Northern Woodland White-tailed Deer

Northern Woodland White-tailed DeerThe Northern Woodland White-tailed Deer is common throughout the Ottawa Valley, and far beyond. Highway signs warning Deer Crossing are numerous — and you really do need to be careful when driving. It is magical, though, to see a deer in nature. This youngster was foraging by the country place north of Ottawa in the Gatineau Hills. She came very close to me while I was taking her picture, before she lost interest and dashed off into the undergrowth of the forest.

Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated WoodpeckerThe Pileated Woodpecker is a very large woodpecker, occasionally seen in the woods around Ottawa. I spotted this fellow in the Gatineau Hills, north of the city. Normally, you can hear rather than see these birds, as the noise they make when they hammer at the trunks of trees in their search for insects is unmistakable. In the depths of winter, when their insect food is more scarce, the Pileated Woodpecker can be drawn to balls of suet that are hanging alongside bird feeders with seed. A handsome creature.

A chipmunk forages

ChipmunkChipmunks are common in the wooded areas throughout the Ottawa valley. They are constant foragers, and this one came right up on the deck to stash away some peanuts, right at the feet of humans. This little fellow ran away with three stuffed in his cheeks, and the peanuts in the shell rattled as he scurried to his burrow. Chipmunks don’t hibernate in the winter, but they do enter into a torpor, during which they slowly eat the cache of food they gathered by foraging throughout the snow-free months.

Appropriately for an animal that lives in Ottawa, the word “chipmunk” comes from the Ottawa language. Odawa is a dialect of the Ojibwa language (in the Algonquian branch of North American languages), and the word they use for this animal is ajidamoonh. Cute little guy, isn’t he?