Wildlife Viewing & Photography
Are Great in the Boreal Forests of Northern Ontario Canada
The boreal forests
of Northern Ontario Canada are home to a great diversity of wildife.
At our wilderness resort you can have significant opportunities
to see many types of animals and birds native to the boreal forest.
The two most popular animals, and most common, animals to see
are the magnificent moose and the opportunistic Black Bear. Besides
Moose and Black Bear opportunities to see Mink, Otter and Lynx
are also very common although they are easy to miss. Timber Wolves,
Pine Marten, Fisher and other boreal forest wildlife are common
in our area but we do not see them very much because they are
forest hunter without much liking for water.
Moose sightings are most
common in June and July, and fairly common in September. Although
Moose are the largest members of the Deer family, they are very
different from Deer. Aside from being approximately 4 times larger,
they are adapted to eating underwater plants, and are mush more
intelligent than Deer. They are also not a herd animal and keep
to themselves most of the year. Deer also carry a number of diseases
which have little effect on Deer but are deadly to Moose.
In June and July the underwater plants are
growing and succulent in the wetlands of Wabatongushi where the
Moose spend hours grazing underwater. Moose Calves are generally
born in early June. Since the female moose "cow moose"
are often feeding in the water we generally get good sightings
of calves at this time of year. Black Bears are the biggest predators
of Moose, especially the calves, so the female moose keeps a close
eye on the forest edge. Because female moose do not wander very
far the female moose on Lake Wabatongushi have become very used
to our boats and really do not consider us a threat. We can generally
watch them for hours as long as we do not get too close. In May
the Moose are generally back from the waters edge eating the new
spring growth on the trees. In August the moose again stay back
from the waters edge eating the summer crop of baerries and nuts.
By September the berries and nuts are depleted so the Moose again
start grazing in the water. Male Moose,"Bull Moose",
lose their antlers every year. They start growing a new set of
antlers in May to early June. By late June the antlers are getting
fairly large and are generally full size by early August when
they start rubbing off the skin covering their antlers. By early
September the Moose antlers are fully formed and polished ready
for the mating season. The Moose generally start to call and mate
as soon as we get the first hard frost
Black Bears are one of the most intelligent and adaptable bear
species in the world. They are much more intelligent and adaptable
than their big blond cousin, the Grizzly Bear" They are actually
more intelligent than most other animals. and in general behave
much like their small distant cousin, the raccoon. Black Bears
are generally Black, but can be reddish brown, brown and very
rarely white. Many have a white patch on their chest. Black Bears
are the only common bear species in Ontario. Polar Bears are the
only other bear species in Ontario but they can only be found
in Ontario far north around James Bay and Hudson Bay.
Black Bears entire life revolves around
food. First thing in the spring and through to the early July,
the Black Bears mostly eat insects, small animals, fish and spring
vegetation growth. If food is really scarce, Black Bears will
eat larger animals. Immediately after the ice goes out we see
black bears in the shallow streams where they feed on the spawning
Walleye and Suckers. Throughout the spring they also eats a lot
of the young animals so we occasionally see them tearing apart
beaver houses to get the young beaver which are not yet swimming
first thing in the spring. Black Bears will also raid any bird
nests they find.
As soon as the Dragon Flies start hatching
in early June the Black Bears start walking the shore line eating
the hatching Dragon Flies. This is unfortunate since the Dragon
Flies are the biggest predator of Black Flies and Mosquitos. Because
of our extensive wetlands we have more than enough Dragon Flies
to keep the Mosquito and Black Fly population low. In other areas
with less wetlands, the Black Bears can actually be responsible
for higher Mosquito and Black Fly populations because they eat
so many of the hatching Dragon Flies.
Black Bear cubs are born in January while
the female Black Bear,"sow bear" is "hibernating".
2 to 4 cubs are common. We do see the female bears with cubs but
they tend to be more wary than other bears because the other bears,
especially the amles, will kill and eat the cubs. The cubs will
stay with the female bear through their second winter but she
separates from them early in the spring of their second year,
when they are about 16 months old, because she is ready to mate.
Black Bears generally mate every second year. For more information
on Black Bears please go to www.OntarioBlackBears.com.
Mink are very common along the shoreline because their primary
diet is fish. They swim very well around the shallower areas looking
into creaces for small fish and cray fish. Because they are small
most people miss seeing them.
Otter tend to stay in the rivers and shallow bays, and small ponds
adjacent to Lake Wabatongushi. But they do come out into the amin
lake. Watch for periscope bobbing up out of the water. If you
are fishing, Otters will occasionally steal fish off stringers
when you are not watching.
Lynx actually like the water and we occasionally see them swimming
quite a ways from land. They also hunt small rodents in the grassy
areas adjacent to the lake. Because of their colouring it is very
easy to miss seeing them.
Timber wolves are the largest species of wolf in the world. They
are very large, almost the size of a deer, which probably explains
why the few deer that migrate north into our area don't seem to
make it through the winter. Timber Wolves are very intelligent
but shy. They do not like water so we only see them very occasionally
along the lake shore. Timber Wolves will wade in the water to
cool themselves when the temperatures become really hot.
We hope you enjoyed this little bit of information
about our wild neighbours at Wilderness Island Resort.
Al & Doris Errington
Books about Wildlife
-Linked to Amazon.com-
National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American
Mammals (National Audubon Society First Field Guide)
Black Bear books
Black Bear Country
The Wonder of Black Bears (Animal Wonders)
Moose: Giants of the Northern Forest
Ecology and Management of the North American Moose
22057 - 44 Great Northern Road
Sault Ste Marie ON Canada P6B 6H4
May - September (705) 884-2215
October - April (705) 946-2010