Nature Canada Nature Canada Nature Canada Nature Canada Nature Canada Nature Canada Nature Canada Nature Canada Nature Canada Nature Canada
Spotting White-Tailed Deer in your Neighbourhood
© Chris St. Michael
News

Spotting White-Tailed Deer in your Neighbourhood

This month’s calendar image of a white-tailed deer is courtesy of Chris St. Michael, who captured this picture of a young buck on a snowy search for wildlife shots. White-tailed deer are the most common large mammal in North America and the most widespread (they can be found in all 10 provinces as well as the southern parts of Yukon and the Northwest Territories!). However, these secretive deer can sometimes be tricky to spot despite how many of them there are. Here are some tips for spotting the presence of white-tailed deer in your area.

Hoof prints

Hoof prints are often the easiest way to spot the presence of white-tailed deer in your area. Look in patches of snow and mud to find tracks that show where deer are passing through your area. Deer trails can also be helpful for spotting their presence. Look for what appears to be an overgrown or underused human trail. These trails can often be found intersecting human paths in wooded and grassy areas.

Rubs

One sign to look for is rubs on trees. Male white-tailed deer will rub their horns on trees to mark their territory, leaving a distinctive bare patch on the tree. Look for bare spots on trees about 2 or 3 feet up with ragged bark around the edges.

Droppings

Droppings are another great way to spot the presence of white-tailed deer in your neighbourhood. Look for dark pellets that are smooth, shiny, and with no obvious sign of their contents. They are often pointy at one end and stick together in clusters.

Food

White-tailed deer normally browse for food from the ground to about 5 feet up on trees and bushes. Look for branches that are stripped of twigs and leaves or stripped entirely bare on part of all of their bottom halves, leaving the top untouched. Particularly in the winter, look for this on sumacs, yellow birches, white pines, white cedars and on maple trees to tell you that there are white-tailed deer around.

In Person

There are also ways to spot a white-tailed deer in person. While they are secretive and hard to see during the day, at dawn and dusk they are at their most active, and can often be seen on the wooded edges on roads or in the middle of meadows and grassy areas. Keep an eye out for a tan or reddish coat in the summer or a grey-ish brown coat in the winter hiding in the trees and grasses. If you catch a glimpse what you think is a white-tailed deer, you can often tell by the flash of the white under its tail (called ‘flagging’) as it bounds away. Many of these signs listed here will indicate the presence of other deer species as well, but the distinctive flagging will always tell you that you just caught a glimpse of a white-tailed deer!

Press release: Nature Canada celebrates 80 years
News

Press release: Nature Canada celebrates 80 years

(Ottawa, Nov. 26, 2019)— Today Nature Canada is celebrating 80 years as Canada’s voice for nature. Nature Canada traces our roots back to 1939 and the work of Mabel Frances Whittemore, an educator and nature lover who shared her passion with others. On Tuesday night at Queens Park, supporters will gather at a reception hosted by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. As Canada’s voice for nature, our members and partners have protected over 110 million acres of wilderness and thousands of species across Canada over the past 80 years. Our contributions include conservation efforts in Ontario such as our work to establish Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area and Rouge National Urban Park. As well, over 100,000 youth and families have connected with nature through Nature Canada programs. “A love of nature unites Canadians, but it isn’t enough to just love nature—we must also work to defend it,” said Graham Saul, executive director of Nature Canada. “It is more urgent than ever for Canadians to raise their voices for the future of our lands, waters and species. Nature Canada is proud to continue encouraging courage, creativity and innovation in order to make room for nature and find solutions to species loss.” Special thanks to our partners and sponsors of 80th Anniversary Celebration: Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Baker Tilly Professional Accountants, Royal Bank of Canada, Rae & Lipskie Partnership, Pollinate Networks, The Printing House and Agents of Good. -30- To organize interviews on the topic, please contact: Haley Ritchie, Communications Specialist, Nature Canada hritchie@naturecanada.ca, 613-562-3447, Ext. 252 About Nature Canada Nature Canada has helped protect more than 110 million acres of parks and wildlife areas and fostered a love of nature by connecting more Canadians to the outdoors. The organization represents a network of 100,000 supporters and more than 800 nature organizations across the country.

Drinks for Species on the Brink of Extinction
News

Drinks for Species on the Brink of Extinction

There is currently tremendous interest among consumers to make ethical purchases, to know where products come from and to buy products that support their values. Not only can this help businesses grow, but it can also be an innovative way to engage people to learn about an organization or cause, leading to a symbiotic relationship between businesses and nature organizations. A great example is with Nature Saskatchewan, which recently partnered with Keith Jorgenson of Prairie Sentinel Bottleworks, a small alcohol producer in Rosthern, Saskatchewan which uses local prairie apples in all of its products. The partnership has benefitted both parties and has helped bring awareness to the extinction crisis in the prairies.

