Glossary

Use this guide to the common terms used throughout this site.

Plant Related Terms

Biennial

A plant, like a thistle, that requires two years to complete its life cycle. During the first year, a leafy plant emerges and begins to photosynthesize. It will store this energy in a tuberous root. During the second year, it will use this energy for flowering and seed production.

Wildlife and Bird Related Terms

Altricial

Some birds and animals are born helpless, and hence completely dependant upon their parents. They will usually remain in the den or nest until they develop to an extent that they become partially independent. 

Dabbling Ducks

Some ducks are not capable of completely submerging. Instead, they will merely tip their head down and their backside into the air. This allows them to feed on shallow plants. 

Delayed Implantation

Many animals, in particular the weasels and bears experience a delay in the reproductive process. After mating, the fertilized embryo may float freely in the uterus for up to six months without significant development. At the end of this period (which varies with each species), if the female is healthy, the egg will implant and begin to develop. However, if she is in poor condition, the egg may simply be reabsorbed by the body. This allows more control over population than other animals for whom pregnancy is a one-way street.

Diving Ducks

Some waterfowl are able to dive completely below the surface, allowing them to feed in much deeper water than dabbling ducks. 

Fledge

This is the term used to describe a nestlings first flight, usually when it leaves the nest. 

Precocial

Some birds and animals are born semi-independent. Deer and elk can walk almost immediately and can leave the calving area. Many birds, including ducks, shorebirds and grouse are also precocial and leave the nest within a few hours of being born. 

Speculum

On many ducks, the trailing portion of the wing, called the speculum, often has a distinctive colour pattern that can aid in identification. Visually, it is that portion of the rear wing between the elbow and the body. 

Undertail Coverts

This undertail coverts part of the underside of the bird, and refer to the area extending from the area between the birds legs, and continuing under the base of the tail.