Arrowhead staff say, “Hold the mustard!”

Garlic Mustard may sound like a gourmet condiment, but it’s actually an invasive species in North America, introduced from Europe over 100 years ago.

It is a major enemy in the ongoing battle to maintain biodiversity in Arrowhead Provincial Park and many other provincial parks. It’s considered one of Ontario’s greatest forest intruders.

Continue reading Arrowhead staff say, “Hold the mustard!”

The superpowers of owls

Today’s post is from Alistair MacKenzie, our Natural Heritage Education & Resource Management Supervisor at Pinery Provincial Park.

I’ve been bird watching since the age of six. My dad was the main reason I began bird-watching, and he and I spent many hours in search of another species for our lists.

From the start, I was always fascinated by owls and to this day they are, hands-down, my favourite group of birds.  You have to work hard to find owls given that they are usually solitary hunters and most do not roost together in communal groups. Many, but not all, are nocturnal and they are generally shy and reclusive.

Continue reading The superpowers of owls

Owl-induced whiplash

In today’s post, Alistair MacKenzie, Naturalist Heritage Education Supervisor at Pinery Provincial Park, recounts a dramatic encounter with an Eastern Screech Owl.

We desperately needed to confirm breeding evidence for Eastern Screech Owls in our survey squares for the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas back in 2005.

It was our last chance given that the atlas was wrapping up the collection period and I was frustrated since I confidently knew that screech owls did indeed breed in the park, but sadly we just hadn’t managed to be in the right place at the right time to confirm it.

Continue reading Owl-induced whiplash

Underground, underwater or frozen solid: how do frogs & toads spend the winter?

Today’s post comes from David LeGros, one of our Algonquin Provincial Park naturalists.

As the crisp fall days get colder and the occasional dusting of snow whitens the landscape, we know that winter is just around the corner. For the countless songbirds of our forests, they avoid our cold winters and lack of food by migrating south.

Other animals are adapted to the cold conditions and may grow a thicker coat of fur or feathers. Some, we think, have the enviable ability to sleep away the long Ontario winter by hibernating.

Continue reading Underground, underwater or frozen solid: how do frogs & toads spend the winter?