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Species Spotlight: Eastern Musk Turtle
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Species Spotlight: Eastern Musk Turtle

Get to know some of the species at risk in the Lac Deschênes IBA with the Species Spotlight, aka “Sp-Spot”. Today meet the: Eastern Musk Turtle [caption id="attachment_1807" align="alignleft" width="300"]Photo by Jeroni Hefner Photo by Jeroni Hefner[/caption] Scientific Name: Sternotherus odoratus SARA Status: Threatened; Ontario: Threatened; Quebec: Threatened Taxonomic Group: Reptile Size: Typically between 5.1 and 11.5cm long, although the largest individual on record was 13.7 cm long. The musk turtle is one of the smallest species of turtles in North-America. It has two light yellow stripes on each side of its head, and barbels on the chin and the throat. The carapace (the upper shell) of the musk turtle is smooth and its color can vary amongst individuals between olive green, brown, and almost black. The plastron (the shell breastplate) of the musk turtle is proportionally smaller than the plastron of other turtle species, as it has been reduced to allow for greater leg movements. Musk turtles hibernate during the winter. They must avoid freezing so they burrow in the muddy bottom of lakes, rivers, ponds or marshes. In the spring, they are most abundant in warm shallow bays where the water is heated by the sun. They can be seen basking on sunny days near the surface of still waters, amid the vegetation. As the season progresses, the water temperature increases and the musk turtles disperse to deeper waters. During the active season, musk turtles crawl along muddy bottoms in search of food. They are omnivorous and eat mainly mollusks such as snails and zebra mussels, and insect larvae such as caddisfly larvae. They are able to remain underwater for extended periods of time since, in addition to having lungs and being air-breathers, they can also exchange gases via their cloaca. In fact, the great majority of their time is spent submerged in the water allowing algae to grow on their carapace. Musk turtles breed underwater. Females lay eggs in shallow excavations that they dig themselves, or that they find near the edge of the water. Direct sunlight is needed on the nest during incubation as the female’s work is done as soon as the eggs are laid. The hatchlings emerge 2-3 months later. Where Else Can You See This Species? Musk turtles are only found on the eastern side of the North-American continent from the edge of the Canadian Shield in Ontario and Quebec south to Texas, and as far west as Wisconsin. These turtles are difficult to detect as they rarely leave the water and so data is limited on their distribution. Across their range, musk turtle population density seems to be low because the number of sightings is low, however, some local populations can reach very high densities. Did you know? • The Musk Turtle is also called the “Stinkpot” due to the two glands under the edge of the carapace which release a very foul smelling liquid. Releasing this yellowish musk serves as an anti-predator mechanism. • This turtle may spend most of its time underwater, but many sources portray the musk turtle as an avid tee climber. However musk turtles are rarely seen on land or in trees. Although the reduced size of their plastron allows for greater mobility, they dehydrate out of water much faster than other turtles. Check back every week to read about a different species at risk that can be found in Lac Deschênes. You can report sightings of this and other rare species to the Canadian Wildlife Service at (819) 997-2800 or on the MNR Natural Heritage Information Centre website. A photo and a location are very helpful! We would like to thank our guest blogger Julie Châteauvert for this post. Julie is a biologist from Gatineau Québec who is interested in herpetology and natural history.

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Species Spotlight: Butternut
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Species Spotlight: Butternut

