How 6 species at Ontario Parks survive the winter

Today’s post was written by Connor Oke, past marketing intern at Ontario Parks, using information provided by Assistant Superintendent Mark Read 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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Dragonflies: the ultimate prehistoric predator

Today’s blog came from Hope Freeman, Discovery leader at Grundy Lake Provincial Park

Gather round. I’ve got a creature of the night that is sure to make the hair on the back of your neck stand up…just in time for spooky season.

Picture this: you’re lakeside, with the sun just setting on the horizon. You catch a glimpse of something lurking in the shallow, weedy water below.

A drab aquatic insect appears with six long, jointed legs, each equipped with two claws.

Two large eyes and a jaw that covers most of the bottom part of the head…seemingly peering back at you.

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The dragonfly hunter

Sonje Bols is an interpreter and naturalist with Ontario Parks, and coordinates the Discovery Drop-in program at a number of parks in Northeastern Ontario. She loves dragonflies: watching them, catching and identifying their species, and pretty much everything else about them.

As soon as it’s warm enough to be outside in a t-shirt and shorts, chances are you’ll find me out “odeing.”

Odeing? Is that a typo?

The root of the word – ode – is the short form many naturalists use for Odonate, the scientific family name for a group of insects made up of dragonflies and damselflies.

To go “odeing” is to venture outside to catch and identify these insects.

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The fascinating world of dragonflies and their importance to ecosystems

Today’s blog comes to us from Park Naturalist Sarah Lamond at Algonquin Provincial Park.

Picture it: a warm July day at Algonquin.

You’re basking in the day’s rays and exploring an interpretive trail.

It’s all picture perfect until you hear that telltale buzz and feel an all-too-familiar pain on your scalp.

The Deer Flies have arrived.

Swatting at the growing swarm, you look to the sky and wonder: will there be no relief?

And then they arrive. The prehistoric predator. The Deer Fly devourer. The people’s champion.


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Emergence of the Dragonhunter

Today’s post comes from Evan McCaul, Ecologist with Ontario Parks’ Northwest Zone. 

While conducting an ecological inventory of Brightsand River Provincial Park, Ontario Parks staff witnessed and recorded a large scale emergence of dragonflies, including a Dragonhunter, the largest clubtail dragonfly in North America!

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