Purdon Conservation Area: Flowers and Birds ( in Russian)

Located at a distance of around 100 km from Ottawa, Purdon Conservation Area keeps the colony of one of the most beautiful orchids: Showy Lady’s Slipper. This conservation area started from the moment when the local man who valued the beauty found amazing flowers on his property and decided to preserve them that others could also observe these pearls of nature.  This is the largest colony of Showy Lady’s Slipper in Canada. And now it is the right time to visit this area.


Место проведения

В эту субботу проводим экскурсию на территорию, которая расположена примерно в 100 км от Оттавы, называется место – Purdon Conservation Area. Ссылка на место встречи приведена ниже. Основная дорога к этому месту ведет через Алмонте и называется Wolf Grove Rd. (Rd 16) – на подъезде к территории есть указатели. Встречаемся в 9 часов утра на нижней парковке, которая расположена у входа на деревянную дорожку, ведущую к колонии. После болота мы сделаем небольшой круг (около 3 км) вокруг озера и в лесу, гле обитают пиранги и иволги.,-76.545074,15z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x2b2ab53cabd47c9b!8m2!3d44.9935306!4d-76.545074

Предмет экскурсии

Здесь охраняется самая большая в Канаде колония венерина башмачка королевы (Cypripedium reginae).

Эти орхидеи растут во влажной болотистой почве. Они начинают раскрываться во второй половине июня и обычно цветут до начала июля. Лучшее время для наблюдения за цветами – раннее утро. В субботу ожидается легкий дождь, а это означает, что цветы будут слегка сбрызнуты влагой и не будет резких теней – обещая наилучшие условия для художественной фотографии.

А так же…

Кроме венериных башмачков на болоте растет еще много уникальных растений, которые мы постараемся определить. А вокруг – в лесу, на болоте и в заливах озера – обитают яркие птицы, такие как балтиморская иволга и красно-черное пиранга и еще много разных видов, включая одну из американских кукушек. Слышали о таких? Видели их вокруг Оттавы? Интересуетесь узнать больше? Тогда присоединяйтесь к нашей экскурсии!
Количество мест ограничено!

Форма одежды

Спортивная. Рекомендуется одежда с длинным рукавом, как дополнительная защита от комаров и солнца.
А так же необходимо взять с собой защитные средства от комаров и солнца.


Регистрация на экскурсию:


Amazing American Songbirds or American Warblers

At the end of April – May, the migration of small songbirds begins in Ontario. By their small size and tinny graceful beaks, they resemble the warblers of the Old World. Warblers of the Old World belong to the Phylloscopus genus and include small insectivorous birds found in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Most of the American small songbird species, occupying similar ecological niches and specializing in insect hunting,  are also called “warblers”. However, taxonomists distinguish warblers of the Old and New World. They place the American species in the family Parulidae or New World Wood Warblers. American “wood” warblers are very different from “true” warblers and have just some morphological similarities, related to adaptation and life to comparable environmental conditions. New World wood-warblers are small passerines that are also mostly insectivorous. During migration and at breeding sites, they vigorously examine trees and shrubs, skillfully extracting insects and arachnids from foliage and inflorescences, from the bark of trees and shrubs, and from other hidden places.

The Latin name of the New World wood warblers’ family – Parulidae – is associated with tits. The Old World tits belong to the genus Parus, described by Carl Linnaeus in 1758. Linnaeus, however, described one of the North American wood warblers – as the “American tit” – Parus americanus. The bird’s Latin name was soon slightly changed, retaining the root. This bird recently still was called Parula americana or Northern Parula and just recently was moved by taxonomists in another genus. Its Latin name now is Setophaga americana. However, the common name “Parula” is originated from the title given to this species by Carl Linnaeus. The entire wood-warbler family name – Parulidae – comes also from a Latin name designating tits – Parus and may be interpreted as “tit-like”. Obviously, both the species and the entire family have nothing to do with either tits or Old World warblers. However, our perception of passerine birds connects these unrelated taxonomic groups. Taxonomists consolidated the name of the family in 1947, highlighting the genus Parula as a type. It is noteworthy that the parula really looks somewhat like a tit: it has a slightly bluish color and when examining trees, especially birches, it can hang upside down, deftly clinging to thin twigs with its long fingers.

The New World Warblers – representatives of this family – occur entirely in the Americas. The family unites small insectivorous birds, many of which are brightly colored, especially males. All American warblers are rather small birds. The smallest species is Lucy’s Warbler (Oreothlypis luciae), weighing about 6.5 g with a length of a little more than 10 cm. Relatively large songbirds are Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla) and Northern Waterthrush (Parkensia noveboracensis) with weight up to 25-28 g and length up to 15-16 cm. Most part of the birds from Parulidae family is associated with forest and shrub communities, nesting in shrub branches and in tree crowns. But there are also species that prefer to settle the nests on the ground, camouflaging them among the roots of trees.

