How to be a winter wildlife detective

Today’s post comes from Natural Heritage Education Leader David Bree at Presqu’ile Provincial Park

With the onset of winter, we often think of nature going into a slumber, but while she slows down, there is still lots going on outside. Winter provides a better opportunity to learn what the animals of our fields and forests are up to than do the warmer seasons.

I am, of course, talking about tracking, tracking in the snow.

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Wabakimi: the land of the grey ghosts

Today’s post comes from Shannon Walshe, biologist at Wabakimi Provincial Park.

Peering out from among the trees, I am certain these curious animals watched us as we paddled by.

We know they exist, but they’re so seldom seen that they’re referred to as “the grey ghosts.”

Wabakimi Provincial Park is home to the elusive creature known as the Woodland Caribou, at the southernmost edge of their range.

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The scavenger hunt for survival

Today’s post comes from Anna Scuhr, a naturalist with Lake Superior Provincial Park. 

The arrival of snow and ice transforms the rugged landscape of Lake Superior Provincial Park into a stunningly beautiful, albeit unforgiving place to live.

As temperatures drop, the park can accumulate up to six feet of snow in the interior. The snow makes just about every aspect of an animal’s life more challenging.

Northern winters are a true test of an animal’s fitness. Let’s look at how they adapt to survive long, harsh winters.

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Rudolph the red-nosed…Caribou?

“Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer
Had a very shiny nose
And if you ever saw it
You would even say it glows…”

Since we were kids, we’ve all heard the famous Christmas carol about Rudolph and his “very shiny nose.”

But did you know that Rudolph (and Dasher and Dancer, and Prancer and Vixen) and the other reindeer which pull Santa’s heavy sleigh on Christmas Eve are actually Caribou?

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How 6 species at Ontario Parks survive the winter

Today’s post was written by Connor Oke, a marketing intern at Ontario Parks, using information provided by Mark Read, a senior Discovery ranger at Murphys Point Provincial Park.

If Canada is known for one thing, it’s for our long, cold winters.

Wild animals rely on evolution and natural adaptations to survive until spring. The strategies they’ve developed are varied and, simply, incredible.

Here are six species, sporting six different ways Ontario Parks’ wildlife makes it through the winter:

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Woodpeckers 101

Today’s post comes from Barb Rees, our Discovery Program and Marketing Specialist in the Northwest Zone of Ontario Parks.

Winter is a great time to watch for woodpeckers. Why? Simply because there are less leaves on trees making most birds more visible.

Typically, there are also more birdfeeders placed out in the winter than the summer (since the bears are hibernating). So attracting birds closer to your home makes bird-watching possible right from the warmth of your living room window.

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Bronte Creek’s annual coyote howl

Did reading this title send chills down your spine? Did your heart beat just a little faster with the thought that you might hear a coyote?

Each New Year’s Eve since 2000, Bronte Creek Provincial Park has rung in — or, more accurately — howled in the new year.

You can be part of the park’s coyote howl tradition this December 31.

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Love at first snap: caring for Spike at Emily Provincial Park

In our “Behind the Scenes” series, Discovery Program staff across the province share a backstage glimpse of their favourite programs and projects. Today’s post comes from Rosemary Minns from Emily Provincial Park.

Emily Provincial Park is a lovely place. Plenty of docks to fish, beaches to swim, and large campsites. I was extremely excited to work as a Discovery student at Emily. There was one catch to this job…

…I had to learn to take care of a Snapping Turtle. 

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