Peregrine Falcons - Their Story, Their Past and Their Future
Peregrine falcons were once the centre of an intense conservation effort, which brought them back from near extinction. But today, they might be facing a new threat, and once again it's our fault.
The Case of the Conspicuously Absent Kestrel
American Kestrels are one of the most charismatic falcons out there, one one of the most unique of the North American species. They're also disappearing at an alarming rate, and nobody knows why.
Hockey Hooky Outtakes - Flubs, Flaps and Falcons
Enjoy our fumbles, stumbles and bumbles in a behind the scenes look at what usually ends up on the cutting room floor.
A Surprise Summer Sharp-Shinned (Hawk)
An unexpected capture: North America's smallest hawk. Which conveniently gave us a chance to outline raptor biology.
The March of the Baby Killdeer
Learn about precocial life strategies and the biology of a common grassland bird by watching hatchlings stumble around.
Banding the First Barred Owl in our History
Chronicling the most exciting capture of 2021: the first Barred Owl captured and banded in the Beaverhill Natural Area in the BBO's history!
The Least (But Not Last) Flycatcher
The ecology of the Least Flycatcher, one of the most common breeding birds in the Natural Area and also one that's in a bit of peril.
Talking About My Favourite Bird - The American Kestrel
American kestrels are rad. They're tiny falcons that hover hunt and like to live in boxes. And they're super pretty. What's not to love?
Slow Motion Release of a Pileated Woodpecker
This Pileated Woodpecker is only the third captured in BBO's entire 37 year history, and is exciting enough to make a video on just by merit of that. We also filmed it flying away in slow mo.
The Many Shades of Myrtle
Yellow-Rumped Warblers, affectionately known as Butterbutts, are a boreal migrant that comes in a variety of colours depending on the year. In this video, we look at several individuals at various stages of their fall molt.
The Phantom Wren-Ace
House Wrens are a ubiquitous sighting in many human dominated environments, known for their constant singing and their high tolerance of humans. Their song is also used for literally every single travel show for some reason.
The Only Ten I See
The Tennessee Warbler is a bit of a departure from typical warbler fashion, in that when it gets dressed up for the breeding season it opts for a more distinguished grey. They're also not at all from Tennessee.
Ovenbirds: The Baker's Favourite
Ovenbirds are a striking, yet difficult to spot boreal migrant that bears a striking resemblance to forest thrushes; so striking that you'd expect them to be directly related. They're not.
Red-Eyed Vireos - An Overachieving Songbird
Red eyed vireos are a bird that sings for so long and so frequently that its song is inseparable from forests. They'll keep singing well into late August, well after it's still necessary. They also feed in a hilariously violent way.
Banding Adorable Baby Birds... For SCIENCE!
Tree swallows are a rapidly declining species that extensively utilize the natural area, making them an excellent subject for study. Watch as we band the tree swallow chicks from the 300 boxes set up throughout the area.
The Cat(bird) Says Meow... And A Lot Of Other Things
Grey Catbirds, as might be expected from a bird that has you searching the bushes for a lost cat, are accomplished mimics that can frustrate birders by sounding like things they very much aren't.
The Insanity That Is Bird Colouration
Birds are one of the most colourful animal groups on Earth, and stand out even for untrained observers. How they produce those colours is a fascinating process, that involves deriving pigments from strange sources and even manipulating optical physics itself.
Rose Breasted Grosbeaks Are Champion Biters
Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks are a cardinal ally, with a bite to match. They're also one of a few species that's been documented exhibiting bilateral gynandromorphism, one of the more bizarre things birds sometimes do.
Birds can Live Ridiculously Long Lives
As anyone whose grandmother inflicted a pet parrot on them can attest, birds can live surprisingly long lives. Wild birds are no exception, and banding reveals that some can live even longer than you'd expect. The feats they accomplish over those lifespans are nothing short of astounding.
Woodpeckers are utter oddballs and we love them for it
Woodpeckers, and in this case specifically yellow-bellied sapsuckers, are a relatively rare catch at most bird observatories, and are always a welcome treat to handle. They're also utter oddballs as far as even birds go, and refuse to do anything normally, from feeding to moulting.
The Laziest Bird Parent
Brown-Headed Cowbirds are quite possibly one of the laziest parents of the bird world. Instead of putting in the work to raise their chicks, they just make it someone else's problem. It's also not a unique strategy: European cuckoos famously do that too, and evolved it independently.
A Warbler with an Identity Crisis
Most warblers prefer to stay high in trees, but the black-and-white warbler is a bit of an oddball, preferring to climb over trees like a nuthatch. In doing so, it finds resources other birds couldn't.
Baltimore Orioles: the Gorgeous Golden Bird
Baltimore Orioles are a gorgeous, exciting bird that has been sighted around the observatory in surprisingly high numbers. Learn more about their taxonomy and the origin of their name in this episode of BirdBytes.
White Throated Sparrows have a bizarre split personality
White Throated Sparrows have two different morphs, affected at hatching by a biological coin flip. They aren't different species or even subspecies, but they look different and act even more so.
The Chickadee's Wrath
Black-capped chickadees are legendary among ornithologists for their complete fearlessness, which unfortunately translates to them being very difficult (and painful) to handle.
Picky Hand-Feeding Birds in Slow Motion
Chickadees can be trained, with some patience (or by knowing of a place where they've already been trained), to take seeds from your hand. This would be an alarming display of habituation from anything other than a feeder bird.
The Weirdest Owl Noise
Owls don't always hoot; they have a whole language of trills, squeaks and whistles. Rickie in particular has a common contact call that sounds completely unlike what you'd expect from an owl.
Peregrines are more like fighter jets than you think!
Peregrines, the masters of speed, have some odd adaptations to actually survive those speeds. Learns about one of them in this new episode of BirdBytes.
A Falcon's Unusual Blink in Slow Motion
In this special episode of BirdBytes, we introduce the second member of our educational team: Maple the peregrine falcon! Birds have a unique third eyelid to protect their eyes: watch these strange blinks in slow motion.
The Owl World's Hide and Seek Champion
In this episode of BirdBytes, join us for an overview of Northern Saw-Whet Owls, the second smallest owl in Canada, as well as a formal introduction to Rickie, the owl featured in previous episodes and an educational ambassador for our yearly BirdSmart program.
Owls and their Fascinating Telescope Eyes
In this episode of BirdBytes, I talk about the extreme adaptations owls have evolved to fit their nocturnal lifestyle, specifically focusing on their eyesight.
BirdBytes - Mobbed by Chickadees!
While filming some test footage with our educational owl Rickie, I was discovered by some of the local chickadees, who loudly voiced their annoyance that I'd brought an adorable predator into their midst. I took the opportunity to talk about mobbing behaviour in the pilot episode of BirdBytes, our new short video series.