Currently, 119 species of songbirds, belonging to 18 genera, have been listed to the family. It is believed that American warblers were originated and evolved in the northern part of Central America, where even now their species diversity is very great. During the interglacial periods, they spread far to the north, forming a group of long-distant seasonal migrants that fly to nest far beyond the tropical zones in the forested-tundra and taiga of North America.

These birds are found on migration in the Ottawa River Valley on their way to nesting sites in the northern boreal forests. The first migrants arrive in the Ottawa area in late April – early May. It is remarkable that some of the northernmost migrants appear in the northern latitude in late spring-early summer, they can be observed in the parks of Toronto or Ottawa only in late May-early June; they also begin to fly back prompt as early or mid-August. Thus, these birds have adapted to breed in a relatively short nesting season – one and a half to two months. In this period, they need to form pairs, find nesting territories, lay clutches, hatch, and raise chicks. Therefore, the size of clutches in migratory American warblers is quite large, they incubate up to 6-7 eggs and then feed large broods. For comparison, the tropical warblers from the same family usually have clutches with 2-3 eggs.

From May to early June, about 30 species of American warblers migrate through Ontario. Many of them stay for breeding in the orchards, parks, fields, and wetlands around large and small towns. But most migrants fly to the central and northern parts of the province and beyond its territory for nesting in boreal forests. Some the migratory songbirds, such as the Myrtle or Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata), American Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia), or Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas), are abundant and highly visible, while others are not always easy to spot even by a skilled naturalist. They migrate invisibly and quickly, trying to get to nesting places in northern latitudes as soon as possible. Many of those songbirds are characterized by a narrow food specialization. In nesting places, they hunt certain types of insect pests and caterpillars. In years when outbreaks of insect pests are observed, the populations of species-“specialists” also increases, then gradually reducing in accordance with the available natural resources.

It is not easy to spot many songbirds in the breeding places. Even having the bright color of plumage, they dissolve among the leaves of trees in the changeable play of light and shadow. But the presence of many species can be recognized by listening to their characteristic song. Some bird count techniques are based on the knowledge of bird songs and calls. For example, the famous “point count” method includes the identification of all birds around by their songs and calls from one point. The monitoring of breeding birds in North America has been conducted for over 50 years. Any citizen who has an interest in birds and their conservation may contribute his or her “two cents” to one of the bird monitoring programs by joining one of the environmental programs of Birds Canada, for example to the program on the Breeding Bird Survey or Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas. You also can contribute your bird knowledge to the citizen science program on birds survey – ebird, which holds the global database, collecting bird observation data from all naturalists.

Our Planet, Our Future: SEU Didgest, No21

Dear friends and co-fighters,

Welcome to the next issue of Positive News. Let you spread it among your friends and co-fighters in your countries and around the Earth. Please, send me the addresses of your friends and colleagues to be included in the list. I will be glad to receive and publish your positive news from the fields and offices. If you know sites or mailing lists where I can find positive news for our digestы, please send me their addresses.

Sviatoslav Zabelin, SEU coordinator

An Urgent Call for Action

This statement was inspired by the discussions at the 2021 Nobel Prize Summit, issued by the Steering Committee and co-signed by Nobel Laureates and experts.

“It seems appropriate to assign the term ‘Anthropocene’ to the present.” Paul Crutzen (Nobel Laureate 1995). Geologists call the last 12,000 years the Holocene epoch. A remarkable feature of this period has been relative Earth-system stability. But the stability of the Holocene is behind us now. Human societies are now the prime driver of change in Earth’s living sphere – the biosphere. The fate of the biosphere and human societies embedded within it is now deeply intertwined and evolving together. Earth has entered a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene. Evidence points to the 1950s as the onset of the Anthropocene – a single human lifetime ago. The Anthropocene epoch is more likely to be characterized by speed, scale, and shock at global levels. The global commons. Global heating and habitat loss amount to nothing less than a vast and uncontrolled experiment on Earth’s life-support system. Multiple lines of evidence now show that, for the first time in our existence, our actions are destabilizing critical parts of the Earth system that determine the state of the planet. For 3 million years, global mean temperature increases have not exceeded 2oC of global warming, yet that is what is in prospect within this century. We are on a path that has taken us to 1.2oC warming so far – the warmest temperature on Earth since we left the last ice age some 20,000 years ago, and which will take us to >3oC warming in 80 years. At the same time, we are losing Earth resilience, having transformed half of Earth’s land outside of the ice sheets, largely through farming expansion. Of an estimated 8 million species on Earth, about 1 million are under threats. Since 1970s, there has been an estimated 68% decline in the populations of vertebrate species.

Inequality. “The only sustainable prosperity is shared prosperity.” Joseph Stiglitz (Nobel Laureate 2001) While all societies contribute to economic growth, the wealthy in most societies disproportionately take the largest share of this growing wealth. This trend has become more pronounced in recent decades. In highly unequal societies, with wide disparities in areas such as health care and education, the poorest are more likely to remain trapped in poverty across several generations. More equal societies tend to score highly on metrics of well-being and happiness. Reducing inequality raises social capital. There is a greater sense of community and more trust in government. These factors make it easier to make collective, long-term decisions. Humanity’s future depends on the ability to make long-term, collective decisions to navigate the Anthropocene.

