P.E.I. wildlife: A 2016 roundup of fascinating facts
Eagles can see five times better than a human, and more interesting info
People are endlessly curious about the world around them, which is one reason CBC P.E.I. launched a regular feature on wildlife this year. From skunks to birds and even bees, it's clear Islanders enjoy reading about critters that share our world.
First, a very hearty thanks to all the experts who generously shared their knowledge with me. And secondly, an observation: even to scientists, much is still unknown about virtually every species discussed here — why and how they do certain things, their migration patterns or mating habits. Often, answers to my questions were simply: 'I wish we knew. No one has studied that.'
For your enjoyment, here are some of our most popular columns on P.E.I. wildlife from 2016.
"Striped skunks don't deserve a bad rap," asserted wildlife biologist Bob Bancroft from his home in Nova Scotia. "Odoriferous maybe, but they release that nauseating spray with reluctance."
The most visible wildlife on four legs in P.E.I. — even in urban areas — is undoubtedly the fox. Scientists aren't sure of exact numbers, but believe the Island's fox population is thriving and healthy.
Most people are afraid of bats but scientists say there's no need, because they won't harm people. Rather, they eat thousands of insects every day.
Sadly, the species that call P.E.I. home have become endangered after being struck by a deadly fungus called white nose syndrome.
Barn swallows are the most widespread of all swallow species — they're found on every continent except Antarctica — but the tiny songbirds are actually threatened in Canada, with a population decrease of an estimated 76 per cent over the past 40 years.
The blue jay became the provincial bird back in 1977 after a province-wide vote, and is is plentiful and plenty visible at feeders and in the wild across the Island.
They are loud, colourful and pushy!
At least eight species of owls have been seen on P.E.I. including short-eared, boreal and northern saw-whet owls, although barred and great horned owls are the only species that are year-round residents.
Brought back from the brink of endangerment, the eagle population on P.E.I. could still use some help, say conservationists.
The magnificent birds have a wing span of two metres or more and eyesight five times better than a human's. Read on for more cool facts.
Seals are "amazing animals" that have the ability to live in both the marine and terrestrial worlds, are loved by animal rights groups and reviled by most fishermen.
Four kinds of seals make their home around P.E.I.: harbour and grey seals are here year-round, while harp and hooded seals come in the Gulf of St. Lawrence to give birth on ice floes in early spring and sometimes even on the Island's shores.
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