Amphibian Fencing Volunteers Needed Sunday February 26th

We are looking for enthusiastic volunteers to help install directional amphibian fencing for our Ryder Lake Amphibian Protection Project. The Toad Tunnel is not only used by the thousands of toadlets in the summer but also by the ecologically important breeding adults in the early spring as they migrate to their breeding pond. To ensure this crossing structure is effective, we need to install fencing that will direct amphibians towards the tunnel entrance. The adult amphibians will start migrating to the wetland for breeding in late February or early March.

The fencing will be constructed from silt fencing material attached to wooden stakes using staples or screws. This is the same type of lightweight black fabric fencing seen near construction projects.  The most challenging part of this project will likely be working in wet or muddy conditions on a steep slope. Volunteers must be prepared to work in cold or wet conditions and will need work gloves.

We will be onsite at the Toad Tunnel on Sunday February 26th starting at 10am (wrapping up at 1 pm). If you are interested in volunteering for this project to protect some frogs and toads please send Sofi an e-mail so she can send you further instructions!

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to e-mail or call (604-625-0066).

Did you know… Great-horned owls are one of the earliest breeding birds in BC

Young Great-horned owl Photo by Barb Coote

You might have heard a pair calling back and forth in early January which is when they typically begin courtship. Their deep “hoot hoot” call is the classic owl call that everyone recognizes.

Great-horned owls like many other owls don’t make their own nests but rather adopt old stick nests made by other raptors, squirrels, or they nest in big tree cavities or snags.

The female typically starts laying her eggs in mid-February, often when there is still snow on the ground and sub-zero temperatures.  The female lays on average between 1-4 eggs and incubates the eggs for 32-35 days before they hatch. The number of eggs laid each year has been shown to correlate with the availability of their main prey, which is small mammals.

Raising Great-horned owlets is no small feat, and it takes about 2.5-3 months after hatching before the young ones are able to fly. Like any predator, the young ones need to learn how to hunt and capture their own prey, so even though they are able to fly at 3 months, they are still dependent on their parents for food while they slowly acquire hunting skills. As the young ones become more independent and capable of capturing their own prey they will leave the parents’ territory and find their home, this usually happens in early- to mid-fall.

The oldest free living Great-horned owl documented was 27 years and 7 months!

Check out this webcam of a Great-horned owl nesting site. The owls are around but they haven’t started nesting yet. They typically start mid-February and you can hear the owls calling at night.