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Canadian Animals in my Garden

Updated on April 30, 2014
Chipmunk
Chipmunk | Source

What's In Your Garden?

As a keen bird watcher, I have a number of bird feeders to attract Canadian birds in my garden including ruby-throated hummingbirds, blue jays, cardinals, goldfinches, woodpeckers and more.

Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately as I love all types of wildlife, they also attract a wide array of other Canadian animals to my garden. This article looks at some of the visitors that I've manager to capture with my camera.

First up, we have the cutest of them all, the chipmunk. Easily able to evade the squirrel baffle on my bird table, the chipmunk regularly visits the feeding tray, or roots around the base of the feeder after seeds and nuts. They are quite tame and will eat out of your hand if you have the patience.

Raccoons: The Masked Bandits

Raccoon Harassing a Blue Jay in Broad Daylight!
Raccoon Harassing a Blue Jay in Broad Daylight! | Source
Raccoons are attracted to the sugar-water in the Hummingbird Feeder
Raccoons are attracted to the sugar-water in the Hummingbird Feeder | Source


Raccoons are commonly known as the Masked Bandit because of their distinctive facial markings.

They are widely regarded by most Canadians as pests because they can do a lot of damage if they get into your roof through the eaves of your house.

However, having grown up in England, we still regard them as cute, although the novelty has almost worn off considering how many times they have chewed up some of my bird feeders!

Not only are they attracted by the bird seed and nuts that fall around the bird feeders, but they also like the taste of the sugar-water 'nectar' from the hummingbird feeders.

I had been puzzling how my ruby-throated hummingbirds had been emptying their feeder every night when I happened to catch this raccoon in action!

Raccoon in my Birdhouse Feeder
Raccoon in my Birdhouse Feeder | Source
Raccoon Climbing the Bird Feeder
Raccoon Climbing the Bird Feeder | Source


Of course, Raccoons are primarily nocturnal and tend to come out around, or shortly after, dusk.

Here I have captured the masked bandits red-handed.

The first has squeezed into my bird-house feeder, the other is climbing up the bird feeder pole having knocked off the squirrel baffle.

I keep my supplies of seed outside in a chest, having learned the hard way that if you keep bird seed in the kitchen, maggots will grow and infest the house!

So it is a constant battle (which the raccoons usually win) to protect the feeders and the supplies in the chest from damage.

Squirrels

Black Squirrel in the Feeding Tray
Black Squirrel in the Feeding Tray | Source
Red Squirrel Enjoying Some Seed
Red Squirrel Enjoying Some Seed | Source

Squirrels are equally cunning and able to evade almost every defence.

The squirrel baffle, an parabolic disc, does a good job of stopping most squirrels. However, at least one black squirrel has mastered the high jump and can actually leap up, catch the feeding tray with its front paws, and pull itself up!

In addition to black squirrels, we also have grey squirrels and the much smaller red squirrels which seem to be rapidly expanding their range.

Snakes and Amphibians

Leopard Frog
Leopard Frog | Source
Garter Snake
Garter Snake | Source

Our property backs on to a ravine and, when it rains, a large number of frogs come out of the ravine and move across our property.

I often find frogs in the skimmer of our swimming pool and, if I can get to them quickly enough before the chlorine kills them, I transfer them to my pond where they live happily with my goldfish.

When we first moved into our house, the backyard had been neglected and was over-run by garter snakes, much to the delight of my son. Here he can be seen holding a garter snakejust prior to teasing his sister with it!

Although non-poisonous, they are able to squirt a solution from their backside which deters young boys from pulling their tails!

White-Tailed Deer, Foxes and Rabbits

A White-Tailed Deer Visits from the Ravine
A White-Tailed Deer Visits from the Ravine | Source
The Fox and the Rabbit
The Fox and the Rabbit | Source


Another infrequent visitor to our garden, because of their large size and the recent proliferation of fences, is the white-tailed deer.

These are quite common in the ravines in our neighbourhood but they tend to be very wary of any human contact. This photo was taken early one morning.

We also receive visits from foxes and rabbits, although this is cyclical depending on the state of the local fox population.

As the foxes grow in numbers, rabbits decline, and vice-versa.

It's the Circle of Life played out in my own backyard!

Mink

A Mink on the Swimming Pool Solar Cover
A Mink on the Swimming Pool Solar Cover | Source
Monarch Butterfly on a Butterfly Bush
Monarch Butterfly on a Butterfly Bush | Source


I was excited when I first saw this Mink because i had never seen one close up before. They inhabit the shores of Lake Ontario, but I had never seen one come up the river and into my garden.

My excitement was short lived when I discovered that it had developed a taste for the goldfish in my pond. In a matter of days it had cleaned out over 40 goldfish, some ranging up to eight inches long! Fur coat anyone?


A Chipmunk finds a high vantage point
A Chipmunk finds a high vantage point | Source

Canadian Animals In My Garden

I hope you have found this article on Canadian Animals In my Garden interesting.

If you are an animal lover, you might also be interested in Canadian Birds, Canadian Birds in my Garden, and How to Create a Ruby-Throated Hummingbird Habitat.

Happy wildlife watching!

Geoff

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I have never seen a black squirrel until just this moment. And a mink? Incredible pictures! Raccoons know no boundaries. They are the bane of our existence here in Washington and they are just waiting patiently for us to plant our garden. Great hub!

    • profile image

      Kathy Vilim 5 years ago

      Enjoyed your post very much. Great pictures of your backyard critters and your well-fed Raccoon~ A mask does not a bandit make!

    • geoffclarke profile image
      Author

      geoffclarke 5 years ago from Canada

      Thanks billybuc and Kathy for your kind comments. The raccoons are here to stay and we just have to make the most of it!

    • profile image

      CrazySonic360 4 years ago

      I love the second picture! It's the REAL Mordecai and Rigby!!!!

    • geoffclarke profile image
      Author

      geoffclarke 4 years ago from Canada

      Hi CrazySonic360. I'd never heard of Mordecai and Rigby but I've checked it out now and you're spot on!

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