Get to know some of the species at risk in the Lac Deschênes IBA with the Species Spotlight, aka “Sp-Spot”. Today meet the: Butternut [caption id="attachment_2015" align="alignleft" width="300"]Butternut Tree Butternut Tree[/caption] Scientific Name: Juglans cinerea SARA status: Endangered Taxonomic Group: Vascular Plants Size: Grows to a maximum of 30 m tall and 90 cm in diameter The Butternut is a medium-sized tree that belongs to the walnut family. Its leaves are compound with 11 to 17 stalkless leaflets (9 – 15 cm long each) arranged in an opposite, feather-like pattern. The terminal leaflet is large and similar in size to that of the other leaflets. The bark is grey and smooth in texture in young trees. As the tree ages wide, irregular, flat-topped ridges form in the bark. The fruit is a large, oval nut that contains one seed and is surrounded by a green, hairy husk. This is an important food source for birds, squirrels and other small mammals. Butternut is similar in appearance to Black Walnut, which differs in the alternately arranged and stalked leaflets and the terminal leaflet is underdeveloped or missing. The biggest threat to the Butternut is a fungus called the Butternut Canker. Diseased areas, called cankers, develop under the bark and surround the trunk and branches. The cankers cut off the flow of water and nutrients, strangling the tree. It is estimated that in some area the fungus has killed 80% of the Butternut trees. The fungus typically kills the tree quickly, but some trees have been known to live for 30 years with the disease. It is hoped that the uninfected trees carry some resistance and that propagating them will lead to the recovery of the species. Where Else Can You See This Species? The butternut is native to eastern North America. It grows as far north as southern Ontario and Quebec and as far [caption id="attachment_2016" align="alignright" width="300"]Butternut tree Butternut tree[/caption] south as northern Arkansas and Alabama. It is mainly found in stands of deciduous forest and flood plains and prefers moist, well-drained soils and sunny areas. Butternut can often be found along streams, forest edges, fence lines and in open fields. You can find these trees scattered throughout the Lac Deschênes IBA. Did You Know? • Butternut has a wide variety of uses. It has been used medicinally to treat toothaches and digestive troubles. As a food source, it is eaten either on its own or mixed in to breads, sauces and other dishes. The tree can be tapped and the sap boiled into syrup and yellowish-brown dye can be made by boiling the inner bark. • The Butternut is a relatively short-lived tree, rarely growing more than 100 years. • It is estimated that there are about 13,000 Butternut trees in Ontario, but because they are scattered throughout the region it is difficult to do an accurate inventory of the species. • Butternut trees produce the chemical juglone, which can kill or stunt the growth of neighbouring plants. Check back every week to read about a different species at risk that can be found in Lac Deschênes. You can report sightings of this and other rare species to the Canadian Wildlife Service at (819) 997-2800 or on the MNR Natural Heritage Information Centre website. A photo and a location are very helpful! We would like to thank our guest blogger Michelle Locke for this post. Michelle is a contract research technician at the Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes. She studies flies of the family Syrphidae, the flower flies, but enjoys opportunities to work with and study all other forms of wildlife when she can.

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Species Spotlight: Lake Sturgeon
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Species Spotlight: Lake Sturgeon

Get to know some of the species at risk in the Lac Deschênes IBA with the Species Spotlight, aka “Sp-Spot”. Today meet the: Lake Sturgeon [caption id="attachment_2226" align="alignleft" width="300"]Lake Sturgeon Lake Sturgeon[/caption] Scientific Name: Acipanser fulvescens SARA status: Not listed, Ontario: Threatened, Quebec:  Likely to be designated Taxonomic group: Fishes Size: Up to 180 kilograms, and over 2 meters long The largest freshwater fish in Canada, the Lake Sturgeon, can be easily recognized by its external bony scutes which are noticeable ridges along the fish’s body which are more noticeable in larvae and juveniles. They also have a pointed snout and 4 dangling whisker-like organs, called barbells, located around the mouth. The Lake Sturgeon has shark-like features such as a cartilaginous skeleton and an extra fin at the back to help it maneuver known as a caudal fin. Lake Sturgeons can be found at depths of at least 5 meters but no greater than 20 meters. They move to shallower water, at depths of 0.6 and 5 meters to spawn in both rivers and lakes in areas with high currents, as well as in open shoals. The water Lake Sturgeon use to spawn is fast flowing, usually under waterfalls, rapids or dams. The substrates of these areas generally include hard-pan clay, sand, gravel and boulders. Lake Sturgeon will travel up to 400 km to their spawning areas, returning every year to the same location they were born in. If the Lake Sturgeon is unable to spawn in their usual areas they will spawn in deeper water where a similar habitat is available. Males will take up to 18-20 years to reach sexual maturity, while females take a longer 20-24 years. However females live to approximately 150 years while males only live an average of 55 years. The number of eggs produced during spawning can range between 50,000 to over 1,000,000 depending on the size of the fish. The eggs incubate for between 7-10 days, and in water with temperatures of 13-15 ̊C. Lake Sturgeon is a threatened species because it was overfished starting in late 1800’s early 1900’s. At first these fish were caught because of the damage they did to fishing gear, but soon there became a market for the fish and their eggs and they became a commercial product. Where else can you see this species? Lake Sturgeon can be found in Canada from Alberta to the St. Lawrence drainage in Quebec, and from the southern Hudson Bay region to lower Mississippi and Alabama. Lake Sturgeon are largely found in the Great Lakes-upper St. Lawrence river, northwestern Ontario, and southern Hudson Bay- James Bay. Did you know? • Lake Sturgeon are considered living fossils due to the lack of changes they have undergone from the Devonian period to today. • The largest Sturgeon ever recorded was found in Roseau River, Manitoba weighing 185kg and measuring 4.6 meters long. • The Lake Sturgeon is the only strictly freshwater species of Sturgeon found in Canadian waters. • The oldest recorded Lake Sturgeon recorded was 155 years old; and was found in Lake Huron. • Lake Sturgeon are omnivores, meaning that they eat both plants and animals. Check back every week to read about a different species at risk that can be found in Lac Deschênes. You can report sightings of this and other rare species to the Canadian Wildlife Service at (819) 997-2800 or on the MNR Natural Heritage Information Centre website. A photo and a location are very helpful! We would like to thank our guest blogger Rebecca Perrin for this post. Rebecca is a Co-op student with Nature Canada who loves to spend time enjoying the beauty of nature.

