Rescuing baby puffins in Newfoundland

I point my flashlight through the night air at a white-coloured object on the road, thinking I have found a baby puffin. My excitement turns to disappointment when I realize it is nothing more than a discarded coffee cup.

A light rain falls as I wander the streets of the tiny coastal town of Witless Bay, a short drive south from St. John’s, the capital of Newfoundland and Labrador. I am searching for baby birds because I have joined the Puffin and Petrel Patrol. It is a dedicated band of volunteers who comb the streets of communities near the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve every late summer, looking for fledgling birds that are drawn to the towns’ artificial lights, confusing them for the moon and the stars by which they navigate to sea.

The thing about puffins and baby puffins—more properly known by the all-too-cute name of pufflings—is that they are much better swimmers than fliers. If these six-week-old baby birds become stranded on land, they aren’t always able to get back to sea without human help. The patrol spends hours every night during the fledgling season in August and September rescuing hundreds of these birds before they become injured or killed by cars or predators.

Read the rest of the story on WestJet Magazine.

Walking in the footsteps of Newfoundland’s Viking settlers

After visiting the only known Viking settlement in North America, we learned to appreciate the struggles that the New World’s first immigrants faced a thousand years ago just to find this place and then to survive in its harsh environment.

We hiked out into the low, scrubby landscape at L’Anse aux Meadows, N.L. to visit the remnants of their seaside settlement, but were underwhelmed to see that it was not much more than a small collection of grassy mounds. That disappointment vanished quickly as our Parks Canada guide brought the story of those mounds to life. He explained how the Vikings smelted iron from the bogs to make nails to repair their ships and struggled to survive at that spot for several years until they eventually abandoned it.

Read the rest of the story on Metro.

Photos: Nice views of Newfoundland

By the water in Trinity, Newfoundland. Photo by Mark Stachiew

I spent some time earlier this month in the wonderful Canadian province of Newfoundland. It was my second time on The Rock and I hope I get to visit again. It’s truly a magical place and unlike anywhere else in Canada. Here are some of the sights I saw that give you a small taste of eastern Newfoundland.

Photos: The beauty of Canada during the winter

by espacememorae via Instagram

As much as Canadians love to complain about the cold during the winter and try our hardest to escape somewhere warm during the darkest season, the truth is that we secretly love it. It is part of who we are.

The photos below, one from each territory and province, show the beauty of the nation when it is blanketed in white. Soon enough, the spring will come with the return of birdsong and the scent of flowers and we get to rediscover the beauty of Canada in another season. We will enjoy it while it lasts, but remember that winter will be back again and will greet it happily when it arrives.

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