Birthday time for bruins

We tend to think of hibernation as a sleep that lasts for months, but deep in their dens black bears are doing something really important: the moms are giving birth to tiny, tiny bear cubs. It’s just one of the amazing things that characterize bear hibernation, a months-long sleep that really has no parallels in […]

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Cue the trumpets

Trumpeter swans are among the world’s most magnificent wildfowl. They are enormous birds, with an eight foot wingspan and a deep, resonant honk that gives them their name. At one time there were over 100,000 trumpeters in North America, so many that early explorers said they dotted the mud flats “like lilies.” But the birds […]

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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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