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-midge.jpgMidge (Family: Chironomidae)
Size: From 0.3 to 1 cm
Where: Widespread
Why: Swarms of male midges form in fixed locations, times and environments, such as an afternoon patch of sunlight near a specific branch. There, they create choreographed patterns to attract females for mating, who will choose when to 
join the party, find a partner and leave 
to mate nearby.


Northern mole cricket (Gryllotalpa hexadactyla)
Size: From 2 to 3 cm
Where: Shallow burrows in soil, 
eastern Canada
Why: In courtship, the mole cricket sculpts a subterranean megaphone, and faces the narrow end where he amplifies his chirps in hopes of attracting a female for mating. Like the mole, these crickets have large strong digging forelegs, are covered in a velvety layer of dense hair, and burrow tunnels in damp soil looking for their food.



Cottontail rabbit (sylvilagus)
Size: From 38 to 48 cm
Where: Widespread
Why: Cottontails don’t actually dig 
their own burrows, but use those already excavated by woodchucks, groundhogs, etc. They emerge from hiding at night 
to feed on plants, and the young follow the bright white tails of their parents as 
a beacon through the grasses. Unfortunately, those tails can also be a signal 
to the rabbits’ predators.

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