High Park plays host and home to various wildlife

News Jan 30, 2013 by Lisa Rainford Bloor West Villager

Even though it is situated in the heart of a densely populated urban centre, High Park is home to a wide variety of wildlife, but just how many species inhabit its 400 acres comes as a surprise to many people living within the City of Toronto’s limits.

Animals who live in High Park are those that can thrive in a small setting, according to Katie Krelove, a co-ordinator and a lead nature interpreter at the High Park Nature Centre, yet larger species, such as the coyote and white-tailed deer have arrived in the park by making their way through Toronto’s ravine system and along the Humber River, she said. An area resident reported seeing two coyotes recently, but Krelove said she doesn’t believe any are living in the park at the moment. People are amazed to learn that beavers have laid claim to High Park. In fact, they’ve built a lodge in Grenadier Pond, pointed out Jon Hayes, co-ordinator of family programs at the High Park Nature Centre.

The redback salamander, a creature that seeks refuge in forested areas under rocks, logs, bark and the like, calls High Park home as does the snapping turtle.

“We’ve received a lot of reports of people seeing snapping turtle nests,” Krelove told The Villager during a mid-January conversation at the nature centre, on the edge of High Park, along Parkside Drive, just south of Bloor Street West.

However, the ideal animals to see during the winter are birds, she said, even though most birds migrate.

“They’re easier to see in the winter because there’s less foliage and they’ll travel in flocks,” she said, adding that many will eat at bird feeders in homeowners’ yards. “Chickadees are really popular. They’ll eat out of your hand.”

The North American songbird, while remaining cautious, will eat from people’s hands because they’re hungry, Krelove said.

“We feed them pretty much every day here in the winter. We have out in our fenced-in field a feeder station,” she said, adding that the feeder station, new to the nature centre this year, was made possible through a partnership with Wild Birds Unlimited.

Approximately 50 species of birds call Toronto home year-round, including the Red-breasted nuthatch , the cardinal, the goldfinch, the woodpecker and the robin, yet as many as 250 types can be seen in High Park in the spring. There’s been a lot of sightings recently of the common redpoll, an arctic tundra bird that comes here when there’s a shortage of food in its native home. They feed on conifer seeds.

“Often in a flock you’ll have all these birds – they’ll be following the chickadee because they’re good at finding food (at this time of year). They’ll travel together to protect themselves against hawks.”

The Greater Toronto Hawk Watch, another group the nature centre is affiliated with, hosts an annual hawk watch in September on “Hawk Hill,” which is just north of the Grenadier Cafe in the park.

Other familiar mammals that have adapted to city-living and make High Park their home are raccoons, skunks, squirrels and chipmunks.

“At this time of year, they’re underground, but if it’s a warm day, they’ll come out,” said Krelove of the chipmunk.

Kids love finding garter snakes in the summer and love watching the turtles, she said. The American toad, the green and leopard frogs are a familiar sight in Grenadier Pond and Spring Creek.

Possums can be seen year-round in Toronto, although less so in winter.

“You might find them in your yard trying to find a warm spot,” said Krelove. “They’re not native to Toronto. One of the ways they travel is on transport trucks. They come from southern United States. They don’t tolerate the cold weather.”

Unlike squirrels, they don’t have fur on their ears, she added.

If you would like further details about High Park’s wildlife, contact the High Park Nature Centre at www.highparknaturecentre.com or 416-392-1748 ext. 2.

High Park plays host and home to various wildlife

News Jan 30, 2013 by Lisa Rainford Bloor West Villager

Even though it is situated in the heart of a densely populated urban centre, High Park is home to a wide variety of wildlife, but just how many species inhabit its 400 acres comes as a surprise to many people living within the City of Toronto’s limits.

Animals who live in High Park are those that can thrive in a small setting, according to Katie Krelove, a co-ordinator and a lead nature interpreter at the High Park Nature Centre, yet larger species, such as the coyote and white-tailed deer have arrived in the park by making their way through Toronto’s ravine system and along the Humber River, she said. An area resident reported seeing two coyotes recently, but Krelove said she doesn’t believe any are living in the park at the moment. People are amazed to learn that beavers have laid claim to High Park. In fact, they’ve built a lodge in Grenadier Pond, pointed out Jon Hayes, co-ordinator of family programs at the High Park Nature Centre.

The redback salamander, a creature that seeks refuge in forested areas under rocks, logs, bark and the like, calls High Park home as does the snapping turtle.

“We’ve received a lot of reports of people seeing snapping turtle nests,” Krelove told The Villager during a mid-January conversation at the nature centre, on the edge of High Park, along Parkside Drive, just south of Bloor Street West.

However, the ideal animals to see during the winter are birds, she said, even though most birds migrate.

“They’re easier to see in the winter because there’s less foliage and they’ll travel in flocks,” she said, adding that many will eat at bird feeders in homeowners’ yards. “Chickadees are really popular. They’ll eat out of your hand.”

The North American songbird, while remaining cautious, will eat from people’s hands because they’re hungry, Krelove said.

