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Grizzly Highway Encounter
Driving back from Windermere we spotted an adult grizzly walking along a path in the forest beside the highway. We slowed to a stop and watched as the bear continued down the path. We followed slowly on the shoulder and then stopped when the bear emerged fr...

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Hummingbird Nest
Hummingbird Nest I found a hummingbird nest on my front porch a few weeks ago! Likely the nest blew out of a nearby tree. The two closest trees are a cypress and a crabapple. The cypress was only four meters away. The crabapple was about 8 meters away. Like...

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Spruce Grouse
Spruce Grouse - Falcipennis canadensis The boreal forest is the preferred habitat for the Spruce Grouse.  These birds are common in closed (dense forest canopy) conifer forests. The birds are often solitary and unusually tame for a wild species. Reference S...

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Hoary Marmot
Hoary Marmot - Marmota caligata The name, "hoary," refers to the "mantle" of white hairs over the shoulders. These mammals are the largest marmot in Canada. Hoary Marmots are colonial and live together in burrows where they share food. They often sun themse...

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Mule Deer
Mule Deer - Odocoileus hemionus The larger ears and the black tip to the tail are two common clues that distinguish a Mule Deer from the more common White-tailed Deer. Both species live in the area where I hike. The hoof prints and the scat are similar.    ...

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Muskrat - Ondatra zibethicus Muskrats are the largest and the most aquatic of the voles in North America. These rodents are not closely related to the beaver, although both mammals have evolved similar physical and behavioural adaptations to their shared en...

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Black-capped Chickadee
Black-capped Chickadee - Poecile atricapilla Black-capped Chickadees are prevalent year round in the Calgary area.  Specialized leg muscles enable these birds to feed upside down while hanging from a perch. They are adept at exploiting resources in difficul...

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House Finch
House Finch - Carpodacus mexicanus House Finches winter in Calgary and are less common during the spring and summer. Purple Finches are usually not present during the winter and return in the spring.  The two species can be difficult to differentiate. The f...

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Tracking Beaver
Canadian Beaver - Castor canadensis The Canadian Beaver is the second largest rodent in the world. Good beaver tracks are uncommon because the prints are usually wiped out by either the heavy flat tail or by the tree trunks and branches that the animal drag...

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Tracking Meadow Voles # 2
When the snow disappeared from the garden in my front yard, the bark at the bottom of my columnar crab apple tree was chewed off.  The crab tree is located in designated garden area that is only a few meters from the driveway of my neighbour. You can see th...
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