Toronto Field Naturalists  –  Enjoy and preserve nature with us!
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Our Mission: Toronto Field Naturalists connects people with nature in the Toronto area.
We help people understand, enjoy, and protect Toronto's green spaces and the species that inhabit them.
Toronto Field Naturalists

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Toronto Field Naturalists
2 Carlton Street, Suite 1519
Toronto, Ontario
M5B 1J3

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October Photo Spotlight
Praying Mantis by Norah Jancik
Praying Mantis by Norah Jancik
Monarch Tagging Interim Statistics
Posted October 2016
By Terry Whittam & Betty McCulloch (WSCA #1082221)
We have had a very successful year at Rosetta McClain tagging monarch butterflies this year. Tagging started Aug 15, 2016 and as of Sept 28 here are our interim statistics. Total monarchs seen: 3662. Monarchs tagged: 838, male 600 (72%), female 236 (32%), 2 unrecorded. Our field data confirms the scientific fact that there is a shortage of female monarchs in eastern north america.
Migration started very early this year, August 15th with a very steady flow of monarchs heading south to Mexico. As of this report (Sept 28), tagging has slowed down to 5-10 on sunny days. Our best day was Sept 20th with 106 monarchs tagged and over 600 seen that day! In 2015 we had a 2% return in Mexico i.e. 8 returned tags on 320 tagged. Hopefully we get more returns this coming spring 2017. More analysis to come once we finish completely and enter all our data! (Weight, condition, temperature, forewing size etc!)
Read more about this here.
Raccoons in the City
Posted October 2016
Are you waging a war against raccoons getting into your garage, trash, or even house? Turns out you are teaching them to be smarter! At least that is what a study by Suzanne MacDonald, an animal behaviour researcher and professor at York University, has found. Raccoon population has surged over the past 80 years and although more are found in the suburbs, their numbers are growing in cities as well.
MacDonald's study indicates that city raccoons are smarter than their rural counterparts because they are forced to navigate human-made obstacles, and solve puzzles to eat. Her study included putting GPS collars on urban and rural raccoons to track them, and testing them with hard-to-open garbage cans baited with cat food. The urban raccoons were able to open the cans (for the most part) while the rural ones were baffled. The GPS data showed that most raccoons avoid crossing major roads, which appears to be a learned behaviour. We need to get the skunks to learn that as well! Read more about this here.
Toronto Has Decent Tree Diversity
Posted October 2016
Researchers from the University of California studied 20 cities to understand what drives variations in urban biodiversity. Toronto was ranked highest of the Canadian cities, even beating out London, "The Forest City!"
The researchers found that warm cities are dominated by imported species while cold cities have more native species, leading them to hypothesize that climate tolerance and trait choice hypothesis relates to how urban forests form. Climate tolerance allows cities like Los Angeles to grow tropical trees that colder cities like Toronto can't. Trait choice includes matching the needs of the trees to the area planted. For instance, water-hungry trees (like willows) would not be chosen for Phoenix because it is a dry city and the trees would need too much special care to keep them alive. Trait choices also come into play as urban residents prefer trees that have large flowers, and are pollution-resistant, among other desired traits. Species that best match both climate tolerant and trait choice tend to be overplanted, resulting in less diversity.
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