Posts

For the Love of Lichens

By Nature Kids / 19 January 2024

There’s lots to love about lichens! Meet some of Alberta’s most colourful examples of these fascinating amalgam organisms.

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Canada Jays: Grey Ghosts of the Northern Woods

By Susan / 19 January 2024

Meet the grey ghost of the northern woods — the mischievous yet charming Canada jay.

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Bloodsucking Leeches: More Than Just a Horror Icon

By Nature Kids / 24 October 2023

BY CHERYL TEBBY

Popular depictions of leeches often include concentric rows of sharp, fang-like teeth, or maybe an elongate ventral sucker that enables them to cling to their victim like the sticky-hand toys found in birthday “goody bags.” But in real life, leeches are a little more prosaic, much less horror-movie monster. 

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How to Build a Bird: The Story of Avian Evolution

By Nature Kids / 23 October 2023

BY RICHARD SCHNEIDER AND NICK CARTER

The origin of the avian body plan is not something bird watchers often think about. With so many species to find and identify out there, what does it matter how they originated? However, the story of bird evolution is a fascinating one, and understanding it can bring great enrichment to the hobby of birdwatching. 

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Arctic Grayling: The Jewel of Canada’s Northern Waters

By Steph Weizenbach / 16 October 2023

BY JESSICA REILLY

I spend my free time studying Arctic grayling, and it captures every ounce of my curiosity. Arctic grayling have striking colouration with large dorsal fins reminiscent of a marine sailfish. They are aggressive feeders and fun to catch on a fly. In studying them, we learn more about the ancient processes that led to the rich mosaic of biodiversity around us today.

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Survival Against the Odds: Alberta’s Half-moon Hairstreak Butterfly

By Steph Weizenbach / 29 September 2023

BY BENNY ACORN

Waterton Lakes National Park is truly one of the most remarkable areas in all of Alberta, where natural beauty is partnered with rich and unique biological diversity. Although you would not expect it, the story of one of Alberta’s rarest insects begins here, under the late-winter snow. This is a story of unexpected alliances, remarkable specialization, and perseverance in the face of catastrophic adversity, and it all takes place on the Blakiston Fan.

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Whooping Cranes: Step by Step, Egg by Egg, Towards Recovery

By Steph Weizenbach / 29 September 2023

BY HIRA SHAH

The whooping crane was once widely distributed across North America, but by the 1940s, hunting and habitat loss had reduced the species to only 21 birds. Wood Buffalo National Park remains the only place in Canada where whooping cranes nest.

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Spiders: The Misunderstood Jewels of Alberta’s Biodiversity

By Steph Weizenbach / 7 July 2023

BY JAIME PINZON
Alberta is home to 628 species of spiders, representing almost half of those recorded in Canada. That’s more than the number of bird species we have in the province. Despite this great diversity, you are unlikely to encounter more than a small fraction of these species because many of them are either too small, have cryptic behaviours, or live in remote habitats.

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Alberta’s “Other” Woodpeckers

By Steph Weizenbach / 7 July 2023

BY NICK CARTER
Alberta is rich in woodpeckers, from common backyard visitors like the little downy woodpecker to the crow-sized pileated woodpecker with its flaming crest and manic voice. But there are a couple of interesting species that often get overlooked.

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The Aquatic Songbird: American Dippers

By Nature Kids / 12 April 2023

BY MARK BRADLEY

American dippers are plump little birds, 18–21 cm, that weigh about 50 grams (roughly the weight of a golf ball). Both sexes have a slate-grey body with a brownish-grey head, an upturned tail, and flashing white eyelids.

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