Always a pleasure to catch the beautiful Canada Warbler and today we’ve caught 4! Unfortunately this species is listed as Threatened on the Species at Risk Act as it has declined by 62% between 1970 and 2014. This hatch year male is about to embark on a 3,000 mile journey south! Retweeted by Fiera Biological

#fieldworkfriday Understanding the #impact of a proposed #development on #naturalfeatures often means getting your feet wet. Here, Dr. Shari Clare is sporting her favourite #fieldfashion, while assessing a #wetland in Central #Alberta. #ecology #assessment #conservation

Archive for Species at Risk Surveys

Give a Hoot about Owls!

calendar icon January 24, 2019

It’s owl nesting season folks, and here’s why you should give a hoot!

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

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,

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? Read more

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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,

Gone Batty! Detecting Bats in Alberta

calendar icon July 17, 2016

At Fiera Biological, we know a lot about nature and wildlife. A lot of what we know we have learned through years of observation – not just in the course of wildlife consulting, but in our every day outdoor activities.  At the coffee shop, for sure, some of us are people watchers, but once we are out of doors, we are all bird beholders, squirrel spyers, lily lookers, frog fixators, orchid oglers, and coyote casers. I don’t mean to brag, but from a hundred meters away, we can detect and properly identify species by sounds most people might not recognize as being from wildlife at all. Some of our wildlife consultants are expert trackers too; we can look at scuffmarks in the snow, and see the tell-tail sign of a least weasel passing by, or note that both a wolf and a coyote has passed by while stepping in the footprints of a boreal caribou. I know, impressive, right? We’re pretty up to date on our plants too. Grasses? Got’em covered. Mosses? … not a problem. Still there are things that we can’t do. For instance, we don’t have ultrasonic hearing, and that is a problem when one of our clients needs us to identify the species of bat occurring at a proposed development, or to determine if a particular bit of habitat is being utilized by bats.

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

Field Notes: Found them!

calendar icon July 16, 2010


Knee deep in marsh-water, sedge grasses up to our waists, and a mile of open, treeless darkness in any direction, we celebrate with a high five as a male yellow rail responds emphatically to our recording and moves closer to us…

Several surveys for yellow rail have occurred in this area, but to my knowledge this is the only time one has been successfully detected.

Yellow rail, species at risk, wetland monitoring, wildlife monitoring, biodiversity monitoring, conservation, nocturnal surveys, broadcast surveys, call playback surveys, rail surveys, sensitive species, fen, sedges, pitcher plants, rare plants, endangered species, boreal forest, caribou, Alberta biodiversity consultant

A secretive yellow rail reveals itself for a moment as it scoots from one hiding spot among the emergent wetland of a boreal fen, to another.

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

Field Notes: Yellow Rail Surveys

calendar icon July 14, 2010

We have just arrived back at our hotel after a night of yellow rail (Coturnicops noveboracensis) surveys in northeastern Alberta. Yellow rails are small, rare, secretive water birds, and while their status rank in Alberta is currently classified as “Undetermined”, this critter is has been designated a species of “Special Concern” by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) and the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA).
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Posted in: Notes from the Field

Image of a butterfly