“We feed them pretty much every day here in the winter. We have out in our fenced-in field a feeder station,” she said, adding that the feeder station, new to the nature centre this year, was made possible through a partnership with Wild Birds Unlimited.

Approximately 50 species of birds call Toronto home year-round, including the Red-breasted nuthatch , the cardinal, the goldfinch, the woodpecker and the robin, yet as many as 250 types can be seen in High Park in the spring. There’s been a lot of sightings recently of the common redpoll, an arctic tundra bird that comes here when there’s a shortage of food in its native home. They feed on conifer seeds.

“Often in a flock you’ll have all these birds – they’ll be following the chickadee because they’re good at finding food (at this time of year). They’ll travel together to protect themselves against hawks.”

The Greater Toronto Hawk Watch, another group the nature centre is affiliated with, hosts an annual hawk watch in September on “Hawk Hill,” which is just north of the Grenadier Cafe in the park.

Other familiar mammals that have adapted to city-living and make High Park their home are raccoons, skunks, squirrels and chipmunks.

“At this time of year, they’re underground, but if it’s a warm day, they’ll come out,” said Krelove of the chipmunk.

Kids love finding garter snakes in the summer and love watching the turtles, she said. The American toad, the green and leopard frogs are a familiar sight in Grenadier Pond and Spring Creek.

Possums can be seen year-round in Toronto, although less so in winter.

“You might find them in your yard trying to find a warm spot,” said Krelove. “They’re not native to Toronto. One of the ways they travel is on transport trucks. They come from southern United States. They don’t tolerate the cold weather.”

Unlike squirrels, they don’t have fur on their ears, she added.

If you would like further details about High Park’s wildlife, contact the High Park Nature Centre at www.highparknaturecentre.com or 416-392-1748 ext. 2.

High Park plays host and home to various wildlife

News Jan 30, 2013 by Lisa Rainford Bloor West Villager

Even though it is situated in the heart of a densely populated urban centre, High Park is home to a wide variety of wildlife, but just how many species inhabit its 400 acres comes as a surprise to many people living within the City of Toronto’s limits.

Animals who live in High Park are those that can thrive in a small setting, according to Katie Krelove, a co-ordinator and a lead nature interpreter at the High Park Nature Centre, yet larger species, such as the coyote and white-tailed deer have arrived in the park by making their way through Toronto’s ravine system and along the Humber River, she said. An area resident reported seeing two coyotes recently, but Krelove said she doesn’t believe any are living in the park at the moment. People are amazed to learn that beavers have laid claim to High Park. In fact, they’ve built a lodge in Grenadier Pond, pointed out Jon Hayes, co-ordinator of family programs at the High Park Nature Centre.

The redback salamander, a creature that seeks refuge in forested areas under rocks, logs, bark and the like, calls High Park home as does the snapping turtle.

“We’ve received a lot of reports of people seeing snapping turtle nests,” Krelove told The Villager during a mid-January conversation at the nature centre, on the edge of High Park, along Parkside Drive, just south of Bloor Street West.

However, the ideal animals to see during the winter are birds, she said, even though most birds migrate.

“They’re easier to see in the winter because there’s less foliage and they’ll travel in flocks,” she said, adding that many will eat at bird feeders in homeowners’ yards. “Chickadees are really popular. They’ll eat out of your hand.”

The North American songbird, while remaining cautious, will eat from people’s hands because they’re hungry, Krelove said.

“We feed them pretty much every day here in the winter. We have out in our fenced-in field a feeder station,” she said, adding that the feeder station, new to the nature centre this year, was made possible through a partnership with Wild Birds Unlimited.

Approximately 50 species of birds call Toronto home year-round, including the Red-breasted nuthatch , the cardinal, the goldfinch, the woodpecker and the robin, yet as many as 250 types can be seen in High Park in the spring. There’s been a lot of sightings recently of the common redpoll, an arctic tundra bird that comes here when there’s a shortage of food in its native home. They feed on conifer seeds.

“Often in a flock you’ll have all these birds – they’ll be following the chickadee because they’re good at finding food (at this time of year). They’ll travel together to protect themselves against hawks.”

The Greater Toronto Hawk Watch, another group the nature centre is affiliated with, hosts an annual hawk watch in September on “Hawk Hill,” which is just north of the Grenadier Cafe in the park.

Other familiar mammals that have adapted to city-living and make High Park their home are raccoons, skunks, squirrels and chipmunks.

“At this time of year, they’re underground, but if it’s a warm day, they’ll come out,” said Krelove of the chipmunk.

Kids love finding garter snakes in the summer and love watching the turtles, she said. The American toad, the green and leopard frogs are a familiar sight in Grenadier Pond and Spring Creek.

Possums can be seen year-round in Toronto, although less so in winter.

“You might find them in your yard trying to find a warm spot,” said Krelove. “They’re not native to Toronto. One of the ways they travel is on transport trucks. They come from southern United States. They don’t tolerate the cold weather.”

Unlike squirrels, they don’t have fur on their ears, she added.

If you would like further details about High Park’s wildlife, contact the High Park Nature Centre at www.highparknaturecentre.com or 416-392-1748 ext. 2.