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Archive for Biological Resource Assessments

Migratory Birds: spring is in the air

calendar icon March 22, 2017

I know it doesn’t feel a lot like spring today but, believe it or not, warming spring sunshine is on its way. Soon we will be waking to the sounds of robins and goldfinches outside our windows, rather than the neighbour’s snowblower! Speaking of robins and goldfinches, did you know that it is illegal in Canada to hurt, possess, or even harass a bird, nest, or nesting territory of a bird protected under the Migratory Birds Convention Act?

migratory bird nest, nest sweep, nests, migratory bird convention act, song birds, nest searches, avian studies, bird studies, ornithology, point counts,

Most birds in Canada are protected under this Act, which originally came into effect in 1917, including some that don’t even migrate. Some birds that aren’t covered by the Migratory Birds Convention Act, such as hawks and owls, are also protected in Alberta under the Provincial Wildlife Act.

migratory bird nest, nest sweep, nests, migratory bird convention act, song birds, nest searches, avian studies, bird studies, ornithology, point counts,

So, if you are planning to clear land of any kind, even if there are no trees, you will probably want to make sure that none of our feathered friends have set up residence. I say even if there are not trees because many of our bird species are ground nesters, and its not uncommon for us to find nests in unkept grassy areas, and sometimes even on bare dirt. The most critical time in Alberta are the months of May through July, but the risk of disturbing protected birds and their nests outside of this period can be significant depending on factors like local seasonal climate conditions, the species involved, and quality of habitat.

Have questions? We can help. Give us a call and we’ll be glad to clarify things for you. For an example of what we can do to help, check out this Case Study of a recent project we completed.

migratory bird nest, nest sweep, nests, migratory bird convention act, song birds, nest searches, avian studies, bird studies, ornithology, point counts,

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Posted in: Biological Resource Assessments, Wildlife Research and Monitoring

migratory bird nest, nest sweep, nests, migratory bird convention act, song birds, nest searches, avian studies, bird studies, ornithology, point counts,

Owls – Who gives a hoot?

calendar icon February 4, 2017

It’s owl nesting season folks!

In Alberta, great horned owls can start their mating/nesting as early as January. That’s a pretty crazy time to be thinking about incubating an egg on top of some sticks precariously tangled in the top of a tree, but that’s what these monogamous perching predators are into. Who are we to judge?

Owls, Great Horned Owl Nest. nest surveys, stick nest, wildlife act, migratory birds, raptors, land clearing, vegetation clearing, developments, restricted activity period, nesting season, early nesters, tree stands, raptors, raptor nests, stewardship, consultant, consulting, consult, Edmonton, Alberta, Saskatchewan,

Great Horned Owl Nest. Nesting activity can occur as early as January in Alberta.

Owls on the edge!

When most people think of nests, they think of deep, basket-shaped, feather-lined structures, but the truth for great horned owls can be much different. The platform nests they often prefer leave their eggs and their young exposed to the Alberta elements, that is unless mom is there to keep them incubated and warm. Can you imagine being a nestling, sitting on what amounts to a coffee table mounted on the end of a flagpole while virtually naked, in an Alberta winter windchill?  Given those conditions its easy to see why survival of baby owls can be pretty tenuous. Unattended owlets can easily succumb to the elements, or fall prey to ravens, and a host of other predators. Thats why it’s very important that the parents are not disturbed by human activity during the nesting period.

Owls, Great Horned Owl, GHOW, boreal, wildlife surveys, Alberta, Natural Area Site Assessments, Nesting Bird Surveys, broadcast surveys, playback surveys, Wildlife Act, Migratory Bird Act, Point count survey, avian survey, bird survey, Edmonton, Alberta, consultant.

Great Horned Owl

Owl nests are protected

In fact, this is so important for all raptors (owls, hawks, eagles, falcons) that the Alberta Wildlife Act protects active raptor nests from any disturbance by people. That means that any land clearing or industrial activity happening in tree stands or woodlots this time of year (January through May) could not only be causing some dangerously chilly and unhappy baby owls, but could also be a violation of the law! Thats why you should call a professional wildlife biologist for advice before doing any land clearing of tree stands or woodlots this time of year.

Give us a hoot!

Where the heck do you find a professional wildlife biologist? Good question, just contact us, and we will put you in touch with a good one!

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Owl bet you can’t pass this quiz about owls!

Test your knowledge of Alberta's owls.

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Posted in: Biological Resource Assessments, News, Notes from the Field, Wildlife Research and Monitoring

Great Horned Owl Nest. nest surveys, stick nest, wildlife act, migratory birds, raptors, land clearing, vegetation clearing, developments, restricted activity period, nesting season, early nesters, tree stands, raptors, raptor nests, stewardship, consultant, consulting, consult, Edmonton, Alberta, Saskatchewan,

The Fiera Top Five Highlights of 2016

calendar icon December 28, 2016

What a great year 2016 was for Fiera Biological. We landed new clients, formed new working relationships, hired new talent, and ventured into new lines of business. Honestly, so much happened in 2016 that there is just too much to report in this blog, so we’re narrowing our focus to the top 5 highlights of 2016.

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Posted in: Biological Resource Assessments, Environmental Planning, GIS and Remote Sensing, News, Notes from the Field, Wildlife Research and Monitoring

Imagery captured by UAV using high resolution multi-spectra sensors. Fiera Biological Consulting.

Wetland Inventory and Loss Assessment

calendar icon December 12, 2016

Wetlands are important. You don’t have to take our word for it, lots of other folks agree. Environment Canada, for instance, says that wetlands are “among the most productive habitats on Earth”, and goes on to say that “if we continue to lose wetlands, a large and important piece of the natural system that keeps our world healthy will disappear.” The Government of Alberta agrees too! The Alberta Wetland Policy states that wetlands “play an important role in sustaining healthy watersheds by protecting water quality, providing water storage and infiltration, providing habitat for wildlife, fish and plants, and sustaining biodiversity.” Even industry organizations like the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) state that “wetlands are vital to the sustainability of ecosystems as they filter water, store carbon, recharge groundwater, protect biological diversity and act as flood protection.”

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Posted in: Biological Resource Assessments, Environmental Planning, GIS and Remote Sensing, News

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Connecting Habitats in Urban Landscapes

calendar icon October 15, 2016

Habitat Connectivity

A lot of planning goes in to designing a North American City. Area Structure Plans that lay out specific land uses, transportation systems, population goals, provision of essential services and facilities, and considers things like expected population growth, and types and sources of employment often happen decades in advance of development.

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Posted in: Biological Resource Assessments, Environmental Planning, News, Notes from the Field, Wildlife Research and Monitoring

Habitat connectivity, city of Calgary, Urban Parks, Fiera Biological Consulting, consultant, consult.