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Workshops – eBird & other online citizen science tools
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Workshops – eBird & other online citizen science tools

Join Nature Canada to learn about eBird and other online citizen science tools!
[caption id="attachment_1302" align="alignleft" width="155"]Stephanie Wilson and Alexander MacDonald specie watching at Mud Lake Birdwatching at Mud Lake[/caption] If you're interested in birdwatching, butterfly watching or any other forms of wildlife observation, and you'd like to know how your sightings can help scientists, join us for this introductory workshop. We will provide a basic demonstration of new online tools that allow anyone with an internet connection and basic wildlife ID skills to help scientists gather important data.
  • When: Wednesday, January 15 - 2:30pm      - and -    Friday, January 17th - 2:30pm   (the same workshop is being offered twice)
  • Where: Garden Room, Ron Kolbus Lakeside Centre - 102 Greenview Ave, Ottawa
  • What: 45 minute interactive presentation (bilingual) with 20 minute outdoor walk (bilingual). Light refreshments will be provided. A limited number of binoculars and field guides will also be available for use.
  • Who: Anyone with an interest in birds or other wildlife. No previous knowledge of eBird, eButterfly or other citizen science tools is required. IMPORTANT: We will be offering a special opportunity for secondary school students to gain up to 5 volunteer hours if they participate in this event.
  • Why: To show the public how simple backyard wildlife observations can inform important scientific research
*** For more information and to register, please contact Alex MacDonald by email or phone (613-562-3447 x300). *** We look forward to seeing you there! PLEASE NOTE: We ask that all attendees register in advance for the event

Aperçu espèce: L’engoulevent bois-pourri
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Aperçu espèce: L’engoulevent bois-pourri

