Nature from a bicycle

Get up close and personal to nature while reducing your carbon footprint  “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best.” Ernest Hemingway Riding a bicycle can be a wonderful way to engage with nature and the changing seasons. The feeling of setting off Read more…

Travels in a nature paradise: Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica, is an area rich in cultural and biological delights (Part 2)

Wildlife in Costa Rica can almost seem other-worldly: toucans with rainbow-colored beaks nearly as big as their body; huge Blue Morphos cruising about like computer-generated butterflies from the movie Avatar; and, as I’ll describe this week, wing-snapping manakins leaping back and forth like frenzied ping-pong balls. This amazing offering of Read more…

Happy Darwin Day!

February 12 is a day to reflect on the principles of perpetual curiosity, scientific thinking, and hunger for truth as embodied in Charles Darwin. With the arrival of February – a time I like to call ‘pre-spring’ – bird sound is slowly returning to the natural world. A week ago, Read more…

Let’s talk turkey

Abundant Wild Turkeys entertain rural residents with their interesting behaviours. It was a blockbuster trade for the ages. However, it wasn’t athletes that were shuffled around. It was wildlife. In 1984, Ontario sent River Otters to Missouri, Ruffed Grouse to New York and Moose to Michigan in exchange for 274 Read more…

Amazing buds

Exploring the characteristics of twigs and buds is a great winter pastime      After the dramatic reds, oranges and yellows of fall leaves, it’s easy to think that the seemingly barren trees of winter offer little of interest. Fortunately, for those of us who enjoy winter botanizing, the trees Read more…

Counting birds at Christmas

The annual Christmas Bird Count reveals the ups and downs of bird populations – and always some surprises. Between mid-December and early January, birders in more than 2,500 localities across North, Central and South America take a break from the holiday festivities to spend a day outside, identifying and counting Read more…

A winter almanac

Expect a lot of snow and a ‘classic Canadian winter’ In my fall nature almanac, I had the temerity to predict that the sunshine and cool temperatures of early September would lead to extraordinary leaf colour. Well, I sure got that wrong. In fact, this fall’s colour show was one Read more…

The wonder of cones

Late fall is a great time to get to know these enigmatic structures I’ve always loved November. Maybe it’s the change of pace and the sense of nature slowing down. Yet, we do notice changes. As deciduous trees shed their leaves, our eyes are drawn to the conifers like at Read more…

Mysteries of the Blue Jay

Much remains to be explained about these familiar birds     When a species is as common as the blue jay, we tend to take it for granted. We are often dulled into thinking that there’s little new to be discovered about its behaviour. Well, think again. From their aggressive mobbing behaviour Read more…

Winter Wanderers

Bird numbers and diversity at feeders at feeders depends on wild seed abundance If you’ve been paying attention to coniferous trees this fall, you’ve probably noticed the abundance of cones on many species. Cedars and spruce, for example, have produced an especially heavy crop. The quantity of seed on sugar Read more…