150/150: Home is where the heart is for the Barred Owl

Animalia: Chordata: Aves: Strigiformes: Strigidae: Strix: Strix varia Barton, 1799

The Barred Owl is a member of the family Strigidae, the true owls, which it shares with almost all other extant owl species. It is also called the Hoot Owl due to its characteristic mating call. Like most owls, Barred Owls are silent when hunting and possess wing adaptions that enhance their ability to sneak up on prey. The Barred Owl mostly preys on small mammals and has occasionally been known to wade into water to fish for food within wetland habitats. Continue reading “150/150: Home is where the heart is for the Barred Owl”

134/150: A soaring hawk of the prairies

Animalia: Chordata: Aves: Accipitriformes: Accipitridae: Buteo: Buteo regalis (Gray, 1844)

The Ferruginous Hawk is the largest hawk native to North America and is a specialist predator, feeding on specific rodent species. It is classified as Threatened by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) due to the loss and fragmentation of its breeding habitat, the prairies of Canada. With an estimated population of 1200 breeding pairs, efforts are being made to reduce habitat loss.

Hawk refers to diurnal (active by day) predatory birds. Hawks are considered among the most intelligent birds, as having one of the best eyesight in the animal kingdom (eight times better than us!). They can see ultra-violet light and can detect polarized light or magnetic fields. Hawks can reach diving speeds of over 240 km an hour and undertake long migrations, travelling thousands of miles a year. Hawk couples are monogamous, usually mating for life.  #Canada150 #Biodiversity150

The Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis). Photo Credit: Tony Hisgett goo.gl/LbKqFD
The Ferruginous Hawk, looking fierce. Photo Credit: Tim Sträter goo.gl/2NcyZY
A Ferruginous Hawk perched on a fence. Photo Credit: Dick Daniels goo.gl/iGWyAn
A Ferruginous Hawk soaring through the sky. Photo Credit: Shravans14 goo.gl/e9CWvc

Here’s the barcode sequence information for this species:

Process ID: KBNA789-04

nucleotide sequence


amino acid sequence


Visual representation of DNA barcode sequence for Ferruginous Hawk

Learn more about it’s BIN (Barcode Index Number): BOLD:ABZ1637

107/150: Loggerhead Shrike – The “Butcher Bird”

Animalia: Chordata: Aves: Passeriformes: Laniidae: Lanius: Lanius ludovicianus Linnaeus, 1766

The loggerhead shrike (Lanius ludovicianus) is classed as Endangered, with only 31 breeding pairs reported in Ontario in 2009, leading to many captive breeding programs. Although classed as a passerine bird (often known as perching, or song birds), shrikes hunt in an almost hawk-like way, impaling prey on spiny bushes or barbed wire fences before tearing it apart to eat. Continue reading “107/150: Loggerhead Shrike – The “Butcher Bird””

103/150: National Hummingbird Day – The Calliope Hummingbird

Animalia: Chordata: Aves: Apodiformes: Trochilidae: Selasphorus: Selasphorus calliope (Gould, 1847)

The first Saturday in September is being celebrated as National Hummingbird Day. Read on to learn more about the Calliope hummingbird. These birds are spunky, territorial, and have the nerve to chase away hawks while resembling the size of a ping pong ball! Continue reading “103/150: National Hummingbird Day – The Calliope Hummingbird”

76/150: Find out why the Grey Jay is Canada’s new National Bird!

Animalia: Chordata: Aves: Passeriformes: Corvidae: Perisoreus: Perisoreus canadensis (Linnaeus, 1766)

The Grey Jay (P. canadensis) is a songbird from the Family Corvidae, also sometimes called the Canada Jay or Whiskey Jack, derived from the Indigenous name Wisakedjak. The Grey Jay is considered one of the smartest birds in the world along with other Corvids who display the ability to make tools and play complex social games even as youngsters. The Grey Jay uses its intelligence to hoard thousands of pieces of food throughout the summer so that it can last through the winter without migrating, proving it has an exceptional memory. Continue reading “76/150: Find out why the Grey Jay is Canada’s new National Bird!”

63/150: The Ultimate Diving Champion

animalia: Chordata: Aves: Anseriformes: Anatidae: Clangula: Clangula hyemalis (Linnaeus, 1758)

Now this species is set for the Olympics! The Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis) – formerly known as Oldsquaw – sets the record for one of the deepest diving ducks (over 60 metres)! Whereas Olympic athletes perform impressive feats like these for medals, the Long-tailed Duck must dive to survive. Continue reading “63/150: The Ultimate Diving Champion”

49/150: BEHOLD! The longest migration of any bird, The Arctic Tern

Animalia: Chordata: Aves: Charadriformes: Laridae: Sterna: Sterna paradisaea (Pontoppidan, 1763)

The Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea) is a winter, sea-faring bird with the longest yearly migration of any known species. They will travel a total of 70,900 km in one year from their breeding site in Northern Canada and Europe to their winter home near Antarctica. Continue reading “49/150: BEHOLD! The longest migration of any bird, The Arctic Tern”

17/150: Whooping cranes – till death do them part!

Animalia: Chordata: Aves: Gruiformes: Gruidae: Grus: Grus americana (Linnaeus, 1758)

Whooping cranes (Grus americana) come by their name honestly; they were given the moniker thanks to their loud trumpet-like calls which can be heard from several kilometers away! They use these calls for a variety of reasons and one of the most important is to attract the opposite sex in courtship displays. Continue reading “17/150: Whooping cranes – till death do them part!”

Natural Wonders of the Ausable-Bayfield Watershed, with a Little Bit of Outreach

Welcome to another rendition of my blog where you will hear incredible stories about our adventures in the Canadian wilderness.

On June 29, a few of us from BIO teamed up with Pinery Provincial Park and the surrounding Ausable-Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) to collect, sort and maintain samples of aquatic and soil invertebrates to help construct the DNA barcode library. This will allow us to someday assess the biotic integrity of the Ausable-Bayfield Watershed by sequencing the environmental DNA in a water or soil sample. Continue reading “Natural Wonders of the Ausable-Bayfield Watershed, with a Little Bit of Outreach”

A Mitey Start

Hello everyone, my name is Nathaniel Jones. This is my first blog of the summer. I am currently getting started on my new position here at BIO. I was fortunate enough to land the summer Undergraduate Research Assistantship position to sample the soil for arthropod diversity. So far this week I have just been getting started, learning a lot about the techniques of sampling small soil arthropods. Some of the mites are so tiny I am unable to use forceps, as they are almost microscopic and hard to distinguish from grains of sand. Continue reading “A Mitey Start”