Feed the deer

Spotting deer at the cottage can be a delight, particularly in winter when you don’t need to worry about them eating your flowers. Some people love them so much that they set out corn or hay feeding stations to help deer through the winter. Are you helping them by feeding them? The answer is a […]

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Clones in the woods

Poplars, or aspens, are one of our most common trees, and it’s not unusual to see a group of them all growing together. But look closely and you may just find that you’re not looking at a group of trees at all. You may, in fact, be looking at part of a clone network, the […]

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Controversial cormorants

They are an environmental success story, a species that was once driven to the brink of extinction by chemical pollution but has now rebounded tremendously. But do we have too much of a good thing? Certainly the Ontario government thinks so. Last year it introduced a proposal to allow cormorants to be hunted, essentially treating […]

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More than monarchs

Monarchs are the poster child of the butterfly world, and with good reason. Their annual migration is one of the true miracles of nature, a multi-generational epic trek that sees great-great-great grandchildren returning to the place where their ancestors were born. Unfortunately, monarch butterfly populations have been plummeting – dropping by 70 to 90 per […]

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Watch your lake flip

If you’re at the cottage in spring, you can see all kinds of changes happening. Migrating birds arrive, leaves and flowers emerge, frogs start to peep… and the lakes flip. That last one may come as a bit of a surprise, but nearly all lakes do it. To see it happening, you just have to […]

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Rabbits and hares abounding

When snowshoeing through the woods this winter, there’s a good chance you’ll come across tracks of cottontail rabbits or snowshoe hares. Their numbers seem to be high this season, as part of a natural population cycle. Most animals go through some sort of population cycle. Because hares and rabbits breed like – well, like rabbits […]

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Skating through the woods

The massively popular skating trail at Arrowhead Park will draw thousands of visitors this weekend. The trail may have been this region’s first, but it’s not the only one now: there are some others in Muskoka that aren’t as well known, letting you avoid the crowds. And believe us when we tell you there will […]

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Life in dead trees

When people say that there’s life in dead trees, most of us picture what biologists call macrofauna — birds, bats, raccoons, squirrels, and all the other creatures that make their homes in the holes in trees. Dead trees are certainly useful to these animals — around 40 per cent of the birds that live in […]

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Slow colours are good news

As recently as last week, green was still the dominant colour of Muskoka’s leaves. The colours are coming on strong now, but peak reds and golds will be after Thanksgiving this year, followed by some really underappreciated browns and yellows. Is this later than usual? Yes and no. It is a bit later, but Thanksgiving […]

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Hungry as a bear

Fall is the time when you’re most likely to see a bear in the wild. That’s particularly true this year, when drought has all but eliminated the berry crop. By this time of year, bears are feeding heavily to put on the weight that will get them through the long winter. They can gain as […]

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