Technology. The accelerating technological revolution — including information technology, artificial intelligence, and synthetic biology — will impact inequality, jobs, and entire economies, with disruptive consequences. On aggregate, technological advancements so far have accelerated us down the path toward destabilizing the planet. Without guidance, technological evolution is unlikely to lead to transformations toward sustainability. It will be critical to guide the technological revolution deliberately and strategically in the coming decades to support societal goals.

Planetary stewardship. “We must break down the walls that have previously kept science and the public apart and that have encouraged distrust and ignorance to spread unchecked. If anything prevents human beings from rising to the current challenge, it will be these barriers.” Jennifer Doudna (Nobel Laureate 2020). Effective planetary stewardship requires updating our Holocene mindset. We must act on the urgency, the scale, and the interconnectivity between us and our home, planet Earth. More than anything, planetary stewardship will be facilitated by enhancing social capital — building trust within societies and between societies.

Is a new worldview possible? 193 nations have adopted the SDGs. The global pandemic has contributed to a broader recognition of global interconnectivity, fragility, and risk. Where they possess the economic power to do so, more people are increasingly making more sustainable choices regarding transportation, consumption, and energy. They are often ahead of their governments. And increasingly, the sustainable options, for example solar and wind power, are similar in price to fossil fuel alternatives or cheaper — and getting cheaper.

The question at a global systems level today is not whether humanity will transition away from fossil fuels. The question is: Will we do it fast enough? Solutions, from electric mobility to zero-carbon energy carriers and sustainable food systems, are today often following exponential curves of advancement and adoption. How do we lock this in? The following seven proposals provide a foundation for effective planetary stewardship

The City of New York has filed a lawsuit in state court against Exxon Mobil (XOM), Shell, BP (BP), and the American Petroleum Institute for allegedly misleading New York consumers about the role their products play in climate change and for allegedly “greenwashing” their practices to make them seem more eco-friendly than they are. “Three of the largest oil and gas companies and their top industry trade association—have systematically and intentionally misled consumers in New York City…about the central role their products play in causing the climate crisis,” the lawsuit states. “They have engaged in this deceptive conduct both to compete against growing safer energy options and to distinguish themselves from industry competitors as they vie for consumer dollars.”

Boats laden with seagrass seeds set off from Plymouth Harbour on Wednesday as England’s largest seagrass restoration project got underway. Led by Natural England, the LIFE Recreation ReMEDIES programme will plant eight hectares of biodiverse seagrass meadows off the coast of southern England over the next four years. The project aims to turn the tide for the beleaguered ecosystems, which have declined by 90 percent in the last century due to pollution, trawling and coastal development. Reckoned to sequester carbon 35 times faster than a tropical rainforest, the meadows provide a haven for seahorses and other marine life.  

Trees will no longer be cut down in this 950 sq km (236,000-acre) area after the land was bought by a coalition of conservation organisations to save one of the world’s last pristine rainforests from deforestation. “The forest will now be protected in perpetuity,” says Kay. The news is timed to coincide with Earth Day, the annual event established in 1970 to mobilize action on environmental issues. The newly named Belize Maya Forest is part of 150,000 sq km (38m acres) of tropical forest across Mexico, Belize and Guatemala known as the Selva Maya, a biodiversity hotspot and home to five species of wild cat (jaguars, margay, ocelot, jaguarundi, and puma), spider monkeys, howler monkeys and hundreds of bird species. Combined with the adjacent Rio Bravo Reserve, Belize Maya Forest creates a protected area that covers 9% of Belize’s landmass, a critical “puzzle piece” in the Selva Maya forest region, helping secure a vital wildlife corridor across northern Guatemala, southern Mexico, and Belize. Protecting large areas of pristine rainforests will help mitigate the impacts of the climate crisis. “Forests like these hold vast amounts of carbon,” says Julie Robinson, Belize programme director for the Nature Conservancy, one of the partners behind the acquisition. “We’re at a tipping point, so it’s really important to try to reverse the trend we’re on.” The area was owned by the Forestland Group, a US company that had permits for sustainable logging. When it came up for sale, the Nature Conservancy and others, including Rainforest Trust, World Land Trust, University of Belize Environmental Research Institute, and Wildlife Conservation Society, saw an opportunity to buy the land

Saimaa Geopark has been granted UNESCO Global Geopark (UGG) status by the UNESCO Governing Body. The matter was announced today, Thursday, April 22, 2021 at 3 pm (Finnish time) in Paris. Recognition of the status will continue the development work of Saimaa Geopark, focusing on international nature tourism and bringing vitality to the region, as well as strengthening environmental education with stakeholders in the region. The vitality has been also strengthened by cooperating with entrepreneurs in different projects and creating a Saimaa Geopark Partner network. All the activities of the network are based on principles of sustainable development and the United Nations Agenda 2030 goals. 

