The fastest animal in Bon Echo, Canada, and the world!

Today’s post comes from Mitch Kellar, a Discovery Leader at Bon Echo Provincial Park.

Being a staff member at Bon Echo has given me a lot of incredible experiences: seeing the Mazinaw Rock at sunset, camping on Joeperry Lake, and a very memorable Kishkebus canoe trip, to name a few.

Above all, my experiences with Peregrine Falcons — small birds of prey and the fastest animals on the planet — will always be one of my favourites.

Continue reading The fastest animal in Bon Echo, Canada, and the world!

Uncovering the “birdiest” trail at Pinery

Today’s post comes from Habitat Stewardship Technician Justin Johnson from Pinery Provincial Park. Justin has a M.Sc. in biology with a focus on bird acoustics. 

Birders are an interesting breed of people. Sometimes everything they do seems to subvert the norms of society.

Sleeping in? Rather not. Too much coffee? No such thing. $4500 binoculars? Yeah, I’ve seen it.

Birders’ bread and butter is local natural spaces and their trails. They can be very particular about which trails they walk. Seasoned birders often only use trails they perceive as “birdy,” neglecting those off their sacred path.

But how do we really know which trails are the “birdiest?”

Continue reading Uncovering the “birdiest” trail at Pinery

Monitoring birds in northern protected areas

Today’s article comes from our bird recording specialists, Zone Ecologist Ed Morris and Zone Operations Technician Rebecca Rogge. 

Birds are interesting. Most are visually striking, with noteworthy songs to match their brilliant feathers.

They are also very important.

Birds contribute to the health of our environment. They disperse seeds, pollinate plants, and help to control insect populations.

They have direct and indirect effects on human health and well-being as well.

The medical community recognizes the health benefits of spending time with nature and for many people, their connection with the natural world is through birds.

Continue reading Monitoring birds in northern protected areas

2022 Piping Plover season recap

In today’s post, Piping Plover Biologist Monica Fromberger shares the hot gossip surrounding this season’s plover population.

We had TWO Piping Plover nests in southeastern Ontario this year!

One at Darlington Provincial Park and the other at Presqu’ile Provincial Park.

Continue reading 2022 Piping Plover season recap

Migrating north: how I became a “Bird Nerd”

Today’s post comes from Sarah Wiebe, the senior park naturalist at Kettle Lakes Provincial Park

Before this year, I would have never considered myself a “Bird Nerd.”

My journey began in my southern Ontario home, but it wasn’t until I arrived at my summer destination (Kettle Lakes!) that I truly hit my nerdy stride.

Continue reading Migrating north: how I became a “Bird Nerd”

5 reasons to visit Kap-Kig-Iwan Provincial Park

If the sights and sounds of moving water in nature are refreshing and rejuvenating, then time spent at Kap-Kig-Iwan is liquid medicine!

Situated in the heart of Northern Ontario, Kap-Kig-Iwan Provincial Park is located just off Highway 11, two kilometres south of Englehart, and just north of the Temagami region.

This picturesque little park showcases the best of the boreal forest, with awe-inspiring water features that can’t be missed!

Check out these five reasons to visit Kap-Kig-Iwan:

Continue reading 5 reasons to visit Kap-Kig-Iwan Provincial Park

Sparrows: It’s all in their heads

In today’s post, Rondeau Provincial Park Interpreter Shane Smits will take us through identifying just a few of the many sparrow species found in Ontario. 

For several reasons, whether rightfully so or not, sparrows are often overlooked when it comes to birdwatching.

For starters, they tend to be plentiful. There are usually many sparrows seen hopping around near the forest floor or within dense cover.

But seemingly the most common reason to overlook sparrows amongst beginner bird watchers — that “all sparrows look the same” — is actually a misconception.

This is admittedly something that I have said on multiple occasions. Here’s why it’s wrong. Yes, all sparrows have their similarities. But after spending some time getting to know these little brown birds, their differences become more apparent.

Continue reading Sparrows: It’s all in their heads

Square bashes with the Breeding Bird Atlas

Today’s post comes from Anna Sheppard, an Assistant Ecologist for Ontario Parks’ Northeast Zone.

I am admittedly not a morning person by nature — if I had it my way, I would sleep in every single day!

But I am passionate about birds, and for just a couple of months each year I’m willing to roll out of bed at 5:00 a.m. in support of the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas.

This past June, I joined a small crew of volunteers who were up at dawn for several days at both Grundy Lake Provincial Park and Mikisew Provincial Park to count birds for the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas.

Continue reading Square bashes with the Breeding Bird Atlas

6 ways to be the best park neighbour

Provincial parks are not islands.

Well, some of them are. What we mean is: there is no invisible wall around parks limiting their relationships with the outside world.

Even if you never visit a park, you benefit from the pollinator diversity they protect, the CO2 they sequester in wood, roots, and peat, and the clean water filtered by protected wetlands.

Plants, animals, fungi, microbes, water, and air move in and out of protected spaces, with intimate connections on both local and global levels.

In the same way, things that happen outside of park boundaries affect the ecosystems within them. What you do at home, work, or play can impact our parks.

Whether you live next door to a park or 100 km away, here are six ways your everyday actions can help keep parks and nature reserves healthy and biodiverse:

Continue reading 6 ways to be the best park neighbour

Just for the gull of it!

In today’s post, Awenda’s Chief Park Naturalist Tim Tully defends what some may think is the undefendable: the gull. 

If there was ever an animal that gets a raw deal, it’s the gull.

It’s time to set the record straight and come to the defense of this unfairly maligned avian “underbird.”

For starters, we can’t even get the name right. I hate to tell you, folks, but there is no such thing as a seagull!

Continue reading Just for the gull of it!