In the Wild

Just as leaves are chang­ing colour on de­cid­u­ous trees, an­i­mals are chang­ing their be­hav­iours in prepa­ra­tion for the bad weather ahead. Here's how some Cana­dian crea­tures are prep­ping for win­ter

Canadian Wildlife - - DISPATCHES - Dun­geness crab. In­set: Rusty-patched bum­ble bee

Dun­geness crab | WEST COAST Found along the British Columbia coast, the Dun­geness crab (Can­cer mag­is­ter) is a com­mer­cially im­por­tant an­i­mal that lives in the sand and gravel along the coast. In Oc­to­ber, af­ter mat­ing ear­lier in the year, fe­male Dun­geness crabs are lay­ing their eggs. It’s il­le­gal for fish­ers to pos­sess fe­male Dun­geness crabs, which pro­duce tens of thou­sands of off­spring in their life­times.

Bur­row­ing owl | PRAIRIES Canada’s bur­row­ing owls (Athene cu­nic­u­laria), found on the Prairies, are pre­par­ing to mi­grate. These en­dan­gered birds, which live in the aban­doned bur­rows of prairie dogs and other crea­tures, spend Septem­ber pre­par­ing to head down to the south­ern United States and Mex­ico for the win­ter.

Barn swal­low | ON­TARIO Like the bur­row­ing owl, barn swal­lows (Hirundo rus­tica) are pre­par­ing to head south for the win­ter. These birds are found on ev­ery con­ti­nent ex­cept Antarc­tica. The North Amer­i­can sub­species mi­grates to South Amer­ica and Cen­tral Amer­ica to wait out the cold months.

Rusty-patched bum­ble bee | QUE­BEC & ON­TARIO These larger-sized bees (Bom­bus affi­nis) are easy to iden­tify be­cause of a rusty patch on their lower tho­rax. But they’re en­dan­gered, which means you may not have seen them. Work­ers for­age un­til late Septem­ber, when the queen looks for a place to hi­ber­nate and the rest of the hive dies off for the win­ter.

Wood­chuck | NOVA SCO­TIA Hiber­nat­ing is a tried-and-true strat­egy for many get­ting through the Cana­dian win­ter—just ask the wood­chuck (Mar­mota monax). Found in north­ern Que­bec and On­tario as well as the At­lantic prov­inces, this ro­dent spends the fall get­ting fat to pre­pare for its ex­tended win­ter’s nap.

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