Wildlife

Wildlife Wednesday: All-star hummingbirds, a “landscape of fear” and newborn whooping cranes

Your weekly CanGeo round-up of wildlife news

  • Jun 07, 2021
  • 188 words
  • 1 minutes
A rufous hummingbird flying Expand Image
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Hey now: hummingbirds are an “all-star”

West coasters should rejoice in seeing a feisty rufous hummingbird buzz by. Turns out the success of this tiny flier is an important indicator of a healthy ecosystem — and may be key to protecting other species. A recent article in National Geographic noted “We often save the most charismatic species. Is it time to think beyond pandas and tigers?” That article zeroed in on research by UBC’s Adam Ford and Sarah Falconer, who found the hummingbird was a best indicator, or “surrogate,” species (surrogate species are plants and animals whose health is an indicator of the overall health of an entire landscape). In other words, if you see lots of hummingbirds, it’s a very good sign for all kinds of flora and fauna. The researchers’ list of 10 “all-star” B.C. surrogates also includes three carnivores (the American black bear, coyote and grey wolf), two ungulates (the rocky mountain elk and mule deer), two other birds (the barn swallow and tree swallow) and one smaller mammal (the long-tailed weasel). 

Mottled duskywing takes flight

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Photo: Courtesy Jessica Linton
Photo: Jeffrey Hamilton
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Photo: Jeffrey Hamilton
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Photo: Jeffrey Hamilton
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