Friends of Kootenay Blog

Access stories and photos about the natural and human history of Kootenay National Park and Columbia Valley Includes highlights about the Friends of Kootenay National Park activities and programs.


Larry's blog

Wolf Tracks

Wolves spend 8 -10 hours/day on the move and can travel great distances.
Photo by Larry Halverson

Wolf tracks, like those of all canids, show four toes on each foot with claw marks present. The tracks of a wolf and large a dog are indistinguishable, even to a trained wolf biologist. Read more »

Great To See

A pack of 5 wolves in the Kootenay Valley - Photo by Larry Halverson

At one time Grey Wolves ranged over the entire northern hemisphere, but over the years they were essentially eradicated from the landscape, even in the National Parks. By the late 1940s there were no wolves in Kootenay National Park, however they later recolonized the mountain Parks and are now once again part of the natural biota. Read more »

Deer from the Rear

The upper side of the White-tailed Deer’s tail is usually the same colour as their body or
in some individuals like this one a darker brown.
- Photo by Larry Halverson

It is not obvious how White-tailed Deer got it’s name until you see them flee. As they run, their tails flip up and flares out, revealing an obvious white flag. It is thought they do this “fagging” to help young fawns follow their moms, startle predators or warn other deer. Read more »

Common Raven


Common Raven looking rather cold with it's down all puffed up. - by Larry Halverson

The Common Raven is one of the most common birds seen when driving through Kootenay National Park. Read more »

House Finches are Singing

Male House Finch can start nest building in early March - photo by Larry Halverson

The songs of House Finches were not always heard in the Columbia Valley. In fact they were unknown in the province until 1935, when a pair of House Finches were reported nesting in Penticton. By 1937 they had also arrived on the coast and were observed nesting in Victoria. From these 2 small pioneering populations the House Finch launched its rapid range expansion into British Columbia. By 1970 it had moved east into the Southern Interior Mountains and was recorded near Cranbrook. House Finches first appeared on the Lake Windermere Christmas Bird Count in 1994 and now are common sightings at local bird feeders. Read more »

Coyotes Make a Living with their Nose.

Coyote sniffing for food by Alan Dibb 

Coyotes have keen senses of hearing, sight, and smell. But it seems they use their sense of smell the most for finding food and avoiding dangerous predators. Read more »

Ian McTaggart-Cowan: The Legacy of a Pioneering Biologist, Educator and Conservationist

Illustrated with a few photos from Kootenay National Park including a Wolf chasing a butterfly by Alan Dibb

This book traces the early history of biological exploration and discovery in British Columbia and Canada’s Rocky Mountain
national parks. One man, Ian McTaggart-Cowan, was at the centre of that history as an explorer, educator, advocate of wildlife and wilderness values and pioneer conservationist. Read more »

Great Grey Owl


Great Grey Owl seen this spring near Invermere, BC - by Larry Halverson


South eastern British Columbia has more kinds of owls than any where else in Canada - a total of 14 species, ranging in size from the tinny Northern Pygmy Owl to the largest of all the North American owls, the Great Grey. Great Grey Owls are not that common but they have nested in Kootenay National Park. Read more »

Endangered Frog Takes a Leap Forward

Dr. Purnima Govindarajulu, chair of the Northern Leopard Frog Recovery Team is all smiles as over 2000 tadpoles were released into the Columbia Valley Marshes. by Larry Halverson

The endangered Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens), the most at-risk amphibian in British Columbia, is taking a leap forward on its path to recovery, largely due to the coordinated work of the Northern Leopard Frog Recovery Team. Read more »

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