Starting in 2004, Asiatic black bears Ursus thibetanus were reintroduced and tracked in the Republic of Korea, along with their descendants, using radio telemetry, yielding 33,924 tracking points over 12 years. Along with information about habitat use, landscape, and resource availability, we estimated the population equilibrium and dispersal capability of the reintroduced population. Researchers used a mixed modeling approach to determine suitable habitat areas, population equilibria for three different resources-based scenarios, and least-cost pathways (i.e. corridors) for dispersal. The population simulations provided a mean population equilibrium of 64 individuals at the original reintroduction site and a potential maximum of 1,438 individuals in the country. The simulation showed that the bear population will disperse to nearby mountainous areas, but a second reintroduction will be required to fully restore U. thibetanus. Northern suitable habitats are currently disconnected and natural re-population is unlikely to happen unless supported. Our methodologies and findings are also relevant for determining the outcome and trajectories of reintroduced populations of other large carnivores (Andersen et al., 2021).

Magnificent Zonotrichia-American Sparrow Species

In the spring, noticeable small “sparrows” appear on forest paths in the green belt of Ottawa. They often stay on the ground among the grass, collecting seeds of cereals and small weeds. Their modest variegated striped brownish coloration resembles sparrows. However, these passerines have only external similarities to real sparrows. For a long time, they belonged to Emberizidae (bunting) Family, and only recently they, together with other American sparrows, were singled out into a new family, which is called the Passerellidae or New World Sparrows. Five representatives of this vast family belong to the genus Zonotrichia or American sparrows. All birds from this genus have brown backs with black stripes and streaks and heads with distinctive markings – white, yellow, or black. Four of five species are North American dwellers and one – the rufous-collared sparrow – inhabits highlands from southeast of Mexico to Tierra del Fuego in the extreme south of South America.

White-throated Sparrow during migration in Ottawa area

The white-throated sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) is a Canadian patriot. If you enter the forest and hear whistles coming from the tree crowns resembling melodic and solemn “Oh! Canada! Sweet Canada, Canada, Canada“, then know that the singer lurking in the branches is a white-throated sparrow. This bird is widespread in the forest zone of North America. Small portion of the species population nests in the northeastern part of the United States, but nevertheless, the main breeding range of this sparrow covers the boreal forests of Canada. Some pairs of white-throated sparrows stay for nesting in Ottawa’s Greenbelt, but most of the birds fly for breeding to the north in boreal and taiga regions. For example, in Algonquin Park, the white-throated sparrow is one of the most abundant passerine birds. Its songs pour from almost every corner of the forest in the quiet morning from late spring to mid-summer. This sparrow begins to sing first at dawn – even before sunrise. On migration, the white-throated sparrow is also very widely distributed. It loves to visit bird feeders in green areas around towns and cities. And for the winter, most part white-throated sparrows migrate to the United States, where wintering birds can be seen even in Central Park in New York. More information about this bird you will find on pages of the Cornell Lab “All about birds”.

The white-crowned sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) is a bird that breeds in the northern latitudes of North America – in the northern boreal forests, taiga, and forested tundra of Canada and Alaska. This sparrow inhabits shrub thickets and other bushy areas. In the migration season, the white-crowned sparrows may be observed in temperate zones of North America. They are often observed along trails, on grassy lawns, and in meadows in the green areas in mid-latitudes, where they collect small seeds of weeds and cereals, as well as small insects and other invertebrates. However, even during migration, they prefer to stay close to forests and can be spotted in many provincial parks of Ontario. In autumn, this sparrow does not appear early; it is a late migrant, which passage takes place in October. It migrates for wintering to the southern United States, sometimes reaching Mexico and Central America. Back migration in Southern Ontario takes place in early-mid May. At this time, white-crowned sparrows sometimes combine with white-throated, which also return to their breeding areas. Their joint flocks of both species can be seen feeding in dandelion meadows, under bird feeders on forest paths, and near houses. Near Ottawa, the first white-crowned sparrows appear at the end of April, and at the end of May, they already fly further north. The presence of white-crowned sparrows in the forest also gives out a characteristic melodic song. Males of this sparrow learn the songs in the places where they grow up (All about birds), they usually come back for breeding in the same places and therefore they have diverse local dialects of song and need to learn several dialects when living at the edge of the population range.