Familiarisez-vous avec des espèces en péril de la ZICO Lac Deschênes. Cette semaine, Pleins feux sur les espèces présente l’Engoulevent bois-pourri [caption id="attachment_2039" align="alignleft" width="300"]l’Engoulevent bois-pourri l’Engoulevent bois-pourri[/caption] Nom scientifique : Antrostomus vociferus Statut LEP et COSEPAC : Espèce menacée Groupe taxinomique : Oiseaux Taille : 22-27 cm de long; envergure 45-50cm; poids 42-59 g L’engoulevent bois-pourri est un oiseau nocturne de taille moyenne. Il a une grosse tête aplatie, de gros yeux et un petit bec. Ses longues plumes très fines aux commissures du bec lui servent de poils sensoriels. Ses ailes arrondies n’atteignent pas le bout de sa queue lorsqu’elles sont repliées. Sa couleur est un mélange de gris-brun foncé. La culotte du mâle et de la femelle est de couleur plus pâle. Son collier, blanc chez le mâle et jaunâtre chez la femelle, contraste avec sa gorge foncée. Sur chaque côté de la queue, il y une tache blanche chez le mâle et chamois chez la femelle. Le cri de l’engoulevent bois-pourri est un « ouîp-pour-ouîl » très reconnaissable et qui est à l’origine de son nom anglais Whip-poor-will. Le mâle répète ce cri sans cesse la nuit durant la période de reproduction. Surtout lorsqu’il vole, il peut aussi émettre une sorte de gloussement. Le vol de l’Engoulement bois-pourri est plutôt irrégulier, semblable à celui d’un papillon. La nuit, il rase le sol pour attraper de gros insectes. L’Engoulevent bois-pourri aime se reposer sur des branches près du sol, des tas de feuilles ou sur le bord des routes en gravier. C’est un maître du camouflage car sa couleur se fond facilement avec son environnement – voilà pourquoi il est plus facile de l’entendre que de le voir. La femelle de cette espèce ne bâtit aucun nid et elle pond plutôt ses 2 œufs directement sur le sol. Au cours de la dernière décennie, les populations de cette espèce ont chuté de plus de 30 %, principalement en raison de la perte de son habitat due à la fragmentation du paysage et à la dégradation de l’environnement. De plus, les populations sont touchées par une baisse du nombre d’insectes engendrée par l’utilisation des pesticides. Également, parce qu’il a l’habitude de raser le sol et de se reposer en bordure des routes, l’Engoulevent bois-pourri est plus susceptible d’être victime de collisions avec des véhicules. Où peut-on voir ou entendre cette espèce? Durant la période de reproduction, on peut apercevoir ou entendre l’Engoulevent bois-pourri dans la partie sud-est du Canada, dans l’est de la Saskatchewan jusqu’à la Nouvelle-Écosse et de l’Oklahoma à la Caroline du Sud aux États-Unis. Durant l’hiver, il migre au sud de la Floride, en Amérique centrale et au nord du Mexique. Parce qu’il chante moins hors de la période de reproduction et qu’il est difficile de l’observer, un grande partie de ses routes et habitudes migratoires demeurent un mystère. L’Engoulevent bois-pourri déteste les espaces ouverts et préfère plutôt les chênes et les pins pour se reproduire et hiverner. Durant la période de reproduction, il opte pour des forêts semi-ouvertes qui avoisinent une clairière et de la végétation au sol. Le saviez-vous? • On parle souvent de l’Engoulevent bois-pourri dans les œuvres littéraires, les poèmes et les chansons. • L’Engoulevent bois-pourri pond ses œufs selon le cycle lunaire de sorte que ces derniers éclosent peu avant la pleine lune. Ainsi, les parents peuvent attraper plus d’insectes pour nourrir leurs oisillons. • Comme la plupart des espèces nocturnes, les yeux de l’Engoulevent bois-pourri reflètent la lumière ce qui les rend rouges et brillants. Consultez ce blogue chaque semaine pour connaître l’une des espèces à risque que vous pouvez observer au Lac Deschênes. Signalez vos observations de l’Engoulevent bois-pourri ou d’autres espèces rares au Service canadien de la faune en composant le 819.997.2800 ou sur le site Web du Centre d’information sur le patrimoine naturel du Ministère des Richesses naturelles. N’oubliez pas d’inclure une photo et le lieu! Nous aimerions remercier notre blogueuse invitée Rachel Thibodeau pour cet article. Rachel est technicienne en écologie appliquée. Elle a travaillé pendant plus de trois ans en Nouvelle-Écosse sur différentes espèces en péril dont la Tortue mouchetée et la Couleuvre mince. Depuis 2012, elle est bénévole dans la région Ottawa–Gatineau.

