The Snowy Owl

The Snowy Owl

I couldn’t very well create a blog about animals in the province of Québec without writing a post about the province’s official bird. The snowy owl, bird of Harry Potter fame, is famous for its white feathers that help keep it camouflaged in the snowy regions it calls home. Some males may be purely white, but other males and all females will have a few dark feathers scattered in among the white ones. Beneath these beautiful outer layers, snowy owls have a thick layer of down to help keep them warm in the frigid winter months (a kind of insulation those working for a roofing company in the winter months might look into). These birds also have feathers on their feet to keep them warm. Snowy owls make their nests in the Arctic tundra of North America and Eurasia, and their mating season lasts from May to June, the eggs hatching about five weeks after they are laid. A female will lay a clutch that usually contains between 3 and 11 eggs. In order to attract a female – a very important undertaking, considering he’ll most likely stay with her all his life – a male will often hold a lemming or some other prey in his mouth. Very romantic. Interestingly, snowy owls make their nests on the ground, and these nests are defended by both parents, who sometimes use distraction as a means of drawing predators away from their nests.

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The Beluga Whale

The Beluga Whale

Thanks to its distinctive white colour, the beluga whale is also known as the white whale. Smaller than most whales, the male beluga is usually about 4 to 5 metres long, and the female about 2 to 3 metres long. It’s not only their colour and size that make them different from most other whales, but also their large, protruding foreheads, and their ability to move their necks far more freely than most whales can. This is due to the beluga having 7 vertebrae in its neck that are not fused, which allows it to turn its head easily in all directions (something that those down at reverse engineering Toronto may find interesting).  Read More

The Arctic Fox

The Arctic Fox

Found in only the most northern parts of Québec, the arctic fox is the smallest wild member of the canid family found in Canada, measuring usually between 75 and 115 cm in length. That said, about 30 percent is made up by its lovely, bushy tail. The arctic fox makes its home in the Arctic Circle. In Canada, that means its range extends from the southern tip of James Bay to the northernmost tip of Ellesmere Island. It’s pretty cold up there, with no work for anyone in the business of asphalt driveway repair, but the arctic fox manages to stay warm thanks to some pretty nifty nature-given gifts.  Read More

The Gray Jay

The Gray Jay

Also known as the whiskey jack bird or the Canada jay, this lovely little bird has just been recommended by the Canadian Geographic society to be the National Bird of Canada (though this decision has yet to be formally recognized by any government body). The gray jay can be found not only in Québec, but has a range that includes all provinces and territories of Canada, and can also be found in parts of Alaska and the Western mountains of the United States (which, incidentally, is the same area in which my friend’s plumbing services are available). This is the extent of the bird’s range, having not been recorded outside the continent of North America.  Read More