Raising awareness of endangered prairie species one cider at a time

Since partnering with Nature Saskatchewan to feature endangered prairie species on its bottles, demand for the cider has increased and has doubled the business’s profits. Nature Saskatchewan has also begun to see revenue from the partnership, as proceeds are donated, but as Becky Quist explained to us, this opportunity has been most valuable to Nature Saskatchewan’s outreach strategy. This is especially true with young people, as the branding on the bottles has helped get their name out there and given a new and inventive way of reaching potential supporters. Although Prairie Sentinel Bottleworks is a for-profit business, it is a social business at its core. The project allows them to give back to the community and increase awareness of the extinction crisis in the grasslands of Saskatchewan, an ecosystem that is the most at risk globally. As Keith explains, a lot of endangered animals in the prairies are not well-known, and they don’t have the notoriety of other endangered species, such as beluga whales. Highlighting the species in creative ways is key to increasing awareness of their struggles. They have had a lot of success in educating people at farmers markets while selling their products. They are able to speak about what animals are endangered, why they are at risk and how to help stop the extinction crisis – all of which helps Nature Saskatchewan’s mission of protecting this valuable and fragile ecosystem. To learn more about the Grasslands, check out Nature Canada’s Prairie Grasslands Campaign! Nature Saskatchewan is a part of our NatureNetwork Program which helps groups improve their public engagement. To learn more about this program, click here. Photos taken by Becky Quist.

Nature Canada holds press conference on Parliament Hill
News

Nature Canada holds press conference on Parliament Hill

Nature Canada was standing up for nature on Parliament Hill last week, alongside partners the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society and the David Suzuki Foundation.  After the election, we thought it was important to remind returning politicians that we need urgent action on climate change, species loss and reconciliation. While most of the media attention focused on the Trans Mountain pipeline project, there are lots of other Canadian environmental issues we must also be talking about. “After a divisive national election, we need parliament to move forward on Canadians’ priorities. A love of nature unites us—but we are facing a crisis of species loss and extinction,” said Graham Saul, executive director of Nature Canada, during the press conference. “The federal government now has the opportunity to work with other parties to protect nature by taking bold action to expand protected areas, support Indigenous-led conservation and invest long-term to ensure a healthy future for the wildlife that Canadians love.” You can watch the entire press conference online at CPAC. In April, polling data from the International Boreal Conservation Campaign found that nine out of 10 Canadians either strongly support or support the commitment to protect at least 17% of lands and freshwater by 2020, and over two-thirds of Canadians support federal investment in Indigenous protected areas.  The message is clear: we must make room for nature. Despite all the issues that divide us, this is an issue that unites all Canadians. In our press release, we focused on the need for federal action in five areas, including the need to achieve ambitious targets for protected areas and commit to Indigenous-led conservation and stewardship. But those tasks will need political will and funding. There’s work for you to do as well! Sign up for our email lists to stay updated on petitions and campaign events related to the Make Room For Nature campaign.

Press release: Now is the opportunity to unite Canadians behind protections for nature
News

Press release: Now is the opportunity to unite Canadians behind protections for nature

PRESS RELEASE Post-election: Now is the opportunity to unite Canadians behind protections for nature OTTAWA (Oct. 24, 2019)—Nature Canada, CPAWS, the David Suzuki Foundation and other nature groups are calling on the government to unite the country behind protection for nature. On Thursday, a coalition of nature groups held a press conference on Parliament Hill and presented five key priorities that require urgent action to protect the natural world – actions that find support across regional and party lines and respond to Canadians core values and love of nature. To demonstrate leadership on key Canadian concerns including climate change, species loss and reconciliation, the government must:

