Tuesday, 30 September 2014

What's Alive in Hamilton

On the heels of a two year survey of natural areas in Hamilton, here at HCA we've been fortunate to witness all sorts of wildlife in the area. Now, our native wildlife may not be as exciting as lions and tigers and bears (Oh my!), but we have had a few surprises. Every 10 years or so, HCA and local environmental partners conduct a Natural Areas Inventory with the purpose of monitoring changes in habitat and species in the area.

This past year, the elusive and nocturnal Southern flying squirrel made a surprise appearance at our offices, allowing us a rare opportunity to view and share information about this cool little creature.
This past spring we had a report of an American badger having been seen in the Greensville area. HCA ecology staff went out to investigate and found a den which appeared to fit the size, shape and dimensions of a badger den. Since this creature is endangered in Ontario and rarely spotted here in Hamilton, this had the potential to be an exciting find. Badgers can roam up to 200 kilometres, so the possibility exists that a badger has wandered in from Norfolk County.
american badger
"The American Badger is gray, with dark legs and bold black and white stripes on its head and face. Badgers are built for digging. Their dens can be up to 3 metres underground and contain up to 10 metres of tunnels, with an enlarged chamber for sleeping. Badgers have long strong claws and a streamlined skull enabling them to create these dens and dig prey out of burrows. In Ontario, badgers are found in a variety of habitats, such as tall grass prairie, sand barrens and farmland. These habitats provide badgers with small prey, including groundhogs, rabbits and small rodents. Since badgers are primarily nocturnal and quite wary of people, not many people are fortunate enough to spot one in the wild." - Government of Ontario, Species at Risk (SARO)
With this in mind, HCA set up a motion-sensing wildlife camera around the den. Thanks to our dedicated summer staff who poured over hours of video, we're able to show you the species which came by the den. Some are common species we see every day, but others are a little less common. The badger.... well, you'll just have to watch and see!

Chris Hamilton
Information Officer

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