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


Northern mockingbird (Mimus polyglotos)
Size: From 23 to 28 cm
Where: Southeastern Canada
Why: Mockingbirds scurry on the ground flashing bright white patches from under flared wings to startle insects. They are the master mimics of the animal world, learning a new language wherever they go, whether it’s urban or rural. They’ve been known to imitate everything from insects and amphibians to the sounds of cars 
and barking dogs.


Goldenrod spider (Misumena vatia)
Size: From 4 to 18 mm
Where: Widespread
Why: Also a master mimic but of colour instead of sound, the goldenrod spider hides on white or yellow flowers and can reapply its “makeup” accordingly by secreting pigment in its outer layer of cells. They don’t spin webs, but after carefully folding a leaf around their eggs goldenrod spiders use their silk to spin 
a silk sac over it.



American robin (Turdus migratorius)
Size: From 23 to 28 cm
Where: Widespread
Why: Some say the robins’ beautiful 
blue egg colour is designed to keep 
them hidden from colour-blind animal predators, such as squirrels and some snakes. Robins act as potters when building their nests, smoothing mud over twigs, grass, paper and feathers, then lining the bottom with soft materials.


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