiting bodies.

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Pollination on a Wing and a Prayer: Wood Lilies and Swallowtails

By Steph Weizenbach / 30 September 2022

BY LAWRENCE HARDER & TIM SCHOWALTER

Examine the remarkably close relationship between wood lilies and swallowtail butterflies.

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Kingfishers: Keeping a Watchful Eye on the Water

By Steph Weizenbach / 22 July 2022

BY MARGOT HERVIEUX

If you spend time along rivers or small lakes this summer, you may be lucky enough to spot a kingfisher. There are many kinds of kingfishers in other parts of the world but in Canada we only have one species: the belted kingfisher.

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Death by “Data Deficient”: The Disappearance of Wolverines in Alberta’s Eastern Slopes

By Steph Weizenbach / 22 July 2022

BY GILLIAN CHOW-FRASER

Olaus Murie once wrote, “I wonder if there is another inhabitant of northern wilderness that so excites the imagination.”1 The species he was referring to? None other than the wolverine.

More than 60 years later, the same thought ran through my mind as I tracked through the foothills of Alberta’s Rocky Mountains. Would this be the day? Would I be able to catch even a brief glimpse of a wolverine’s bushy tail in the distance?

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Jaw-Dropping Bird – The Common Nighthawk

By Steph Weizenbach / 21 July 2022

BY DORIS MAY & STEPH WEIZENBACH

Feel the Noise
BOOM! The first time I heard this loud, unnerving sound, it reverberated through the ravine where my prairie home lies nestled along a meandering creek. The sound was ominous, like a sound effect you might expect in a tense scene from a Jurassic Park movie.

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The Ronald Lake Wood Bison Herd: Observations From Their Home

By Steph Weizenbach / 21 July 2022

BY GARRETT RAWLEIGH & LEE HECKER

When people think of bison, they often picture the vast herds of plains bison that once roamed the Great Plains of North America. These massive herds, and the story of their demise, are well known. But how many people are familiar with their larger northern cousin?

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How Geology Affects Wildlife Distribution — From Eroding Mountains to Glacial Rivers

By Steph Weizenbach / 21 July 2022

BY DALE LECKIE

The distribution of plants and animals in Alberta is closely tied to the landscapes in which they live. Though there are some generalists, like coyotes, most species are adapted to specific landscape types. The development of these landscapes is in turn intimately related to Alberta’s geological history, together with ongoing geological processes. Here we will explore several important examples, including eroding mountain peaks, glaciated landscapes, deeply entrenched river valleys, and arid interior plains located in the rain shadow of the mountains.

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On the Trail of Disjunct Alpine Plants from Alberta to Ontario

By Steph Weizenbach / 24 April 2022

BY ASHLEY HILLMAN

It’s Day 4 on the trail. It’s humid, hot, and did I mention humid? Our packs are impossibly heavy with food, camping gear, and sampling equipment. I wish there was someone else to blame for deciding to mix backpacking with field sampling, but unfortunately it was my idea. I have already cut myself on a rock and slipped into the frigid waters of Lake Superior as we struggle down the coastal hiking trail of Pukaskwa National Park. But all this suffering has rewarded us with just what we were looking for: plants! 

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Watching Winter Woodpeckers

By Steph Weizenbach / 28 January 2022

Black-capped chickadees are certainly our most common winter feeder visitors, but downy woodpeckers are often a close second. Both downies and their larger cousins, hairy woodpeckers, are year-round residents in our winter forests.

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