Toronto’s Wildlife

Image: Lucie Sparham

Our lockdown in Toronto became a little less restrictive a week ago in that outdoor sports such as tennis and golf are now allowed. Two days ago, the stay-at-home order was lifted and up to five people can gather outdoors. Shops and restaurants are still closed as are hairdressers and beauticians. The good news is that our cases numbers are dropping and the pace of vaccinations is proceeding rapidly. I get my second vaccine dose in a little over a week so I’m looking forward to a bit more freedom in July.

We are on the cusp of summer though the weather is still variable. Last week we hit close to 30C followed a few days later by a drop to around 3C. I thought the plants on my balcony would be destroyed but they survived for the most part. I have been continuing my walks around the city and as I live in the city centre, which is densely populated, I was surprised to see two Canada geese in the gardens of the Legislative Building, about two blocks from me, a couple of weeks ago . When I first saw them, they had a single, little gosling in tow but sadly when I returned to take pictures the following day, the gosling had disappeared. I hate to think what happened to it and I doubt that it was run over by a car, as when I saw it the day before, cars were stopping to let the geese cross the road. They have since disappeared so I guess they flew back to the lake.

Image: Lucie Sparham

My friend Lucie Sparham who contributed a piece on the wildlife she came across on the Lakeshore last year sent me photos of the wildlife she came across this year, a fox and cubs. Who would have thought that foxes would breed so close to the city centre? The cub in the photo above looks almost tame.

Strangely, it seems to me that parks and conservation areas have more people in them during lockdown than in normal times so I’m not sure why we’re seeing more wildlife. Could it be because of less noise and reduced traffic pollution? If anyone has any theories on this, do let me know.

We have always had lots of squirrels in Toronto, both in the parks as well as in people’s gardens. However, this one was in my niece’s garden and surprised me by it’s size. Apparently, in the wild squirrels eat caterpillars and insects but in urban areas, they eat bird food, cat and dog food and scraps. Perhaps since people are at home, they’re putting out more bird food. This one is obviously eating well during the pandemic just like many of us. I’m glad that I enjoy cooking and eating despite living on my own. It’s among the few pleasures left to us but hopefully just a few more weeks to go before life opens up a bit more again!

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