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Species Spotlight: Eastern Whip-poor-will
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Species Spotlight: Eastern Whip-poor-will

Get to know some of the species at risk in the Lac Deschênes IBA with the Species Spotlight, aka “Sp-Spot”. Today meet the: Eastern Whip-poor-will [caption id="attachment_2039" align="alignleft" width="300"]Eastern Whip-poor-will Eastern Whip-poor-will[/caption] Scientific Name: Antrostomus vociferus SARA and COSEWIC Status: Threatened Taxonomic Group: Birds Size: length of 22-27 cm, wingspan of 45-50cm, weight 42-59 g The Whip-poor-will is a nocturnal bird of medium size. It has a large flattened head with big eyes and a small bill. The corner of their mouth has long, fine feathers that serve as sensory bristles. Their wings are rounded and do not reach the tip of the tail when folded. Their colour is a scattered mix of black dark gray and brown. Both the male and the female have lighter coloured underpants. They have a necklace which is whiter for the male and yellowish for the female that contrast with their dark throat. The males have a white patch on both sides of the tail while they are buff for the female. The Whip-poor-will got its name from their call, which literally sounds like a loud ‘’whip poor will’’ that the male repeats over and over at night during mating season. They can also make a cluck sound especially in flight. The Whip-Poor-Will has an erratic mothlike flight. At night it will fly close to the ground and catch large insects. The Whip-poor-will likes to sit on low branches and on leaf litter on the ground, or on the sides of gravel roads. It is a master of camouflage as its colouring blends easily with its surroundings. For this reason it is much easier to hear a Whip-poor-will than to see one. The female Whip-Poor-Will doesn't make a nest, but instead lays her 2 eggs directly on the ground. Population have reduced by more than 30% over the last 10 years mainly as a result of habitat loss caused by fragmentation and degradation of the environment. In additional populations are being impacted by the reduction in insect numbers mainly due to pesticide use. Whip-poor-wills are also very vulnerable to collision with vehicles due to their behaviour of swooping low to the ground and sitting on the side of roads. Where else can you see this species? During the mating season, the Whip-poor-will can be found in south eastern Canada from east Saskatchewan to Nova Scotia and from Oklahoma to South Carolina in the United State. During the winter the Whip-poor-will migrate to the south of Florida, Central America and north Mexico. Because they are less vocal outside their breeding season and difficult to study, much about their migration routes remain a mystery. The Whip-poor-will dislikes open space and dense forest but shows some preference for oak and pine trees for both breeding and wintering area. For the breeding area it prefers semi-open forests with a clearing nearby and ground vegetation. Did you know? • The Whip-poor-will appears often in literature, poems and songs. • Whip-poor-will lay their eggs with the moon cycle, so when they hatch it is close to a full moon. They can catch more insect to feed their nestling this way. • Like other animal active at night, the eyes of the Whip-poor-will reflect the light giving them a red shine. Check back every week to read about a different species at risk that can be found in Lac Deschênes. You can report sightings of this and other rare species to the Canadian Wildlife Service at (819) 997-2800 or on the MNR Natural Heritage Information Centre website. A photo and a location are very helpful! We would like to thank guest blogger Rachel Thibodeau for this post. Rachel is a technician in applied ecology. She has worked for more than three years in Nova Scotia on different species at risk including Blanding Turtle and Ribbon Snake. Since 2012, she has volunteer in the Ottawa - Gatineau area.

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Species Spotlight: Northern Map Turtle
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Species Spotlight: Northern Map Turtle

Get to know some of the species at risk in the Lac Deschênes IBA with the Species Spotlight, aka “Sp-Spot”. Today meet the: Northern Map Turtle [caption id="attachment_1826" align="alignleft" width="300"]Map Turtle_Todd Pierson2 Photograph by
Todd Pierson[/caption] Scientific Name: Graptemys geographica SARA Status: Special Concern; Ontario: Special Concern; Quebec: Vulnerable Taxonomic Group: Reptile Size: Males are much smaller than females. Males typically measure 9 to 15.9 cm in length, while females are 18 to 27.3 cm in length. The head of the female is also proportionally larger than the head of the male. The northern map turtle is an aquatic species that prefers the clear waters of large rivers or lakes. The carapace of this turtle is decorated with light yellow or tan lines that resemble the contour lines on a map. The edges of their shell are flared, giving the map turtle a hydrodynamic look. It also has a yellow spot behind the eye. These turtles feed almost exclusively on snails, mussels, and insect larvae. Females generally consume more snails and mussels than males because the larger size of their heads makes it easier for them to process this food item. Comparatively, males consume more insect larvae. Like other freshwater turtle species, the northern map turtle hibernates during the winter months. Because they are intolerant to the low availability of oxygen typical of most hibernation sites, their choice of overwintering site is more limited than that of other species. Consequently, these turtles will usually hibernate in large groups in the few locations where oxygen remains available throughout the winter season. In the spring, large groups of map turtle can be seen basking nearby their overwintering site. Later in the warm season, they will disperse into the surrounding lakes and rivers. Where Else Can You See This Species? The northern map turtle is found in southeastern Québec and Ontario and in northern Vermont in the St-Lawrence watershed. The western limit to their distribution is the Appalachians, and the southern limit is Kansas. Did you know? • This species exhibits extreme sexual size dimorphism which means that the females are much larger than the males. • The difference in size between males and females is accompanied by a difference in age when the turtles reach sexual maturity. On average, females become mature 5 to 10 years later than the males. Check back every week to read about a different species at risk that can be found in Lac Deschênes. You can report sightings of this and other rare species to the Canadian Wildlife Service at (819) 997-2800 or on the MNR Natural Heritage Information Centre website. A photo and a location are very helpful! We would like to thank our guest blogger Julie Châteauvert for this post. Julie is a biologist from Gatineau Québec who is interested in herpetology and natural history.