While hiking in one of the parks in Vancouver, my attention was attracted by small birds, which resembled females of the white-crowned sparrows, both in appearance and in behavior. But looking closer, I noticed “golden” caps – yellow spots in the center of the head and wide black “eyebrows” attaching from both sides to the yellow caps. These birds were immediately identified as the golden-crowned sparrows (Zonotrichia atricapilla), which inhabit the taiga forests in the uplands of the western edge of North America. The breeding grounds of these sparrows are stretched from northern Alaska and the Aleutian Islands to the central regions of the Yukon province in Canada. In fall, golden-crowned sparrows migrate along the Pacific Coast to the south of British Columbia, western United States reaching on wintering southern California. The white-crowned sparrow inhabits dense shrubs and other brushy areas. These sparrows are often found in many parks of Vancouver, where they, like other species of this genus, gather to feed under bird feeders. Just like their relatives, golden-crowned sparrows prefer to feed on the ground, collecting small seeds of cereals and other plants. Song mnemonics of this species are described in “Dendroica” as whistles “Oh! Deer me” or “ Teeeewwww twee twee”. Although miners from the Yukon hear their song as “No gold here” (All about birds). This species is also known for its vagrant behavior: individual birds during periods of seasonal migrations reach the Far East in Russia and Japan. Also, a small number of sparrows sometimes roam along the eastern coasts of North America, where they are observed from Nova Scotia to Florida.

My daughter and I were walking with heavy backpacks through the streets of the town of Banos in the province of Tungurahua in Ecuador. The town is adjacent to the northern foot of the active volcano Tungurahua in the Andes at an altitude of about 1800 m above sea level. Several “sparrows” with a melodious voice were jumping along the narrow streets of the town. We could see them only when we reached the hotel and dropped our backpacks. The remarkable features of the external appearance made it possible to quickly identify the species. These were the rufous-collared or “Andean” sparrows (Zonotrichia capensis) – a species that inhabit South America. This sparrow is distributed from Mexico in North America to the Tierra del Fuego archipelago on the southern tip of the continent. In July, when we voyaged and had a chance to observe these birds, rufous-collared sparrows roamed. They begin to nest in the Andes in December-January. Traveling in summer, we saw rufous-collared sparrows only in mountainous areas. Small flocks of sparrows were found both in their natural environment and in the vicinity of human habitation. However, they were most abundant in the streets of small mountain settlements. Like their northern relatives, the rufous-collared sparrows justify their recognition as the “plantain finches”, vigorously looking for food – seeds of plants and invertebrates – along the roadsides and among the grass on the meadows of mountain slopes. Their energetic song is reminiscent of the voices of their articulated fellows from North America.

Harris’s sparrow (Zonotrichia querula) is the largest species among Zonotrichia genus. The breeding habitats of this species are known in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, therefore, it is the only endemic breeding bird in Canada. Harris’s sparrow occurs in low-growing, stunted coniferous forests with adjoining shrubs in the forest-tundra regions. Because of its remote breeding areas, the first nest of Harris’s sparrow was found only in 1931 in Churchill, Manitoba by George M. Sutton (All about birds). This species overwinters in the United States, flying south in October over the prairies and mountainous regions of central Canada. They usually return back at the end of April-May, preferring to travel across the mountainous valleys to flying among the open prairies. Perhaps, the mountains allow better orientation in space and facilitate the return back to the beginning of the breeding season. In the nesting places, Harris’s sparrows feed on the ground, eating small berries, buds, and flowers, as well as small invertebrates. During migration and wintering, they also feed on the ground, collecting the seeds of herbaceous plants. The species can be recognized by its vivid whistling song. Harris’s sparrow is classified as Near Threatened by IUCN due to declining population that could be associated with climate change impact on the restricted habitats of this species.

One day in October I saw this species near one of the trails in the Ottawa Greenbelt. It was a bright adult male, but while I was preparing the camera, the sparrow disappeared and I could not take a photo of this species. It could be an individual that accidentally drifted from his usual route. Without documentation, I did not even include the species in the list of birds observed that day online in ebird.

It is the time now when two of the five listed species have already appeared in the Ottawa Greenbelt and around other settlements and parks of southern Ontario. This is a wonderful time for bird watching and wildlife photography. Have you been lucky enough to observe the “Zonotrichia” species during your hikes and travels?

Reverse the Red: the new initiative of IUCN

IUCN – International Union for Nature Conservation – recently launched a new initiative, which aim is “Reverse the Red” or stop and reverse extinction of threatened species in the world.

ReverseTheRed is a global movement that calls for joint action and the belief that our community can ensure the survival of all the species we live with on this planet, as well as ensure the protection of all the ecosystems in which they live. The IUCN Species Survival Commission, which oversees this initiative, tries to involve as many stakeholders as possible in the conservation work. The Species Survival Commission unites more than 7 thousand experts who work in the field of biodiversity conservation in different countries of our blue planet. However, it is definitely clear now that it is impossible to preserve species without the wide participation of not only specialists and narrow experts working in the field of studies and conservation of species and ecosystems, but also the whole society, including different sectors that affect the habitats of species and their populations. Participation of local communities and concerned citizens can also contribute to the protection and restoration of species.