  • Adopt and achieve ambitious targets for protected areas, including completion of 17% terrestrial protection in 2020, moving to 30% of land and oceans protected by 2030.
  • Commit to Indigenous-led conservation and stewardship of protected areas.
  • Ensure protected areas are planned and managed for ecological integrity in accordance with internationally accepted minimum protection standards
  • Tackle biodiversity loss and climate change as deeply connected
  • Scale up conservation investments for long-term success, starting in federal budget 2020.
In April, polling data from the International Boreal Conservation Campaign found that nine out of 10 Canadians either strongly support or support the commitment to protect at least 17% of lands and freshwater by 2020, and over two-thirds of Canadians support federal investment in Indigenous protected areas. The message is clear: we must make room for nature. Quotes “After a divisive national election, we need parliament to move forward on Canadians’ priorities. A love of nature unites us—but we are facing a crisis of species loss and extinction. The federal government now has the opportunity to work with other parties to protect nature by taking bold action to expand protected areas, support Indigenous-led conservation and invest long-term to ensure a healthy future for the wildlife that Canadians love.”
  • Graham Saul, Executive Director, Nature Canada
“We look forward to seeing our recommended actions in the throne speech and mandate letters. We must achieve the completion of the 2020 target of 17% and champion the greater ambition – looking forward to laying down investments in the Budget to move towards 25% by 2025. We’re here to work with the government, to put forward concrete plans and to roll out priorities framed in the context of uniting the country.”
  • Sandra Schwartz, National Executive Director, CPAWS
“Protecting nature is one of the simplest answers to today’s toughest questions. From mitigating climate change to preventing the extinction of species to promoting reconciliation, conservation is a critical tool in the toolbox.”
  • Rachel Plotkin, David Suzuki Foundation
  – 30 – A backgrounder outlining the five recommended actions is available in both English and French and is supported by Nature Canada, CPAWS, David Suzuki Foundation, Birds Canada and National Resources Defense Council. To organize interviews in French or English on the topic, please contact: Haley Ritchie, Communications Specialist, Nature Canada 613-562-3447 ext 252 hritchie@naturecanada.ca

Back to the Future: Trends for Canada’s parks and protected areas
News

Back to the Future: Trends for Canada’s parks and protected areas

Historic Quebec City was a beautiful backdrop for this year’s Canadian Parks Conference, held October 7-10, where expanding protected areas was top of mind for Nature Canada. The event—the second of its kind in Canada—is designed to bring together a broad set of stakeholders to discuss the future of parks in Canada and, more broadly, nature itself and how to ensure it can thrive long-term. Sessions cut across a spectrum of issues and generated crucial discussions related to the extinction crisis. Several sessions highlighted major trends that are rapidly changing the future of parks and protected areas. We heard more news on the steep decline of species and biodiversity in Canada and around the world and how a changing climate is denying Inuit communities the “Right to be Cold,” as Sheila Watt-Cloutier eloquently explained. Jonathan Baillie, Chief Scientist at the National Geographic Society, laid out how new technologies are rapidly transforming both how scientists and park officials can monitor and avert species loss, report results to funders, and engage and connect new audiences to nature. It was fun watching Emma Buchanan—Nature Canada’s lead for the upcoming Natural Climate Solutions Conference—discover how parks are using virtual reality technology to expand the ways in which visitors can explore highlights of protected areas. The wonders never cease. Another major current in discussions was focussed less on highlighting change and more on the importance of holding the line and gaining strength from traditional, even ancient, wisdom. A session on Natural Infrastructure promoted the slogan The Climate is changing, but some things shouldn’t! as a way to underscore the need to ensure commitments to create permanently protected areas focussed on conservation goals are not abandoned. Other sessions, including one organized by the Indigenous Leadership Initiative, stressed the important contribution of traditional Indigenous knowledge to help ensure nature flourishes. Valerie Courtois pointed out that even as Canada struggles to secure 17% of land is protected, Indigenous territories in Canada and the world over are havens for wildlife and nature with protection rates higher than 60%. Watt-Cloutier passionately laid out the case for the next generation of Inuit and Indigenous youth to learn and experience traditional ways through land-based teachings, to instill confidence, judgment and the skills long-held by Inuit peoples to secure environmental and cultural wellbeing. This is essential, she explained, to not only secure Arctic ecosystems but to allow healing of historical trauma. It’s a question of human rights, social justice and planetary survival. Our futures are profoundly connected One of the final panels, Beyond 2020, outlined the opportunity for Canada in the coming year. The conditions are set:

  • growing momentum and investments by governments to advance protected areas;
  • strong public support for the protection of nature;
  • unequivocal scientific consensus on the need to address species loss and on the road map for how to do it;
  • a burgeoning, if unmet, demand for reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
What is needed now, Stephen Woodley and other panelists pointed out, is for a major mobilization of Canadians to insist on ambitious action. The movement needs to be larger than politicians—across ENGOs, youth, communities, business, Indigenous peoples and others, propelling leaders to action. At Nature Canada we’re excited at the opportunity in the year ahead to mobilize with Canadians from all walks of life to call on the next federal  government to #MakeRoomForNature by setting and achieving ambitious national and global targets to protect 30% of land and waters by 2030, and up 50% in the longer term. Join us!

