My neighbour the osprey in all its grandeur

These magnificent birds often nest in odd places, such as the light standards and hydroelectric towers

My neighbour the osprey in all its grandeurThe waterfront of Port Perry, Ont., is hosting new neighbours. Two osprey have taken up residence right in the middle of town on the waterfront. These magnificent birds inspire awe but often nest in odd places, such as the light standards and hydroelectric towers. A pair has nested for years at the ball fields at…

Birdwatching in Honduras – plumage aplenty

Daily delights greeted us – toucans, parrots, butterflies, flowering trees, towering mountains

Birdwatching in Honduras – plumage aplentySpring is an exciting time of year as everything awakens and regrowth is rampant. I always eagerly anticipate the return of the birds that migrated southbound last fall. Their beauty and – more importantly – their song delights and revitalizes me. I know where they go, but I seldom get a chance to see them…

Breeding bird study offers insights into health of the environment

Continuing intensive breeding bird survey involves thousands of volunteers, hundreds of thousands of bits of data

Breeding bird study offers insights into health of the environmentEvery spring, I get excited as the birds start to return to Ontario from South and Central America. Life is emerging everywhere. Even though nature sometimes seems to conspire against them with cold snaps following sunny days, birds persist. Fire, rain, wind, predators, agricultural and industrial activities, cars, cats and inadvertent human disturbance all work…

Are we Earth’s protectors if we carelessly wipe out species?

The well-being of the animals and the benefits they provide us rarely factored in

Are we Earth’s protectors if we carelessly wipe out species?Typically I note articles that cross my desk that report negative stories about nature. Historically, they didn’t emerge that frequently and nature, in general, was doing pretty well, despite some ongoing issues with overhunting, predator control, urbanization, pesticides and poaching. I read and keep these stories because sometimes lessons can be learned by studying other…

Is the majestic bald eagle making a comeback?

In the 70s, bald eagles, like many raptors, were devastated due to exposure to pesticides

Is the majestic bald eagle making a comeback?The majestic bald eagle never fails to arouse awe in observers fortunate enough to spot it. In the 19th and 20th centuries, it variously was considered common to rare in North America, depending primarily on where you lived. They historically nested in 45 of the 48 contiguous United States but have declined dramatically since. One…

Since we’ve no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

Oh, the weather outside is.... wonderful! Ontarians are making the most of a huge snow storm

Since we’ve no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snowThere’s no day like a snow day. In that same vein, there’s no column like a snow day column! On Monday, Toronto and most of southern Ontario got hammered by one of the biggest snowstorms in this region in many years. Toronto was originally supposed to get 25 to 35 cm of snow, according to…

How we can keep birds from crashing into windows and dying

Bird Safe Buildings Across Canada and other organizations are working hard to encourage building owners to take bird-saving measures

How we can keep birds from crashing into windows and dyingEver since European settlers occupied North America, our influences on avian populations have varied between positive and devastatingly negative. I would love to just write about the good stuff, but an important issue needs to be discussed: windows and how they can be deadly to birds. A new grassroots organization has been founded by a…

Jewelweed is a jewel of a weed

Herbalists have long espoused the benefits of jewelweed, primarily as a remedy for the treatment of poison ivy and poison oak rashes

Jewelweed is a jewel of a weedIn many areas of the country grows a little plant that has remarkable medicinal qualities: jewelweed. In my last column, I wrote about my encounter with poison ivy and the discomfort my carelessness caused me. Now I want to share more of the story. Natural medicines are well-known and much studied, here and abroad. Jewelweed…

Ford’s Ontario has nothing to learn from Australia’s climate plan

The smarter alternative would be to just bite the bullet and abandon the pretence of abiding by the flawed Paris agreement

Ford’s Ontario has nothing to learn from Australia’s climate planThe yellow vests demonstrations across the Atlantic against climate change-driven fuel taxes offer Ontario Premier Doug Ford yet another reason to congratulate himself on repealing Ontario’s carbon tax. Less reassuring, however, is the speculation that he intends to introduce a measure similar to the Australian Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF). A sop to the leftists within the…