How to - Wildlife

Nature study

Cybèle Young
Photography by
Cybèle Young

A whimsical look at some of the other life that may be growing in our own backyards


nature-study-nuthatch.jpgNuthatch (Sitta spp.)
Size: 14 cm
Where: Widespread in areas 
of deciduous trees
Why: The nuthatch acts as sentry to other small birds in winter foraging flocks. Its call will warn of nearby predators, but it will also use the call to trick other small birds away from food. Nuthatches get their name from wedging seeds and nuts under bark, then hacking away at it. They are often seen descending a tree crawling upside down in search of insects.


Little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus)
Size: From 7 to 11 cm
Where: Widespread
Why: Bats are our favourite mosquito predators and the fruit-eating kind are super pollinators. With hooks on their hind legs, moms just hang their babies up when they need to go get food. They hang upside down to make it easier to take off in flight, while conserving energy. Masters of echolocation, even blindfolded bats can find their way home.



Whirligig beetle (Family: gyrinidae)
Size: From 3 to 7 mm
Where: Widespread on still 
bodies of water
Why: Whirligigs are the only beetles that swim within the surface tension of water. Their eyes split into two parts, so they can simultaneously see above and below the water, and it is thought they send ripples to echolocate objects and predators around them. They form large groups in the fall, whirling patterns of perfectly spaced arcs, spirals and circles. 

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