Nature & Geography | The Canadian Encyclopedia

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  • Article

    Bird Flight

    Wing evolution has been affected by the habitats to which birds have adapted (e.g. the open ocean, cliff tops or the closed environment of forests) and by the need to reduce drag, or air resistance.

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  • Article

    Bird Sanctuaries and Reserves

    Protection may be achieved by various means, including land-use zoning, long-term agreements with landowners and outright acquisition of land by wildlife agencies. Protected land areas may be designated as national wildlife areas, conservation areas, game reserves, etc.

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  • Article

    Bird Watching

    Bird watching is the field observation of birds. The popularity of bird watching has burgeoned, especially since WWII, assisted by increased leisure time, a rich literature of books and periodicals, more organizations and better educational, communication and travel facilities.

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  • Article

    Birds of Prey

    Birds of prey could be defined as birds that prey on other living animals; however, the term is usually reserved for species with hooked bills and large, strong, sharp talons.

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  • Article


    Bison are large, even-toed hoofed mammals of the family Bovidae. Two subspecies of bison exist in North America: the plains bison (Bison bison bison) and the wood bison (Bison bison athabascae). Historically, the plains bison lived primarily in the Great Plains of central North America, while the wood bison lived further north, from Alaska into the Yukon and the Northwest Territories, and in the northern portions of British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. Prior to the arrival of Europeans, it’s estimated that plains bison numbered 30 million and wood bison 170,000. Various aspects of European colonization led to the rapid depopulation of North America’s bison. By the late 1800s, plains bison no longer existed in Canada, and wood bison numbered about 200. Conservation efforts in both Canada and the United States mean that today, North America’s plains bison population fluctuates between 350,000 and 400,000, and wood bison between 5,000 and 7,000.

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  • Macleans

    Bison Back from Brink of Extinction

    This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on February 16, 2004. Partner content is not updated. AS MUCH as a 400-lb. animal can be said to frolic, that's what 50 BISON calves have been doing since they arrived on the rolling flatlands of southwestern Saskatchewan in mid-December.

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  • Article

    Bison Farming

    In the early 1800s it is reported that over 50 million bison roamed the plains of North America. In the late 1800s, as a consequence of hunting for meat, hides and trophies, and conversion of natural grass to farmland, there were fewer than 1000 plains bison remaining.

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  • Article


    One of the easiest ways to understand bitumen is to compare it to its cousin, conventional crude oil. Whereas conventional crude oil flows freely, bitumen does not. At room temperature it looks like cold molasses, and must be either heated or diluted before it flows.

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  • Article

    Black Bear

    The most common and widespread bear in Canada, the black bear (Ursus americanus) is found predominantly in forests of every province and territory, with the exception of Prince Edward Island.

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  • Article

    Black-capped Chickadee

    Black-capped Chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) live in woodlands across North America, and are regular visitors to backyard birdfeeders throughout Canada.

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  • Article

    Black Fly

    Black flies are small, dark-coloured insects belonging to the family Simuliidae. Of the world’s more than 2,300 species, at least 164 are found in Canada. Black flies reproduce in streams and are found all across Canada. They are particularly common in northern temperate and subarctic regions. Because female black flies need to feed on blood to lay eggs, their biting can be a nuisance to humans and other animals. Among the most common and notorious black flies in Canada are Simulium truncatum and Simulium venustum.

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  • Article

    Black-footed Ferret

    The black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes) is a member of the mustelid family, commonly referred to as the weasel family.

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  • Article


    Blackbird is a common name for several species of birds of the New World family Icteridae (which also includes meadowlarks, orioles, cowbirds and grackles).

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  • Article


    In Canada the official national meteorological service definition of a blizzard is a period of 6 or more hours with winds above 40 km/h, with visibility reduced to below 1 km by blowing or drifting snow, and with windchills over 1600 W/ m2 (watts per square metre).

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  • Article

    Bloodvein River

    Named, perhaps, for the red granite stripes running through the bedrock near its source, the Bloodvein River begins in the vast wilderness of the Canadian Shield, 600 km northwest of Thunder Bay, Ont, and 500 km northeast of Winnipeg.

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