Nuthatches: Cute and Tough as Well

  You've really got to love nuthatches. Next to the Black-capped Chickadee they're probably the most common small native songbird that Albertans are likely to see in parks and backyard feeders, but nuthatches are still enjoyable to watch and worth getting to know better. There are two species in Alberta that we'll touch on, as well as one just over the border and another more cryptic nuthatch-like bird.  Nuthatches are a bird family of their own, the Sittidae, and in general are small, stubby woodland birds with chisel-shaped bills for getting inside seed casings. They're little balls of energy too, always zipping around looking for food or defending their territory from other breeding pairs. Nuthatches cling to tree trunks almost like tiny woodpeckers. Alberta's two nuthatch species are the Red-breasted Nuthatch ( Sitta canadensis ) and the White-breasted Nuthatch ( Sitta carolinensis ). Luckily for novice birdwatchers, they're easy to tell apart. While both ar

Alberta Palaeontology, a Summary

Alberta, more than any other part of Canada, is renowned for its dinosaur fossil record. In fact, it's one of the top places in the world to find dinosaur bones, a fact that too often escapes many citizens of the province who take it for granted. When it comes to the science of vertebrate palaeontology in Alberta, there's so much to explore and appreciate. From The history of dinosaur hunting in the province, its prehistoric ecology, the biology and lives of the creatures preserved here, and the geological processes that not only fossilized them but exposed them to our eye today... All of this is worth learning more about, and as a lifelong fossil fanatic, I can't wait to begin. To be clear up front, this is far from a totally complete overview of the vast science of palaeontology in Alberta. For starters, we'll be keeping to the province's Mesozoic fossil record, meaning the time of the dinosaurs, and will leave the 'Ice Age' stuff for, hopefully, its own e