This week, I heard my first robin of the season. That bubbly, cheery song, like nothing else, tells me that spring is here… and that more birds are on their way! I’m not sure which I’m most excited about. Yes, I’m one of those weird people who loves birds. Not that liking birds is weird, but the thing I look forward to most is conducting bird point count surveys, which involves waking up really, really early. That’s the weird part, I guess. Read more
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? Read more
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?
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.
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!
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.
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.”