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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Back to school at Bronte Creek

How do you fit a whole 682 ha park into a classroom?

Package it up into one of our many hands-on, activity-based school programs!

Located in Oakville, Bronte Creek Provincial Park now offers a suite of in-school programs that complement our in-park education programs. Let our staff take your group on a journey of discovery as you explore topics such as Victorian heritage, species at risk, biodiversity, and much more!

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When the student becomes the teacher

Today’s post comes from Jessica Stillman, School Outreach Coordinator for Bronte Creek Provincial Park.

Bronte Creek Provincial Park is a unique setting, with rich natural and historical features. As the School Outreach Coordinator at the park, I get to connect students to this wonderful site on a daily basis!

Let me tell you a little about myself and the programs we offer:

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Carnivorous Pitcher Plants found at Algonquin

Today’s post comes from Samantha Stephens, a science and conservation photojournalist who spent this past summer in residence at the Algonquin Wildlife Research Station.

The excitement of discovery is a feeling everyone has experienced. Finding a new favourite hiking spot or adding a “lifer” to your birding list are some familiar examples for nature lovers.

For a naturalist, the most thrilling of discoveries comes from observing well-known species interact in a way that hasn’t been documented before.

That’s what happened to Patrick Moldowan, a PhD student from the University of Toronto who leads a long-term study of spotted salamanders in Algonquin Provincial Park.

Patrick spends his summers living at the Algonquin Wildlife Research Station, documenting various aspects of salamander populations.

And that’s what led him to be a part of discovering that carnivorous plants are eating baby salamanders.

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Health benefits of dark skies

Today’s blog comes from our Healthy Parks Healthy People Coordinator Sarah McMichael. 

My most memorable camping memory didn’t come from a crackling campfire, a panoramic lookout, or a stunning sandy beach.

It happened at 3:00 am at Lake Superior Provincial Park.

As I stumbled out of my tent for a late-night bathroom break, I noticed something different about the sky above me. There were stars.

A LOT of stars.

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Butterball’s story

Today’s post comes to us from David Bree, our Discovery Program Lead at Presqu’ile Provincial Park.

Butterball was a bit of a miracle child.

The way the year went, it was amazing that his egg was ever laid, let alone hatched. And he never should have flown.

But, somehow, he did.

To truly understand Butterball’s story, and the miracle it was, we must go back eight years. And oh yeah, you should know: Butterball is a Common Tern.

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