American CrowCrows and their kin are very interesting birds, members of what may be the most intelligent avian family — the Corvidae. The crow’s cousins include magpies, blue jays, jackdaws, rooks, nutcrackers and ravens. Many people use the terms crow and raven interchangeably but the two birds are actually quite different. Ravens are larger than crows (on average about the size of a hawk), have a heavier bill, and a wedge-shaped tail. Crows are approximately the size of a pigeon with a fan-shaped tail.
American RobinThe American robin is the largest thrush in North America. Males are not only more vocal than females, but also slightly larger and more brightly coloured. Adult American robins have grey-brown backs, characteristic reddish breasts, white bellies, white chins, yellow bills and throats with dark streaks. Juveniles have dark speckles on their backs and on their cinnamon-coloured breasts.
American ToadThe American toad is a medium sized, squat toad which averages 5-9 cm in length. Its colour can change depending on humidity, temperature, and stress level, though it is typically brown, reddish or olive skinned with dark blotches containing one or two spots or "warts". The belly tends to be white or yellow with dark spots.
Baltimore OrioleSmaller than a robin, the male oriole displays a brilliant orange breast, shoulder patch and rump contrasted with a black head, back, wings and tail. The female resembles the male, but is paler in colour, displaying a dull orange breast with a dark brown olive colour on its head and back. The male has a beautiful flute-like song, which he performs throughout the summer. The female’s song, in comparison, is shorter and simpler. While songs vary slightly from one bird to the next, they always have the recognizable “hew-li” sound.
Basking SharkThe basking shark is the second largest fish in the world, with a maximum recorded size of 12.2 m. This filter-feeder is named after its conspicuous behaviour of ‘basking’ (more accurately feeding) at the surface. The basking shark is typically blackish to grey-brown. It has an extremely large mouth with minute teeth, elongated gill slits, a pointed snout, and a crescent-shaped caudal fin. Gill openings have prominent gill rakers. It is the only species in its family, Cetorhinidae. The earliest fossil basking shark is 29 to 35 million years old.
BeaverThe beaver Castor canadensis is the largest rodent in North America and the largest rodent in the world except for the capybara of South America. An adult weighs from 16 to 32 kg and, including its 30-cm tail, a large beaver may measure 1.3 m long. Its ancestors were even larger. In the Pleistocene ice age—the era of the mastodons and the mammoths—the giant beavers that inhabited the expanses of Eurasia and North America measured just under 3 m in length, including the tail, and probably weighed 360 kg.
Beluga WhaleBeluga whales have stout bodies, well-defined necks and a disproportionately small head. They have thick skins, short but broad paddle-shaped flippers, and sharp teeth. Unlike other whales, the beluga doesn’t have a dorsal fin. Belugas average 3 to 5 metres in length and weigh between 500 and 1,500 kilograms. Male whales have a marked upward curve at the top of their flippers.
Black BearThe black bear Ursus americanus is one of the most familiar wild animals in North America today. The black bear is a bulky and thickset mammal. Approximately 150 cm long and with a height at the shoulder that varies from 100 to 120 cm, an adult black bear has a moderate-sized head with a rather straight facial profile and a tapered nose with long nostrils. The ears are rounded and the eyes small. The tail is very short and inconspicuous. A black bear has feet that are well furred on which it can walk. Each foot has five curved claws, which the bear cannot sheathe, or hide. These are very strong and are used for digging and tearing out roots, stumps, and old logs when searching for food.
Black SwallowtailThe blackness of its body and wings is embellished with two rows of yellow spots. The female’s yellow spots, while not as bold as the male’s, are adorned with a more distinctive blue band between the pale bands of yellow. In contrast, the male is garnished with more yellow tones than blue. Both sexes have two prominent orange eyespots on their hind wings close to their tails.
Black-capped ChickadeeBlack-capped Chickadees are small birds that measure 12 to 15 centimetres long. They have grey backs, a black cap that covers their eyes, white cheeks and a black triangular bib on the throat. Their stomachs are white with buff along the sides and their wings and tail are dark grey with white edging.
Black-Footed FerretOf the three species of ferret in the world, the Black-footed ferret is the only one native to North America. They are impeccably cute: cat-like whiskers sprouting from a white muzzle, plush round ears above eyes set into a bandit’s black mask and sturdy legs in black stockings, supporting a sinuous, sandy-coloured body crowned by a black-tipped tail.
Blanding's TurtleHighly domed, smooth, dark coloured upper shell with light coloured flecks. Bright yellow chin and neck. Size: 12-27 cm
Blue SharkBlue sharks are recognizable for their exceptionally slender body and bright blue coloration. They are dark blue on the back, bright blue on the sides, and white on the underside. The colour quickly changes to a uniform dark grey if the shark is removed from the water. They have a long snout, large eyes, and narrow pointed pectoral fins. Adults range in size from about 2 – 3 m (6 – 10 feet).
Blue WhaleThe blue whale has a long body with a mottled gray colour pattern that appears light blue when seen through the water. It is the largest animal ever known to exist on earth. It can weigh up to 200 tons and it approximately 80 to 100 feet in length.
Blue-Spotted SalamanderThe Blue-spotted Salamander is a small, cold-blooded, nocturnal animal. A large adult will only be about 12 cm long, 40% of that is tail and its body is only about 1 cm wide. It is shiny-black with dusty blue spots mainly on the sides and belly.
Burrowing OwlOnce a common sight in portions of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia, the burrowing owl is now much more rare. The Canadian population of this little bird of prey has declined over 95 per cent since 1987, and now occupies a mere 36 per cent of its original distribution in Canada. This alarming rate of decline has motivated scientists to list the species as endangered under the Species at Risk Act.
Canada LynxThis secretive, hard-to-spot resident of Canada’s boreal forest is likely a descendant of the Eurasian lynx and resembles a very large domestic cat. It has a short tail, long legs, large feet and prominent ear tufts. Its winter coat is light grey and slightly mottled with long guard hairs; the under-fur is brownish, and the ear tufts and tip of the tail are black. The summer coat is much shorter than the winter coat and has a definite reddish-brown cast. The average weight of a lynx is 8 to 14 kilograms, measuring around 90 centimetres in length. The average lifespan is 15 to 20 years.
Canadian Tiger SwallowtailAdult wingspan is 53–90mm. Adults (butterflies) are yellow with thick black bands coming down from the top of the forewing and some black lines/veins across the hind wings. There are thick black bands along the edge of both the forewing and hind wing, with yellow spots along the forewing and yellow and orange spots on the jagged hind wing. There is a softer band of blue patches on the hind wing. Near the bottom of the hind wing is an extension that, when you look at both wings together, resemble the long, forked tails of some swallows.
Young (larvae/caterpillars), when immature, are brown and white and resemble bird droppings. Older caterpillars are large and green. Their body is fatter just behind the head and has two yellowish spots that look like eyes and a yellow band farther back, giving the impression of a much larger head, which is thought to deter predators.