Wild Canadian Weather — Rain

Rain brings unexpected benefits for spadefoot toads, grizzlies, and whitewater kayakers — but too much can be deadly
Available on CBC Gem

Wild Canadian Weather — Rain

Nature of Things

From the filmmakers who brought you WILD CANADA and THE WILD CANADIAN YEAR comes WILD CANADIAN WEATHER, an exciting new series that continues the exploration of Canada’s fascinating wildlife, amazing landscapes and its extraordinary people —this time, through the lens of Canada’s intense and dramatic weather.

Rain is an essential life-giving element but it is also a destructive force — putting wildlife through untold challenges, transforming landscapes, and wreaking havoc on our human-made environments.

Rain in the forecast is not usually welcomed by most Canadians, but for Nouria Newman and Benny Marr — professional whitewater kayakers — it transforms babbling brooks into raging torrents that fuel their own adrenaline-soaked enjoyment. But it’s not all fun and games — a deluge can be dangerous. The water level can spike and these athletes need to be careful, especially when kayaking down a thunderous waterfall! They share the river with other daredevils, harlequin ducks, the only birds that make their home in these rapids, suffering more broken bones than any other bird species as a result.

In some of the driest corners of the country even desert-loving animals cannot survive without some rain. Spadefoot toads spend most of their lives buried underground but the low rumble of a spring thunderstorm acts as their alarm clock, rousing them to the surface in search of a pond ... and a mate. It was long believed that prairie rattlesnakes avoided rain altogether, preferring to wait out storms sheltered in their dens. But, in a never-before-filmed sequence, we reveal how “rattlers” take advantage of a downpour, exposing themselves to the elements, and sipping rain trapped between their scales.

While rain brings life, it can also bring danger. When Calgary — known as “Hailstone Alley” — sees a violent prairie thunderstorm, golf ball-sized hailstones devastate parts of the city, causing over one billion dollars in damages. In New Brunswick, the Saint John River has seen record-breaking floods in recent years, cutting off entire communities. While it is a time of hardship for the residents along the river, a Good Samaritan with a boat rises to the occasion.

Some of Canada’s smallest creatures have to deal with rainstorms one drop at a time. For mosquitoes, getting hit by a raindrop is the equivalent of a human having a pickup truck dropped on their head! A bee caught in a puddle after a storm has minutes to act before she drowns, but ultra-high-speed cinematography reveals how she “surfs” her way to safety.

Nowhere is shaped more by rain than the west coast of British Columbia. Here, snails are lured out for some unusual sex, while researchers climb 30 metres into the rain-soaked canopy to discover an amazing micro world, and a grizzly bear mum is able to fiercely protect her cubs, thanks to the rain.

Rain reveals the drama of spectacular storms, the intimate moments of life and shows off our country’s most critical — but devastating — element in a way that has not been seen before.

WILD CANADIAN WEATHER is an intimate and dramatic exploration of life in one of the most intense and challenging weather-influenced countries on the planet. Each episode reveals the drama and natural history of weather events and their impacts on people and wildlife. WILD CANADIAN WEATHER will give Canadians even more reasons to talk about the weather!