Wildlife in South Algonquin
Deep in Canada’s untouched boreal forest is a land teeming with wildlife, just beyond the big cities of Toronto and Ottawa.
From Moose to Chickadees and In-between
South Algonquin is home to an amazingly diverse range of wildlife - with over 200 species of mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds. This area offers a chance to see many awe-inspiring symbols of Canada - from towering moose to industrious beavers and haunting loons. Sighting one of South Algonquin’s many animal residents is something you will never forget!
We’ve hosted all kinds of famous folks, from movie stars to authors, to artists. Most of these guests enjoy the privacy they encounter here, and we’re happy to respect that. But we’re not against occasional name dropping entirely. In fact, you may or may not have heard of one of South Algonquin’s most famous animal travelers: Alice the Moose. South Algonquin is part of the Frontenac Axis, an arch of rock that runs between Algonquin Park and the Adirondacks in upstate New York. In 1998, Alice began a two-year journey over more than 550 km that brought her from her American homeland all the way through South Algonquin to Algonquin Park. Alice’s story was documented by the A2A Collaborative, an American, Canadian, and First Nations partnership dedicated to building a resilient, ecologically connected A2A region that sustains a full range of native wildlife and enhances people’s quality of life for generations to come.
Read more below about some of the amazing creatures you can find here.
These towering, majestic creatures are the quintessential symbol of wildlife in the South Algonquin region. These gentle giants can be surprisingly hard to spot - the best times and places are early morning or dusk near roads and shorelines where the young sprouting plants they like to munch on grow, especially in May.
The Eastern Wolf is probably the rarest of all animals you can see in South Algonquin (there are only around 30-35 packs of them), but you might hear them! They hunt in packs for deer, moose, foxes and beaver during the night and occasionally howl to communicate and locate each other or to defend their territory. Their howl can be heard from as far as 16 kilometres away in the right conditions!
Deer can be seen all around South Algonquin - typically during early morning and around dusk when they are out to feed on shrubs, twigs, berries and mushrooms. They travel in packs - so if you see one, there are likely many nearby. If you venture into the forest, they are mostly active at night and, if you are lucky, you may even see an antlered buck in the late summer.
These long slender cousins of the weasel can be found around the South Algonquin area - especially during the late winter. Look up! They are often hanging out in the branches of firs, spruces and pines - hiding from owls, hawks and eagles - except when they come down to hunt small animals such as snowshoe hares and squirrels.
This small red finch uses its crossed beak to get seeds out of pine cones and fruit which means they love to hang out in white pines and hemlocks in the area through the winter, and spruces and tamaracks during the spring. They can be found nesting in conifers around South Algonquin between January and May tweeting and chirping away while they dig out their seedy snacks.
This smallest of the North American bears is still one of the big three animals of the South Algonquin area (along with Moose and Eastern Wolves) often weighing up to 300 pounds and six feet tall when standing. They can sometimes be tricky to see because they don’t like getting close to people, but your best bet is the late summer when they are filling up for the winter - they mostly eat plants and love berries so berry patches. Here are tips to keep them and yourself safe.
In April nature’s engineers emerge from their frozen lodges to swim around and hang out on the edges of the receding lake ice. When their underwater winter stockpile of food runs out they will make their way into the forests at night and feed on bark, stems and twigs or use their powerful teeth to fell trees to build and patch their dams and lodges. They are a true delight to see!
These small but beautiful animals can be found throughout South Algonquin at night and in the early mornings when they use their amazing hearing and sight to hunt rodents and rabbits. Foxes live in small families that control a territory so they often visit the same area multiple times giving many opportunities to catch sight of their beautiful red coats and big bushy tails. In the summer they also like to eat fruit, like blackberries, and crayfish so look for them near berry bushes and streams.
Nothing brings memories of South Algonquin like the haunting and soulful call of a loon echoing across a misty lake early in the morning. Loons can be seen on lakes and ponds in the summer and are generally not afraid of people so you can get some great pictures from your canoe or try out your best loon call!
Like a scene out of a fairytale movie, the chickadees are so friendly that in winter, they’ll eat right out of your hands. These tiny and often described “cute” birds play a special role in South Algonquin as the beloved icon of our township. You can often find them ducking and dodging through the branches of the woods and if you’re lucky enough to hear their playful chick-a-dee-dee-dee call, you’re in for a delight. Bring some small bird seed (such as niger seed) and experience the delight of feeding these birds out of your own two hands.