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
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.