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Aperçu espèce: La tortue géographique
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Aperçu espèce: La tortue géographique

Familiarisez-vous avec quelques espèces en péril de la ZICO Lac Deschênes. Cette semaine, Pleins feux vous présente la Tortue géographique [caption id="attachment_1826" align="alignleft" width="300"]Northern map turtle Todd Pierson Northern map turtle
Todd Pierson[/caption] Nom scientifique: Graptemys geographica Statut selon la LEP: Préoccupante Groupe taxinomique: Reptile Taille: Les mâles sont beaucoup plus petits que les femelles. Les mâles mesurent généralement entre 9 et 15,9 cm de longueur, tandis que les femelles mesurent entre 18 et 27,3 cm de longueur. La tête de la femelle est aussi proportionnellement plus large que celle du mâle. La tortue géographique est une espèce aquatique qui préfère les eaux claires des grandes rivières ou des grands lacs. La carapace de cette tortue est décorée de lignes jaunes pâles ou brun roux qui ressemblent à des traçages cartographiques. Les rebords de la carapace sont évasés donnant à la tortue géographique des caractéristiques hydrodynamiques. Elle possède aussi des tâches jaunes derrière les yeux. Ces tortues se nourrissent presque uniquement d’escargots, de moules et de larves d’insectes. Les femelles consomment généralement plus d’escargots et de moules que les mâles puisque leur tête plus large rend la transformation de cette nourriture plus facile. Relativement, les mâles consomment plus de larves d’insectes. Tout comme d’autres espèces de tortue d’eau douce, la tortue géographique hiberne durant les mois d’hiver. Puisqu’elles ne tolèrent pas bien les environnements à faible taux d’oxygène souvent retrouvés dans la plupart des sites d’hibernation, leurs choix de site hivernants sont plus limités que chez les autres espèces. Par conséquent, ces tortues hiberneront probablement au sein d’un important regroupement dans les quelques endroits où le taux d’oxygène demeure constant durant la saison hivernale. Au printemps, des grands groupes de tortue géographique peuvent être observés près de leur site hivernant. Plus tard dans la saison chaude, elles se dispersent dans les lacs et rivières avoisinantes. Retrouve-t-on cette espèce ailleurs? On retrouve la tortue géographique au sud-est du Québec et en Ontario, et au nord de Vermont dans le bassin versant du St-Laurent. Elles se répandent dans le nord jusqu’aux Appalaches et dans le sud jusqu’au Kansas. Le saviez-vous? • Cette espèce possède un haut degré de dimorphisme sexuel relativement à leur taille, c’est-à-dire que les femelles sont beaucoup plus grosses que les mâles. • La différence de taille entre les mâles et les femelles est liée à une différence d’âge lorsque les tortues atteignent leur maturité sexuelle. En moyenne, les femelles deviennent mature 5 à 10 ans plus tard que les mâles. Consultez ce blogue chaque semaine pour connaître l’une des espèces à risque que vous pouvez observer au Lac Deschênes. Signalez des observations du La tortue géographique ou d’autres espèces rares au Service canadien de la faune en composant le 819.997.2800 ou sur le site Web du Centre d’information sur le patrimoine naturel du Ministère des Richesses naturelles. N’oubliez pas d’inclure une photo et le lieu de l’observation!