The IUCN Red List contains information on the assessment of species at the global level with an evaluation of the threats for species. All threatened species can be categorized as Vulnerable (VU), Endangered (EN), and Critically Endangered (CR). According to modern estimates, the Red List currently includes 37,400 species, that were categorized as threatened and the state of their populations is of concern at the global level. If you look at taxonomic groups, according to modern estimates, 41% of all amphibian species, 26% of all mammals, 14% of all bird species, 36% of all shark and ray species, as well as 34% of all gymnosperm (coniferous) tree species are threatened with extinction risk. And this is only among those taxonomic groups that have been assessed by experts. But there are still many taxonomic groups on the planet that have not yet been evaluated, for example, many species of invertebrates and angiosperms (flowering) plants, the diversity of which is very high on our planet and extinction of some tiny species may be almost invisible. By now, the conservation biology science and experts involved in nature conservation have accumulated knowledge and methods that allow the preservation of species and ecosystems, ensuring their survival and recovery. Experts from the IUCN Species Survival Commission argue that:
We KNOW how to save species
TOGETHER we will

While a strategy to reverse biodiversity loss is still under development, it is now clear that it will be an umbrella initiative to work with key partners to achieve biodiversity conservation and recovery tasks for species and ecosystems. The IUCN Species Survival Commission has identified the following mechanisms to achieve its ambitious goals:
(1) Engage biodiversity conservation partners at national, regional, and global levels in the development of standardized tools and methods. The Reverse the Red initiative creates an umbrella mechanism for the conservation of species and ecosystems. (2) Work with pilot countries to refine and implement tools and collaborative strategies. Increase national capacity and commitment utilizing ReversetheRed framework for target species and ecosystem assessments, planning, and action. (3) Empower the country-based “Reverse the Red” partners to engage and activate their local communities through a diverse set of educational resources focused on biodiversity conservation, personalized experiences, advocacy campaigns, and behavior-change campaigns. (4) Establish a global reporting mechanism and forum to report on and celebrate the reversal of species extinction and ecosystem destruction.
These mechanisms will provide the structure, tools, and framework for objective setting of the Global Species Congress.

You can support this initiative by voting for it at: Webby Awards People’s Voice – Reverse the Red.
Images of threatened animal species from Nepal were used to illustrate this message.

The Garter Snake on the forest path…

The mating behavior of snakes is not so easy to see. The mating displays usually occur immediately after the snakes leave their hibernacula (this term is used for winter shelters, where snakes brumate of sleeping, similarly to hibernation of other animals such as mammals) places, where they sometimes congregate in large clusters. But getting to such a hibernacula without a special purpose and without knowing the peculiarities of the ecology of snakes is almost impossible.

In spring, garter snake likes to bask in the morning near forest path

But then one day at the end of April, on a forest path, the rustling of foliage attracted my attention. I did not immediately understand where the rustle came from, but looking around I spotted an extraordinary sight. On the dry foliage of last year, covering the first shoots of the breaking green growth, an unusual ball rolled, from which for a moment heads or tails appeared on the surface … Yellow stripes on the body made it possible to immediately identify the species – it was a mating procession of a Common Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis). One larger snake was distinctive from another dozen and half snakes of smaller size that are literally hovered around it. Squirming, first merging into one large ball, then stretching in a chain, the snakes continued their movement along the invisible pass in the dry foliage. But as soon as I took a step towards this extraordinary procession, the ball instantly became alert, assessing the situation, and began to disintegrate. Individual snakes crawled on the sides, looking for cover under the foliage, in the cracks between the hard rocks and between the roots of trees. Nevertheless, about a dozen of the most persistent continued to follow the largest snake. The presence of a small rock in the forest indicated that the snake hibernacula was somewhere nearby: snakes usually hibernate in cavities under rocks or in natural depressions formed under the roots of dead trees, where they can gather from several tens to several hundred or even thousands of individuals.

The common garter snake is widespread in Ontario. In the forests around Ottawa, it is the most common snake species. The slender body of garter snakes with a light stripe running along the keel from head to tail, with yellow or reddish longitudinal stripes on the sides and an elegant narrow head that smoothly merges into the body, allow anyone to immediately unmistakably identifies this species. The average length of a snake with a tail is 50-70 cm. Sometimes there are specimens that are larger – up to a meter in length, but they rarely can be found. Females are much larger than males. Only one female, accompanied by more than a dozen males, led the mating procession that I observed. This feature of the biology of the species directed to the fact that there are much more males in the population than females. Garter snakes are also remarkable by the reproduction features: they can both lay eggs, from which small snakes then hatch, and give birth to alive little snakes. Usually, individuals living in the north latitudes give birth to live offspring, and more southerly occurring counterparts lay eggs. In Ontario, garter snakes give birth to live young. During the season, the female can give birth from ten to forty offspring. But only a few individuals survive to adulthood since snakes are a desiring prey for both four-legged and feathered predators. In addition, a significant number of snakes are killed on the roads, under the wheels of cars in populated areas with a dense road network. In Ontario, there are two subspecies that are externally different: in the south, the nominative subspecies of Eastern Garter snake has the bright yellow stripes on the sides of the body, and in the northern subspecies, the red-sided garter snake has reddish-orange stripes.

