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Seeing more wildlife these days? Nature Conservancy says no

As our social media posts indicate, many of us believe we are observing more birds and animals in our community


During this COVID-19 outbreak and being hunkered down inside, many Canadians believe they have been observing more wildlife outside their windows and in their subdivisions. In posting photos and videos on social media, they feel they are observing more wildlife in their communities.

However, a scientist with the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) says that in most cases it’s just that people have been able to slow down and notice these critters. Dan Kraus says in our daily travels and busy lives, most of the wildlife has been there all along waiting for us to notice and discover it.

“Because of how COVID-19 has forced many of us to slow down and stay home, many people are more tuned in to what nature is around us – we might be noticing the birds and other creatures that live around us more because we are less distracted compared to our usual  routines,” said Kraus. 

Kraus, who is senior conservation biologist with the national land conservation group, says there are several reasons why there seems to be more animal sightings lately.  One is that some wildlife are taking advantage of empty spaces while people spend most of their time in their homes.

“The quieter environment certainly means that we also hear more birds, and animals that avoided people by mostly coming out at night maybe extending the hours that they are active,” said Kraus. 

He points out it is also a matter of seasonal timing. Spring is of course when the natural world starts to get busy with growth and reproduction. Migratory birds start returning or passing through our neighbourhoods. 

“Animals of all sorts are moving about more looking for a mate or building a nest or den. So this slow down of human society is happening right when the rest of nature is waking up and getting active. There's a lot happening for any of us to notice, if we only pay attention!”

Kraus points out it’s not even that unusual to have wildlife like bears or moose occasionally wander into cities in the spring (usually young males!). Wildlife also come into our cities because of cleaner air and water and also because we have more habitat in our urban areas than in the past. 

“The majority of Canadians live in a place that historically had very high biodiversity. Some of the diversity is coming back thanks to conservation efforts and because wildlife is adapting”.

Kraus hopes these wildlife observations will give families a greater appreciation of nature and interest in the species that share our areas.    

To help people get their nature fix while being indoors, NCC has posted a series of activities on its website.  They include a five-minute daily nature challenge, crossword puzzles, coloring sheets and videos offering virtual hikes and walks of various Nature Conservancy properties in all 10 provinces.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada is the nation's leading not-for-profit, private land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962, NCC and its partners have helped to protect 14 million hectares (35 million acres), coast to coast to coast. To learn more, visit