Going batty! Discover 5 Canadian bats
News

Going batty! Discover 5 Canadian bats

Dracula has been giving bats a bad rep and they are often misunderstood creatures. Did you know only 0.3% of bats actually drink blood? Many eat only fruit or pollen, and others are the ultimate bug zappers, ridding you of those pesky mosquitoes by the thousands! If you thought bats were scary, think again! Many are actually quite cute. Between being a flying mammal and using echolocation, bats are certainly interesting creatures. In Canada, there are 17 bat species found across the country. Below are a few of the common species you might find living near you.

Northern Myotis

 image of a Nothern Myotis  
Scientific name: Myotis septentrionalis
Canadian Range: BC, AB, SK, MB, ON, QC, NB, PEI, NS, NL, NT, YT
COSEWIC status: Endangered
SARA status: Endangered
Description: weight 4.3-10.8 g; length about 7.8 cm; wingspan 23-26 cm A small brown bat with a long, slender and pointed tragus, and ears that extend past the nose when pressed forward.
 

Little Brown Myotis

 image of a Little Brown Myotis  
Scientific name: Myotis lucifugus 
Canadian Range: BC, AB, SK, MB, ON, QC, NB, PEI, NS, NL, NT, YT
COSEWIC status: Endangered
SARA status: Endangered
Description: weight 5.5-11.0 g; length 6-10.2 cm; wingspan 22-27 cm A small brown bat with a short blunt tragus.
 

Hoary Bat

 image of a Hoary Bat  
Scientific name: Lasiurus cinereus
Canadian Range: BC, AB, SK, MB, ON, QC, NB, NS, NL, NT
COSEWIC status: no status
SARA status: no status
Description: weight 20-30 g; length 13-15 cm; wingspan about 43 cm A bat with white-tinged grey-brown fur, giving it a frosty appearance. Its ears are short, broad, and rounded, and it has a blunt, rounded nose.
 

Red Bat

 image of a Red Bat
Scientific name: Lasiurus borealis
Canadian Range: MB, SK, ON, QC, NB, NS, PEI
COSEWIC status: no status
SARA status: no status
Description: weight 7-13 g; length 9.3-11.7 cm A medium-sized bat with red fur that is white tipped.
 

Big Brown Bat

 image of a Big Brown Bat
Scientific name: Eptesicus fuscus
Canadian Range: BC, AB, MB, SK, ON, QC, NB
COSEWIC status: no status
SARA status: no status
Description: weight around 23 g; length 11-13 cm; wingspan about 33 cm A brown bat with a lighter underside. Its ears are rounded with a broad, rounded tragus, and it has a broad nose.

More Canadian bats and where to find them
BC AB SK MB ON QC NB NS PE NL NT YT NU
Northern Myotis x x x x x x x x x x x x
Little Brown Myotis x x x x x x x x x x x x x
Eastern Small-footed Myotis x x
Red Bat x x x x x x x
Hoary Bat x x x x x x x x x x x
Silver-haired Bat x x x x x x x x x
Big Brown Bat x x x x x x x
Tri-coloured Bat x x x x
California Myotis x
Fringed Bat x
Keen's Long-eared Bat x
Long-eared Myotis x x x
Long-legged Myotis x x
Townsend's Big-eared Bat x
Western Small-footed Myotis x x x
Yuma Myotis x
Spotted Bat x
Pallid Bat x
SARA status : Endangered; Threatened; Special Concern Eager to spot the bats living in your neighbourhood? Don’t forget you can rent a bat detector through Nature Canada! To do so, please contact our NatureHood Program Manager at info@naturecanada.ca.
Acknowledgements: COSEWIC, IUCN Red List, and Animal Diversity Web