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Aperçu espèce: Pie-grieche migratoire
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Aperçu espèce: Pie-grieche migratoire

Familiarisez-vous avec quelques espèces en péril de la ZICO Lac Deschênes. Cette semaine, Pleins feux vous présente la pie-grièche migratrice [caption id="attachment_1855" align="alignleft" width="300"]Photo by Matthew Paulson Photo by Matthew Paulson[/caption] Nom scientifique: Lanius ludovicianus Statut selon la LEP: en voie de disparition; Ontario: en voie de disparition Groupe taxinomique: Oiseaux Taille: 20 à 23 cm de taille, avec une envergure de l’aile entre 28 et 32 cm, et pèse de 35 à 50 g La pie-grièche migratrice est un oiseau chanteur de taille moyenne possédant une large tête et un bec crochu noir. Elle est en majeure partie de couleur blanche, sa tête et son dos sont gris, et ses ailes sont généralement de couleur noire ainsi qu’autour des yeux tel un masque de cambrioleur. Les mâles sont légèrement de plus gros. Bien que la pie-grièche migratrice soit un oiseau chanteur, elle est aussi une prédatrice. Cette chasseuse aime se percher, prête à sauter sur sa proie depuis les branches des arbres. Elle se nourrie principalement d’insectes tels que les sauterelles, mais aussi de grenouilles, de rongeurs, de lézards et même de petits oiseaux. Puisqu’elle n’a pas de griffes comme les autres oiseaux prédateurs, la pie-grièche migratrice va en fait empaler sa proie sur des épines ou des barbelés et utiliser son bec crochu pour la déchiqueter en petits morceaux. Cette approche est aussi utilisée pour le stockage de nourriture. Vous pouvez apercevoir la pie-grièche migratrice dans les zones ouvertes ou semi-ouvertes composées de prairies et de pâturages avec de petits arbres et arbustes parsemés. On peut aussi la retrouver le long des chemins où l’herbe est fauchée, sur les terrains de golf, les champs agricoles et les clairières. La pie-grièche migratrice niche dans les petits arbres ou arbustes. Les femelles construisent leur nid dans le creux des branches. Les parents ne défendent habituellement pas les œufs mais défendent cependant leur progéniture de façon très agressive. Lorsque les petits en sont capables, maman et papa leur apprennent l’art de la chasse. Les populations de la pie-grièche migratrice ont connu une forte diminution durant la dernière décennie. Malheureusement, les causes sont difficiles à identifier. Ces menaces pourraient être causées par la perte et la fragmentation d’habitat, l’accumulation des toxines chez l’espèce due aux pesticides et à la concurrence territoriale entre la pie-grièche migratrice et celle non-migratrice pendant la période de migration. Les camions et les voitures constituent aussi une menace pour les pies-grièches migratrices qui se perchent en bordure des routes. Retrouve-t-on cette espèce ailleurs? Cette espèce ne vie qu’en Amérique du Nord, et seulement les populations du nord sont des oiseaux migrateurs, voyageant du sud de l’Ontario et du Québec jusqu’aux États-Unis et Mexique. Elles retournent vers leurs lieux de reproduction à la fin mars ou en début d’avril, et retournent vers le sud en septembre; un parcours qu’elles entreprennent seules. En Ontario, leurs aires se limitent aux plaines calcaires de Carden et de Napanee, de Smith Falls, les régions de Pembroke et Renfrew, la Péninsule-Bruce et l’île Manitoulin. Elles ont été observées dans quelques ZICO, gardez alors les yeux grands ouverts à l’affût de cette espèce rare. Le saviez-vous? • Cet oiseau est aussi appelé l’oiseau boucher puisqu’il empale sa proie afin de se nourrir. • La pie-grièche migratrice peut transporter des proies aussi lourdes qu’elle-même en se servant de ses pattes ou de plus petites proies dans son bec. • En 2013, on n’en trouvait que 24 couples en Ontario, et on a raison de croire qu’il n’y en reste que 100 couples en Amérique du Nord. • Il existe un programme de reproduction en captivité pour les pies-grièches migratrices en Ontario et au Québec qui a réussi à libérer en nature 18 oiseaux nés en captivités entre 2001 et 2009. Consultez ce blogue chaque semaine pour connaître l’une des espèces à risque que vous pouvez observer au Lac Deschênes. Signalez des observations du La pie-grièche migratrice ou d’autres espèces rares au Service canadien de la faune en composant le 819.997.2800 ou sur le site Web du Centre d’information sur le patrimoine naturel du Ministère des Richesses naturelles. N’oubliez pas d’inclure une photo et le lieu de l’observation!

