Bats love music

We had the privilege of being invited to attend the Ontario Music Festival provincials this past weekend.

As the level 6 students played their beautiful pieces in the hot and humid church, this bat thought it would join us. It flew around the church for a couple hours while the students played on.

The kids were mesmerized but a few parents had to quickly evacuate the building 🙂

Spring cleaning is for the birds

Duck house 2
Every spring before it gets too warm, we open up each of our bird houses and clean them out of the previous year’s nesting material. We remove the material but we spread it in the woods so other animals can repurpose it.

However, we also have 5 duck houses around our pond. Duck houses are typically inhabited but mergansers or wood ducks. These ducks are cavity nesters and rely on us to fill the boxes with shavings we get from a local pet store. We have 5 nest boxes and all of them will see use this year.

Now that the boxes are ready, they should arrive in a couple weeks once the water is exposed again.

read more

Our hooded merganser ducklings emerge

Our hooded merganser ducklings emerged from their nest box today. We had a total of 19 ducklings with 3 eggs remaining. This suggests to us that there were 2 clutches of eggs. Normally these ducks only lay around 13 eggs but it is common to find 20-30 eggs in a nest box or tree cavity.

We keep an eye on the nest boxes after about 25 days into incubation. Once we see the ducklings in the box, we know they leave within 24 hours which is typically mid-morning the next day. Hooded mergansers are precocial which means the they are relatively mature from the moment of hatching.

This is the first clutch to emerge this year. I have built a total of 5 duck houses around the pond over the past 10 years. We expanded the pond a couple times to make it more suitable for all wildlife. We are glad to have had a chance to give back. Now onto the pics….

Happy family

read more

Saving Raven

Raven eyeing me
I spotted a raven this morning walking around some buildings at work. He seemed to be quite bold, almost like a pigeon in his proximity to humans. He also squawked like he was trying to talk. I knew there was a nest in one of the buildings, so I assumed it was one of the parents or a juvenile. However, when I passed him an hour and a half later, I noticed one of his wings had a feather out of place. Upon closer examination, I could see blood on his left wing. Time for action.

I called the Wild Bird Care Centre which is a small local facility who educate, rehabilitate and eventually release birds in need of assistance. We have brought a few birds to them for help including a couple of bitterns which will be part of a future post. The WBCC survive based on donations and we make an effort to donate online or drop them off supplies on a regular basis.

“Looks like his eyes are maybe saying thank you”) Looks like his eyes are maybe saying thank you

The Wild Bird Care Centre recommended that I try and grab a couple of people with blankets and after capturing him, place him in a ventilated box. I went back to my office building and grabbed a couple of colleagues, Krystal W. and Garnet R. who helped gather some blankets and emptied a cardboard box. The 3 of us then went back to where the raven was resting. Garnet and I grabbed the blankets while Krystal stood ready with the box. We approached him from different angles and he really didn’t move too much. I was able to grab the raven and gently place him in the box. He did not fight and almost seemed relieved. We brought him back to the office until I could arrange a vehicle because I couldn’t transport him on the motorcycle. read more

There be bears

We prefer to compost our food waste vs. filling our green bin and having the city remove it on a weekly basis. The is especially true in the summer when maggots and the like make the green bins challenging. So, we place our food scraps in a black compost bin and layer with soil and yard waste.

Two nights ago, our compost bin was knocked over and food scraps were strewn all over the lawn behind our garage. It seems a critter dropped in for a feast. I decided to put out my critter cam to see what I could spy.

The next night it was back. A black bear was enjoying our compost pile. He/she was not small either. The ledge you see in the top left of the video below is 28 inches tall and she has 8-10 inches on top of that.

We love being able to share our area with them. read more