Learning to spot natural camouflage

People are always asking me how I’m able to spot so many amazing animals in such random places. The answer isn’t exciting: I’ve learned not only where to look, but how to look. The next time you take a walk, take time to really look at the trees, along their branches, and inside their holes […]

Witnessing the birth of a butterfly

I’ve done owl releases, fox releases, turkey releases, and even mink releases, but the other day I was present for something a lot smaller, but just as special: a butterfly release. My adventure began when I met with Jennifer Ballantine and her mother Sandy. The two have been raising monarch butterflies for about four years, […]

Moth disguised as bird surprises

On a recent beautiful summer day you would have found me sitting outside my house watching the hummingbirds and cardinal babies. Where else would I rather be? At one point, when I saw movement among the flowers, I thought I had spotted another hummingbird. However, when I really focused I could tell the colours just […]

Ontario’s little brown bats now listed as endangered

On a sunny afternoon at Ashbridges Bay I noticed something flying very low overhead. Whatever it was had strangely shaped wings and a rather odd flap pattern. When I asked my friend Richard what the bird was, he informed me that our visitor was actually a bat. The bat continued to fly around us for […]

Virginia opossums in east Toronto

After seven years I had reluctantly resigned myself to believing that I’d have to go to Australia to see my first wild marsupial. This acceptance was followed, as often seems to happen, by two sightings in just two days! It is a little inaccurate to say that I’d never seen an opossum in the GTA […]

Beach books

Mother Nature is Trying to Kill You By Dan Riskin, Ph.D. Touchstone/Simon & Schuster, 260 pgs Reviewed by Jon Muldoon Dan Riskin was probably the first kid in his social circle during elementary school to break the news that Santa isn’t real. I don’t know this for a fact, but judging by Mother Nature is […]

Frozen berries offer winter meals

As many of you might have gathered, I am constantly outside on the lookout for new animals and scenery, or just for the sake of being outdoors. On my way downtown the other day, my eyes were drawn to the red berries in the bushes along Lakeshore between Ashbridges Bay and Leslie Street. On most […]

Rusty not your average blackbird

At the end of October I received a photo from my friends Bruce Girard and Sue McKay, who had seen a bird and wondered what it was. This has become an increasingly common occurrence in my life, now that for many of my friends I’m no longer Ann, but rather ‘the hawk lady’. This particular […]

Northern Pintail is elegance on the water

As many of my readers know, after work I often go to Bluffers Park to see the swans, ducks, geese, and even the various types of gulls. On one particular day there were 30-plus Trumpeter Swans, a few Mute Swans, and even one special little cygnet (baby swan) I’ve taken to calling Coral. With a […]