Garter snakes are found in a wide variety of habitats, both in forests and in meadow communities as well as around wetlands. In the Ottawa Greenbelt and around, it is definitely a forest species, inhabiting light deciduous and mixed forests. The main food items for snakes are amphibians and earthworms, but on occasion these snakes can catch small rodents and passerines, as well as small fish. Hunting strategy includes two types of behavior.  Sometimes, garter snakes wait for prey, attacking approaching animals. But more often they actively pursue their prey, effectively catching fast tadpoles and small fish.

Garter snakes are harmless to humans. But this does not mean that anyone can catch them. It must be understood that the capture of any living creature is a huge stress for the latter. Therefore, if you notice a garter snake near the forest path, walk by, or watch the snake from the side without trying to catch it.

Garter snakes often hide in construction near human settlements, especially near forest cabins

If you wish, you can also join one of the programs of Ontario Nature such as Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas or Youth Circle for Mother Earth, and contribute to wildlife monitoring and conservation.

Игровой тур для детей – Nature Watch with Juniors and Easter Egg Hunt (in Russian)


План на мероприятие меняется в связи с новыми ограничениями! Это будет не ивент , а прогулка по лесу, каждый своей семьёй. Елена будет там, на безопасном расстоянии, так что информацию получат все, все увидят птичек, белочек и других обитателей леса. Так же у каждого будет возможность их покормить (еда будет предоставлена бесконтактно в индивидуальных пакетах на каждую семью перед началом прогулки). В определенном месте будут спрятаны разноцветные яйца, которые каждый ребёнок сможет найти и собрать. Все точки будут отмечены, яйца будут расположены так, что дети, как и взрослые, не будут пересекаться. Главный приз, по-прежнему, достанется тому, кто найдет золотое яйцо!

Убедительная просьба соблюдать меры предосторожности во время прогулки:

  • держитесь друг от друга на расстоянии 2 метров
  • регулярно обрабатывайте руки спиртосодержащим средством
  • по возможности не трогайте руками глаза, нос и рот

Если у вас или вашего ребенка плохое самочувствие, температура или другие симптомы COVID-19 пожалуйста, оставайтесь дома!


Мы организуем игровой тур для детей от 2 до 9 лет в пасхальный день: 4 апреля – в лесу около Центра спасения диких птиц.

План Мероприятия:

    1. Сначала мы сделаем небольшой тур по лесу, останавливаясь у болота, пруда и в лесу, чтобы послушать голоса птиц, потрогать стволы деревьев, собрать несколько прошлогодних листьев и шишек.
    2. Мы послушаем как поют некоторые из самых обычных видов птиц в нашей местности и посмотрим места, в которых они гнездятся.
    3. Будем смотреть первые весенние цветы в лесу.
    4. Затем, мы пойдем на участок леса, около Центра, где будут спрятаны яркие пасхальные яйца. Мы расскажем, какие птицы (большие и маленькие) гнездятся на земле и покажем, как они обычно прячут свои яйца от возможных врагов. Мы вместе с детьми постараемся определить, какие враги у птиц в лесу, и что они делают, чтобы спасти свои гнездышки. А затем детишки будут сами искать в лесу пасхальные яйца. По итогам “охоты” будут выявлены 3 победителя: главный приз тому, кто найдет золотое яйцо – авторская книга Елены Крейцберг и Владимира Морозова: “Птицы вокруг нас нас”, a так же будет ещё два приза – наибольшее количество собранных яиц одного цвета (TBA)  и приз за самый разнообразный улов!

Мы также предложим поиграть в несколько “экологических” игр для самых маленьких.

Форма Одежды: Некоторые места на тропе еще влажные – всем рекомендуется надеть резиновые сапожкиА так же, пожалуйста не забудьте мешок/корзинку/пакет для сбора яиц. И, безусловно, любая праздничная атрибутика приветствуется – веселые ушки, яркая одежда и аксессуары, все, для того, чтобы это день запомнился нашим юным участникам!

ВНИМАНИЕ! В условиях пандемии мы вынуждены огранить количество участников, поэтому по одному детскому билету может участвовать 1 ребенок и 1 взрослый, в качестве сопровождающего (или в качестве помощника для малыша). На каждого дополнительного взрослого необходимо приобрести билет, тк количество мест строго ограничено!

Приобрести билет можно здесь

Мы также заверяем, что ни одна дикая птица не будет потревожена и что мы не нанесем ущерба лесным обитателям. Напротив, мы выучим несколько самых простых правил поведения в лесу для самых маленьких.

Rustles, shadows and voices of the night forest in Greenbelt area (in Russian)

We organize a night hike to the forest in Ottawa Greenbelt that to learn about the nightlife of the woods. We learn about birds, amphibians, and other animals active at night and try to see and listen to some of them. The size of the group is limited to 15 people. Time of hike 2 – 2.5 hours.