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Species Spotlight: Loggerhead Shrike
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Species Spotlight: Loggerhead Shrike

Get to know some of the species at risk in the Lac Deschênes IBA with the Species Spotlight, aka “Sp-Spot”. Today meet the:  Loggerhead Shrike [caption id="attachment_1855" align="alignleft" width="300"]Photo by Matthew Paulson Photo by Matthew Paulson[/caption] Scientific Name: Lanius ludovicianus SARA Status: Endangered; Ontario: Endangered; Quebec: Threatened Taxonomic group: Birds Size: 20-23 cm size, with a wingspan of 28-32 cm, and weigh 35-50 g The Loggerhead Shrike is a medium-sized songbird, with a large head and a thick black, hooked upper bill. It is mostly white with grey on its crown and back, mainly black wings and a bandit-like black mask covering the eyes. Males are slightly larger. The Loggerhead Shrike may be a songbird but it is perhaps best known for its overt, often inelegant predatory behaviour. This hunter likes to perch, ready on tree branches to ambush its prey, which includes large insects like grasshoppers, but also frogs, rodents, lizards and even small birds. Since the Loggerhead Shrike has no sharp claws like other birds of prey, it will actually impale its prey on thorns or barbed wires and use their hooked bill to tear it into bite sized pieces. This behavior is also used as a method of food 'storage'. Look for the Loggerhead Shrike in open and semi-open areas of short grassland and pastures with scattered low trees and shrubs. It can also be found along mowed roadsides, in golf courses, agricultural fields and open woodlands.  Loggerhead Shrikes nest in small trees or shrubs. The females build the nest deep inside the branches. The parents will not usually defend the eggs, but will defend their young very aggressively. When the chicks are able mom and dad help them learn the art of hunting. The Loggerhead Shrike populations have suffered a dramatic decline in the last decades. Unfortunately the causes have been difficult to identify. The threats may include habitat loss and fragmentation, accumulation of toxins in pretty species due to pesticides and territorial competition with non-migratory Shrikes when migrating. Cars and trucks also pose a threat to Loggerhead Shrikes perched along roads. Where Else Can You See This Species? This species lives only in North America, and only the northern populations are migratory birds, flying from southern Ontario and Quebec to United States and Mexico.  They return to their breeding range in late March or early April  and return south in September, migrating alone. In Ontario their range is restricted to the Carden and Napanee limestone plains, the Smith Falls plain, the Pembroke and Renfrew areas, the Bruce Peninsula, and Manitoulin Island.  There have been very few observations within the IBA - largely on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River - but be sure to keep an eye out for this rare species. The similar-looking Northern Shrike can be spotted more readily in the IBA. Did you know? •    This bird is also known as the butcher bird because it impales its prey to feed. •    The Loggerhead Shrike can carry prey as heavy as itself with its feet or smaller prey with its beak. •    In 2013, only 24 pairs were found in Ontario, and it is believed that only 100 pairs remain in North America. •    There is a captive breeding program for Loggerhead Shrike in Ontario and Quebec which has released 18 captive-bred birds between 2001 and 2009. Check back every week to read about a different species at risk that can be found in Lac Deschênes. You can report sightings of this and other rare species to the Canadian Wildlife Service at (819) 997-2800 or on the MNR Natural Heritage Information Centre website. A photo and a location are very helpful! We would like to thank our guest blogger Monica Reyes for this post. Monica is a conservation volunteer for Nature Canada. She is a biologist from Mexico interested in wildlife conservation and environmental education.

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