Should we beware the Fisher… or the Fisher fiction?

In today’s post, Awenda Provincial Park‘s Chief Park Naturalist Tim Tully tackles (not literally) a terrifying beast.

Pick a negative adjective and it has likely been leveled at the Fisher. There are few predators in North America which suffer from a worse reputation than this mid-sized member of the weasel family.

Fishers come with the reputation of being mean, nasty, and combative – devil-beasts with social skills that would make the Grinch look like Mr. Rogers.

Many can’t seem to resist the temptation to pass along and exaggerate a gruesome telling of a predator encounter – a tradition that likely dates back to a Stone Age campfire.

Everyone has a “did ya hear about” story about this maligned mammal. But exactly how much of the Fisher’s story has gotten away from its ecological reality?

Continue reading Should we beware the Fisher… or the Fisher fiction?

Tracking the mysteries of migration

Today’s post comes from Bronte Creek Provincial Park Discovery Ranger Hannah Stockford and Darlington Provincial Park Piping Plover Student Jax Nasimok.

Once upon a time, bird migration was a great mystery!

Early ideas about migration by philosophers and scientists from hundreds of years ago were quite unusual. They varied from thinking birds hibernated in the mud at the bottom of lakes to flying to the moon!

Now we know most birds that migrate do so to find food, or travel to seasonal habitat or reproductive grounds.

While our understanding of migration is limited, with new technologies like Motus, humans are on the right track expand our knowledge in order to better understand and conserve migratory wildlife.

Continue reading Tracking the mysteries of migration

Keeping tabs on turtles in Southeastern Ontario

Over the years, Ontario Parks staff have created many blogs about turtles, their significance to the Ontario landscape, and why it’s important that we protect and support them.

You may even be familiar with our Turtle Protection Project! With seven of the eight turtle species found in Ontario being species-at-risk under the Ontario Endangered Species Act, 2007, we like to give them all the support and attention we can.

Well, today’s post is all about this season’s turtle protection efforts in our Southeast Zone, including a new project that was started this year…

Introducing Team Turtle!

Continue reading Keeping tabs on turtles in Southeastern Ontario

Dinosaurs in parks: the Lake Sturgeon

Today’s post comes from Christian Therrien, past Northwest Zone senior assistant ecologist.

Most agree all dinosaurs went extinct 66 million years ago.

However, looking into species found in parks reveals that some dinosaurs have indeed persisted and can be seen today!

From the Snapping Turtle to the Silver Lamprey, remnants from this forgotten time are prominent today in Ontario Parks.

However of all the dinosaurs in our parks, the most impressive is the Lake Sturgeon.

Continue reading Dinosaurs in parks: the Lake Sturgeon

From the abundant to the rare, parks protect them all

Today’s post comes from Natural Heritage Education Supervisor Alistair MacKenzie at Pinery Provincial Park.

The landscape of Ontario Parks is renowned for being strongholds for myriad species, both common and rare.

A primary objective of Ontario Parks is the maintenance and restoration of ecological integrity, and the strengths of our protected areas are evident in the diversity of life found within.

Together, all of the native species found in Ontario make up the province’s biodiversity. Ontario’s biodiversity consists of species that are abundant and widespread across the province as well as others that are very rare and found only in isolated populations.

It is key to keep all of the species that we have to ensure healthy natural communities continue to thrive and provide ecological services to humans.

Continue reading From the abundant to the rare, parks protect them all

Your purchase helps parks: revitalizing Killarney’s aquatic ecosystems

Did you buy something from our online holiday store last year? In today’s post, Ontario Parks staff talk about some of the vital protection work your purchase helped fund!

Ontario Parks — as part of a bigger provincial effort — has been working hard to assess and repair ecological integrity in many of our inland lake habitats, protecting different species throughout Killarney and other provincial parks.

Continue reading Your purchase helps parks: revitalizing Killarney’s aquatic ecosystems

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

Turtles love water (bottles!)

What do turtles and reusable water bottles have in common? More than you might imagine.

Turtles need our help, and we’ve partnered with our friends at Chilly Moose (and their reusable bottles) to help meet the challenge! Continue reading Turtles love water (bottles!)

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.

Continue reading Wabakimi: the land of the grey ghosts

Join us for Science Literacy Week!

Today’s post comes from Jessica Stillman, school outreach coordinator at Bronte Creek Provincial Park

What do a Polar Bear, a Prickly Pear Cactus, a Five-lined Skink, and a Bobolink all have in common?

Aside from their snazzy names, they’re plants and animals that require unique environments to survive. Some of these special spaces have been changing and disappearing throughout history.

That’s where Ontario Parks comes in. We protect important landscapes, and conduct research on how we can ensure the species living in parks can thrive.

This year, we’re excited to share the science of parks during Science Literacy Week.

Continue reading Join us for Science Literacy Week!