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

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

Expand Image
Photo: Courtesy Jessica Linton
Photo: Jeffrey Hamilton
Expand Image
Photo: Jeffrey Hamilton
Expand Image
Photo: Jeffrey Hamilton
Expand Image

Related Content

Timber wolves in captivity

Wildlife

The big bad wolf?

Exploring our love-hate relationship with the wolf

  • 2369 words
  • 10 minutes
Two coastal wolves howl standing on wet sand in front of a blue ocean

Wildlife

The amazing sea wolves of the Great Bear Rainforest

First Nations and scientists work side by side to better understand — and protect — coastal wolves living in the Great Bear Rainforest

  • 1521 words
  • 7 minutes
A grizzly bear lies dead on the side of the road

Wildlife

Animal crossing: Reconnecting North America’s most important wildlife corridor

This past summer an ambitious wildlife under/overpass system broke ground in B.C. on a deadly stretch of highway just west of the Alberta border. Here’s how it happened.

  • 3625 words
  • 15 minutes
illegal wildlife trade, elephant foot, ivory, biodiversity

Wildlife

The illegal wildlife trade is a biodiversity apocalypse

An estimated annual $175-billion business, the illegal trade in wildlife is the world’s fourth-largest criminal enterprise. It stands to radically alter the animal kingdom.

  • 3405 words
  • 14 minutes