В эту субботу вечером мы организуем вечерний поход в лес, чтобы послушать, какие из лесных обитателей активны на вечерней заре и позднее. Мы собираемся на закате (в 7:30 вечера) на парковке No 8 у Chipmunk Trail (Stony Swamp area). Сначала мы пойдем к болоту, где сейчас начинается вечерняя тяга у недавно прилетевших американских вальдшнепов. Мы послушаем, как токуют эти интересные птицы, а может быть даже и увидим, как они летают над болотом. Эти кулики обычно активны ночью и увидеть днем их можно только случайно. Также мы послушаем и посмотрим, какие другие обитатели леса и водоемов подают в это время свои голоса. Затем мы дойдем до бобрового пруда, где мы тоже остановимся, чтобы проверить – проснулись ли бобры и плавают ли они уже по ночам. Далее мы по тропе пройдем в хвойный лес, где зимой были активны несколько дикобразов. Конец марта – начало апреля – это время, когда активны совы. Некоторые из них возвращаются на свои постоянные участки, которые они занимают много лет подряд. Другие – в это время спешат назад к своим местам гнездования в тайге. Мы узнаем, какие совы гнездятся в зеленой зоне Оттавы, и позовем их, используя специальную методику учета ночных птиц по голосам. Если нам повезет, то мы сможем услышать, как кто-то из них откликается.

Длина маршрута – 2 -3 км. Согласно прогнозу, ожидается довольно хорошая погода (дождя быть не должно и будет не очень-то холодно). Тем не менее, желательно всем быть в непромокаемой обуви – так как мы пересечем несколько ручьев – и в теплой одежде, а также всем иметь при себе фонарики. В лесу темнеет быстро.

На снимке бекас Вильсона, который еще не прилетел, но тоже скоро будет летать над болотами и прудами, оповещая о своем возвращении звуком, напоминающим пропеллер самолета. Это самцы токуют таким образом, привлекая к себе внимание представительниц противоположного пола.

Предварительная Регистрация Обязательна


Wings over fields and wetlands: guided nature tour (in Russian)

We organize a guided nature tour to the Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary, stopping in several places on the way that to look for migratory flocks of Snow Geese and other waterfowls along the road in the area near Winchester and Chesterville.

Начало апреля – это время миграции белых гусей. Они возвращаются к местам своего гнездования на севере Онтарио и Квебека через восточные районы обеих провинций, часто останавливаясь на сельскохозяйственных полях и водоемах большими скоплениями. В связи с тем, что в Онтарио открыта весенняя охота на этих гусей, так как численность их гнездовых популяций в тундрах продолжает расти, гуси осторожны – близко они не подпускают. Но мы постараемся понаблюдать за гусями в подзорную трубу. Белые гуси и летят большими стаями вдоль равнин реки Святого Лаврентия. Увидеть это небывалое зрелище надо хотя бы один раз в жизни. Кроме того, мы надеемся увидеть много других пролетных видов птиц, а также млекопитающих, особенно на территории заказника мигрирующих птиц Верхней Канады.

С собой необходимо взять теплую одежду, на случай холодного ветра, резиновые сапоги, а также бутерброды и чай или кофе, так как поездка предполагает быть довольно продолжительной. Мы остановимся в нескольких местах, чтобы понаблюдать за гусями, а затем поедем в заказник пролетных птиц, где у нас будет возможность походить по тропам.

Предварительная регистрация Обязательна

Guided Nature Watch Tour to South March Highland Area (in Russian)

This time we organize a nature watch tour to South March Highland area. We explore the trail and look for birds, mammals, and other animals who just recently arrived or waked up after hibernation. We’ll also explore how to use the Merlin Bird ID guide for the identification of bird species and talk about citizen science and existing opportunities to be involved in bird and other species studies and monitoring. The guided tour will be in Russian.

Дорогие друзья,

На этот раз я организую экскурсию в субботу на охраняемую территорию в Канате, которая называется South March Conservation Forest. Территория большая, но мы сделаем круг по одному из наиболее известных маршрутов, который пересекает лес, несколько водоемов, небольшое нагорье и болото. Обычно, я всегда вижу у этой тропы древесных дикобразов. В этот раз мы также посмотрим какие другие млекопитающие появились в связи с ранней весной. Конечно же, нас будут сопровождать американские красные и серые белки, а также недавно вышедшие из спячки бурундуки. Не исключено, что мы сможем увидеть бобров и ондатру. О том – проснулись ли они – мы узнаем по следам их жизнедеятельности.

Также мы будем учиться определять птиц по их виду и голосам, используя электронный справочник Merlin Bird ID Guide и поговорим о том, как каждый желающий может участвовать в сборе данных о видах животных. Информация о месте встречи и времени экскурсии приведена ниже. Эта тропа – средней тяжести, маленьким детям будет тяжеловато ее всю пройти. В некоторых местах будет сыро, поэтому лучше надеть сапоги.

Необходима предварительная регистрация на ивент, которая доступна по этой ссылке на Eventbrite.