Yukon Wildlife

Yukon Wildlife Stories

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    Issue: 2017-04-26, PHOTO: Town of Faro

    Wild Times

    “They're a much more delicate bird, compared to the swans,” says Carrie McClelland, a wildlife viewing biologist with Environment Yukon. “They stand three and a half to four feet tall, with a six foot wingspan, but they only weigh around seven or... more

    Apr 26, 2017

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    Issue: 2017-04-12, Photo: Courtesy of Environment Yukon

    CAUTION: Bison bison athabascae

    The first time I saw this sign, I had to stop and pull over on the side of the road to make sure I had read it correctly. It was early spring in 2012 and I was travelling up the Alaska Highway for the first of what would be uncountable times... more

    Apr 12, 2017

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    Issue: 2017-04-05, PHOTO: Jennifer Trapnell

    Look Who’s Parking in Whitehorse

    One of the world’s most urban birds has parked itself in downtown Whitehorse. The house sparrow, a small chirpy songbird, is now a familiar sight at downtown grocery store parking lots and other places where food is handy. Unrelated to North... more

    Apr 5, 2017

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    Issue: 2017-03-29, PHOTO: courtesy of Scott Cameron

    Spring Guests

    If the crocus is the official flower of spring, then the swan must be the official bird of spring in the Yukon. Each year thousands of swans ascend to the Yukon from winter feeding grounds along the coasts of Washington and southern British Columbia. more

    Mar 29, 2017

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    Issue: 2017-03-08, Screenshot: Jennifer Trapnell

    Birding on the Fly

    I’ve joined her in a Riverdale neighbourhood in search of a rare Mountain chickadee. The first species we see, however, is a noisy woodpecker, a “Hairy.” Whitehorse resident Tracy Allard brings out her smartphone and taps an app called eBird to... more

    Mar 8, 2017

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    Issue: 2017-02-08, PHOTO: Gerry Whitley

    Why Fly South When You Can Tough it out Here

    Mary Whitley felt surprise and compassion when she saw a robin perched in a tree in her Hillcrest yard on December 9th. It was -19ºC — and a strange place for a bird that heralds Yukon spring. Her husband saw it first. “He looked out the window... more

    Feb 8, 2017

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    Issue: 2017-01-18, Photo: graphicstock

    Winter Bird Feeding

    I feed the birds in winter because it makes me feel good to do it and the birds certainly seem to enjoy it as well. Squirrels certainly take advantage of the situation, but seem to be much less interested in the feeders that do not contain... more

    Jan 18, 2017

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    Issue: 2017-01-11, PHOTO: Fritz Mandl

    A Cozy Place to Spend the Winter

    Fritz Mandl was enjoying a sunny day at Army Beach in September when he came across what looked like a dying butterfly. The fragile insect was flying past him on a cold gust of northern wind when it suddenly dropped from the air and went limp, ... more

    Jan 11, 2017

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    Issue: 2016-12-07, PHOTO: Paul Rath

    A Gang of Elk, An Obstinacy of Bison

    In our exploration of colourful collective nouns used to describe groups of animals, we have learned that many of these terms have come to us from the Late Middle Ages, more than 500 years ago. Some of these quaint words were collected in the Book... more

    Dec 7, 2016

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    Issue: 2016-11-30, PHOTO: Cameron Eckert

    The Yukon’s Winter Mermaid: The American Dipper

    A happy melodic song rings along the Yukon River below the dam, and you imagine it’s a pretty little bird singing in a tree. But it’s 10 below. Then you notice a small chubby bird, coloured like slate, sitting on boulders near the rushing water... more

    Nov 30, 2016

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    Issue: 2016-11-16, PHOTO: by Paul Rath

    Collective Nouns for Birds Near and Far

    In my last article, we learned that many collective nouns originated in the Late Middle Ages, and were recorded in The Book of Saint Albans. Collective nouns are the words used to describe groups of things. We refer to a flight of stairs without... more

    Nov 16, 2016

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    Issue: 2016-11-02, PHOTO: by Paul Rath

    Collective Nouns For Animal Groups- Near and Far

    Swans, hummingbirds and penguins, for example, have more than wings and feathers in common. They each have a collective noun, too. Here is a rudimentary grammar lesson: nouns are the names of people, places or things: toddler, island or bird... more

    Nov 2, 2016

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    Issue: 2016-10-19, PHOTO: by Jozien Keijzer

    A Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis)

    I am pleased to announce that I recently had my first encounter with a sandhill crane. I have never gone to the Crane and Sheep Festival in Faro, which is held in May, and the time and place when the cranes fly over the town. Years ago, I saw... more

    Oct 19, 2016

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    Issue: 2016-10-06, PHOTO: by Paul Rath

    Ptarmigan: Nothing but facts

    The Ptarmigan is the territorial bird of the Yukon. Ed. Note: The distinction of being known as the Yukon's territorial bird goes to the raven, which, Canada Post recently announced, is to be featured on a stamp. Ravens are more widespread than... more

    Oct 6, 2016

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    Issue: 2016-10-06, Photo: by Nancy Ohm

    To go where few people go: I wonder if that is why we saw four wolverines playing?

    On August 13, my friend Nancy Ohm and I went for a hike in my backyard. I've been working on a walking trail towards the mountains for 20 years. I am making slow process, using only a small ax and clippers. Lately, I have seen signs of people, ... more

    Oct 6, 2016

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    On memory, and bears

    This is a story from many years ago, about the day I was followed by four bears - a close-call bear encounter kind of story. I was on a solstice hike up Kelvin Mountain with Allison Morham and Jane Vincent. Jane and I see each other regularly, but... more

    Sep 22, 2016

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    Issue: 2016-09-15, PHOTO: Keith Williams

    Getting Ready for Fall and Winter Birding

    We’re getting ready for winter and so are the birds. They’re chirping and feeding everywhere and the sky is alive with flocks of all kinds. It’s so busy one of Yukon’s most avid birders, Tracey Allard, says fall can seem like spring for a few weeks. more

    Sep 15, 2016

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    Issue: 2016-08-04, PHOTO: by Jozien Keijzer

    Avoiding Calamity with Bears

    Yes, bear stories, undoubtedly a favourite topic in the Yukon and one that gets people talking. As I write here, there is a black bear poking around on our property. I have never had a true calamity involving a bear in my 30 years of hiking and... more

    Aug 4, 2016


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    Issue: 2016-07-14, PHOTO: Ben Schonewille

    Summer Birding: It’s All About the Kids

    In summer, birding is all about the kids. Or, chicks. After the spring blitz of migration and mating, many birds are rearing offspring and staying closer to their nests. It’s a time when many Yukoners stop birding. “Our forests are usually more... more

    Jul 14, 2016

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    Issue: 2016-06-02, PHOTO: Cameron Eckert

    Putting the WOW in Tombstone Park

    Looking for a memorable northern road trip? The 17th annual Tombstone Weekend on the Wing (WOW) offers three days of fabulous hiking, a birding festival and interpretive events for all ages. The weekend of free events takes place June 3 to 5 and... more

    Jun 2, 2016

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