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Bringing Back the Bluebirds

Bringing Back the Bluebirds
  The Western Bluebird was once a common site on Vancouver Island. This brilliantly-coloured bird species thrived here and on the neighbouring Gulf Islands until the 1950's, when their numbers began to steadily decline. By the 1990s, bluebirds were no longer breeding in southwestern BC, and were soon considered to be extirpated (locally extinct). What caused this once prolific species to disappear? The primary factor is likely habitat loss. Bluebirds are secondary cavity nesters, meaning they rely on holes left by woodpeckers in standing deadwood to build their nests. If most of these dead trees are removed (either through logging practices or urban development), the birds are left with little in the way of natural nesting habitat. Bluebirds face steep competition for the few remaining cavities, as these are also sought after by introduced species such as starlings and house sparrows. Human activity has undoubtedly impacted the bluebirds' distribution, but there is good reason to believe that human intervention will help return the species to its former range. The Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team ( GOERT ) is working to restore self-sustaining Western Bluebird populations on Vancouver Island and the Southern Gulf Islands through the HCTF-funded Bring Back the Bluebirds...
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Why did the frog (try to) cross the road?

Why did the frog (try to) cross the road?
Although roads are vital transportation corridors for humans, they often have the opposite effect on wildlife, cutting off their normal routes to and from food and water or blocking their seasonal migrations.But, efforts are underway to connect amphibian habitats across roads without the carnage. With the help of funding from the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, Clayoquot Biosphere Trust, B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Environment Canada’s Habitat Stewardship Program, coastal ecologist Barbara Beasley of the Association of Wetland Stewards for Clayoquot and Barkley Sounds, has been spearheading a project to create tunnels for safe passage under roads. She is hopeful that will reduce mortality among five species including the red-legged frog, which is listed as a species of concern.They have also identified northwestern salamanders, rough-skinned newts, western red-backed salamanders and Pacific chorus frogs. The test project is underway on Highway 4 south of a four-hectare wetland called Swan Lake near the Tofino-Ucluelet-Port Alberni junction, but she’s optimistic the results can be applied elsewhere in B.C. where amphibians are being killed crossing roads that have been built through their habitat. Swan Lake is an important breeding ground for red-legged frogs. It all started when she was doing amphibian inventories in the Clayoquot...
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