2 Wild Turkeys in a Pine Tree, Toronto (February 2016).
The Wild Turkey and the Muscovy Duck are the only two domesticated birds native to the New World.
In the early 1500s, European explorers brought home Wild Turkeys from Mexico, where native people had domesticated the birds centuries earlier. Turkeys quickly became popular on European menus thanks to their large size and rich taste from their diet of wild nuts. Later, when English colonists settled on the Atlantic Coast, they brought domesticated turkeys with them.
As Wild Turkey numbers dwindled through the early twentieth century, people began to look for ways to reintroduce this valuable game bird. Initially they tried releasing farm turkeys into the wild but those birds didn’t survive. In the 1940s, people began catching wild birds and transporting them to other areas. Such transplantations allowed Wild Turkeys to spread to all of the lower 48 states (plus Hawaii) and parts of southern Canada.
Tree Swallow @ Humber Bay Park East, Toronto (Afternoon, early June, partly cloudy, 23°C).
Tree Swallows have helped researchers make major advances in several branches of ecology, and they are among the best-studied bird species in North America. Still, we know little about their lives during migration and winter.
American Mink on Lake Ontario, Toronto (February 2016)
The mink is a carnivore. It eats muskrats, rabbits, mice, chipmunks, fish, snakes, frogs and birds. It kills its prey by biting it on the neck. It sometimes stores extra food in its den. The mink digs its den in river banks or it finds a hollow log or an abandoned beaver or muskrat den. It never uses the same den for long.