Blog Tags: nature

A Canadian Safari

A few weeks ago I went on a safari. Not a giraffe, lion, elephant safari – a grizzly bear safari in the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Sanctuary, one of the few places in the world where...

Read More

Have you met Taco-Charlie?

If you go to Lethbridge, you must visit Taco-Charlie at the Helen Schuler Nature Centre. During my book tour this month, my time in Lethbridge was limited and I had to make a choice:...

Read More

Amphibian or Reptile: Can you tell the difference?

Here’s a pop quiz – just like in school, when your teacher tests you before the lesson, just to see how much you already know (or don’t know). This is just like that. Take...

Read More

Wild ID – more than a mug shot

Long-toed salamanders are pretty distinctive. The vivid yellow stripe is a sure giveaway, as is the long toe on each back foot. But how did researchers in Waterton distinguish one long-toed salamander from the...

Read More

Five Fast Facts for Friday: Landslides

Often, the deadliest landslides happen with little warning. I have driven through the Frank Slide in the Crowsnest Pass many times and always find it quite eerie to consider that some of the town’s...

Read More

Today is Bear Day

“Why is Dad standing outside with the pole for the umbrella?” “What?” I turned the water off and shook my hands dry. There were no paper towels in the campground washrooms. As I turned...

Read More

Five Fast Facts for Friday: Manta Rays

When I’m swimming in the ocean, it’s always in the back of my mind that a ray could be underfoot. They’re flat, well-camouflaged and downright scary. Remember how Steve Irwin died? As I researched...

Read More

Five Fast Facts for Friday: Flight

If you could become an animal, what would you choose? I would like to be a bird, able to soar over mountains and deserts. When I was researching facts for this book, I discovered many...

Read More

Five Fast Facts for Friday: Gorillas

I could watch the gorillas at the zoo for hours. Did you know they are the largest of the apes and live only in the forests of Africa? Here are a few more facts about gorillas:...

Read More

Looking for Winter in Waterton

Resolution #1 : Embrace Winter What better place to strengthen my resolve than Waterton Lakes National Park? Six-foot drifts and a weekend on snowshoes should do the trick. I had never visited Waterton in...

Read More

Five Fast Facts for Friday: Hibernation

It’s winter, and I would dearly love to curl up with a blanket and hibernate. But…in true hibernation, an animal is close to death. Its heart and breathing almost stop. Here are five fast...

Read More

DDT and the Osprey

DDT has a nasty reputation. Probably the most commonly-known fact about DDT is that it caused prey bird populations to plummet in the 1960s and 70s. Birds that ingested DDT produced eggs that were...

Read More

Saving Salamanders

Last month, I swung a pulaski for the first time. Okay, not so much swung it, as hacked and chopped and dug with it as I helped repair the salamander fences and tunnels in...

Read More

Keeping Ospreys Safe

Birds nest in the strangest places – like the robin that built its nest in our canoe once, and the dove that decided to nest on my parents’ front door. Yup, right on the...

Read More

Airborne Predators

Ospreys are hunters, or, more accurately, fishers. They are birds of prey, after all. Other birds of prey, like eagles, hawks, falcons, and owls, hunt a variety of other critters, which helps keep an...

Read More

What inspires you?

Last month, I found myself in need of a little inspiration. I sat at my desk, fingers poised above the keyboard, blinking cursor ready to march across the page – and I couldn’t get...

Read More

Osprey Nests Around the World

If you are looking for truly unscripted reality television, check out an osprey nest cam. Family squabbles, sibling rivalry, murderous intruders, and first flights are all high drama in the osprey world. Nest cams...

Read More

Waiting in Anticipation

It’s early May, and all over the northern hemisphere, ospreys are starting their families. They’ve spent some time sprucing up the nursery, lining the nest with soft materials like grass, and females should be...

Read More

Nest Building, Osprey-style

It’s late April, and all over the northern hemisphere ospreys are arriving at their summer homes after a long migration. Males and females usually arrive separately and whoever gets to the nest first begins...

Read More

Is that bird wearing a backpack?

You have probably seen birds with bands on their feet. These tiny metal bracelets may be colored and labeled with letters and numbers, all of which can tell scientists a lot about the bird,...

Read More

Ospreys are on the Move

How many kilometers do you expect your car will log in the next 10 years? 100,000? 200,000? More? Compare that to an osprey, which may fly more than 250,000 km in its lifetime as...

Read More

A nestcam on Kauai

What bird eats mostly squid, can live more than 50 years, and may be able to sleep while flying? The Laysan Albatross, that’s who! While we wait for the ospreys to return to their...

Read More

What is a Crystal Kite?

The annual Crystal Kite Award is a peer-given award that recognizes great books by SCBWI members. Fifteen awards are given out in regions around the world, and Canada is one of these. In total,...

Read More

A New Book in 2016!

After 15 years of writing, I have learned that the best news doesn’t arrive in the mail. Self-addressed stamped envelopes never contain anything more than rejection.  The words I hope for – we’d like to...

Read More

The Canada Jay gets my vote for Canada’s national bird!

I know what you’re thinking – Yer daft, McDowell.  There is no Canada Jay!  But there was, once upon a time, before the bird’s official English name became more commonly used.  Gray Jay is...

Read More