Nature groups “make room for species” across Canada with summer events
News

Nature groups “make room for species” across Canada with summer events

At Nature Canada one of our core missions is to get people outside discovering nature and wildlife. We also know it isn't enough to passively protect parks and natural areas—we need to inspire nature lovers to take action. This summer we were proud to support nature groups across the country who organized hikes, field trips and presentations to spread awareness of the importance of protecting wildlife species by doubling protected areas in Canada by 2020. Our network headed out into their communities and engaged hundreds of Canadians in new experiences while supporting petitions calling for more protected areas in Canada. Check out some of the amazing events organized below! Families from Calgary took a field trip to Mount Yamnuska on Sept. 7, where Katrina from the Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation and Vicki from the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society of Southern Alberta led educational events focused on local wildlife and habitats. Children and parents got the chance to see first-hand how our natural environment is being damaged during a three-hour hike—and how important it is to protect what we have left. On July 18 our partners in Saskatchewan hosted a dinner Conservation Awareness event. Nature Saskatchewan staff shared stories about helping animals like Burrowing Owls, Piping Plovers and Loggerhead Shrikes. Natural grassland habitat is one of the landscapes disappearing fastest from our planet - but not everyone knows that. The summer event helped encourage locals to sign our petition calling for more grassland habitat to be protected. Across Alberta, the Alberta Wilderness Association organized seven summer hikes, including visits to diverse habitats like grasslands, parkland, foothills and of course, the Rockies. All in, the Wilderness Association welcomed 121 hikers over the summer. There is probably no better place than the trail to discuss nature issues like Canada's Target 1 goals or how we can better shape the province's parks network to protect migratory animals and learn about endangered species such as the Sage Grouse. In Fredericton volunteers from Nature New Brunswick brought the Protected Areas message (and a tree!) to the Boyce Farmers' Market. Locals were able to join the campaign to double protected areas and made "nature wishes" to hang in the tree - including hopes for more outdoor adventure and clean air and water.

  These are just examples of some of the ways our partners continually reach out to Canadians to encourage them to connect with and defend our nature. We look forward to working with partners next year on even more summer events to build public support and awareness of the plight of species and how Canada needs to #MakeRoomForNature.

Four questions to ask political candidates about their plan for nature
News

Four questions to ask political candidates about their plan for nature

Canada goes to the polls for our federal election on October 21, 2019. Now more than ever, we require elected officials who understand the urgent need to protect nature. As a charity, Nature Canada doesn't endorse or support any candidate or political party. Instead, we want to see every single candidate talking about nature and the environment. You can help! If you care about wildlife and nature, help us make it a campaign issue.

Engage candidates at the door

In the run-up to the election, candidates will be out at events in your community. They may even knock on your door. This is the perfect opportunity to remind them that you'll use your vote for nature. Here's a few questions to ask:
  • Will you advance meaningful protection and recovery of Canada’s species at risk and address species decline?
  • Will you support Indigenous-led conservation of protected areas in Canada to advance reconciliation and protect nature?
  • Will you support an immediate ban on all neonicotinoid pesticides and support farmers in making the transition to safer alternatives?
  • What are three actions you plan on taking to protect our local environment and waterways?
 

New report on massive bird declines shows evidence of ecological crisis
News

New report on massive bird declines shows evidence of ecological crisis

September 20, 2019 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Nature Canada reacts to Decline of North American Avifauna report Naturalist director Ted Cheskey available for interviews on bird declines in Canada OTTAWA (Sept. 20, 2019)—Ted Cheskey, Naturalist Director of Nature Canada made the following statement in response to a new report in Science called, “Decline of North American Avifauna”: “We can see in this report a lot of similarities between the State of Canada’s Birds 2019 report released in June. All regularly occurring 529 species in USA and Canada were analyzed for trends since 1970, and the news is not good. The results from the 1970 to present analysis are net loss of 2.9 billion birds, out of around 10 billion total for USA and Canada. Groups that are doing especially poorly will be familiar to many Canadians: forest birds, grassland birds and aerial insectivores. Even common birds like Red-winged blackbird, Horned Lark, House sparrow and Juncos have seen declines. While some groups of birds have actually increased, the overall number of birds has plummeted. The paper is about the science, but the researchers also state that this is clearly a sign of ecological crisis that birds indicate so well. Habitat loss, pesticides, cats, windows, and climate change are identified as key culprits.”   Notes:

  • The full report is available at 3billionbirds.org.
  • In less than a single lifetime, North America has lost more than one in four of its birds, according to a report in the world’s leading scientific journal.
  • Nature Canada’s work involves monitoring and restoring habitat for shorebirds, aerial insectivores and grassland species around the country.
  • Nature Canada also runs the “Cats and Birds” campaign, an education and awareness program aimed at helping to keep cats safe and save bird lives.
  – 30 – About Nature Canada Nature Canada has helped protect more than 63 million acres of parks and wildlife areas and fostered a love of nature by connecting more Canadians to the outdoors. The organization represents a network of 95,000 supporters and more than 750 nature organizations across the country.

Want to Help?

Canada’s wilderness is the world’s envy. It’s our duty to keep our true north strong and green.

Donate