Category Archives: Ontario

City Girl and the Goslings

At the same time as turkeys were hatching in one incubator, goslings were hatching in another.  The incubator had a large clear window so this city girl had a birds eye view.  Two little goslings were hatched.  After they stayed in the incubator for 24 hours to dry off, they were put in with the turkey chicks under the warmer so they would not get cold.  The nursery was getting very full!

GOSLINGS - AMERICAN BUFF & FRENCH TOULOUSEMy sister, Bev had received a gift of 8 goslings from her daughter Emma, 4 American Buff and 4 Toulouse.  They were one month old and had graduated from the nursery to a pen outside with shelter from the sun and wind.  Bev could not put the gosling’s wading pool in their enclosure yet because they still did not have all there feathers, and if they got wet they would be cold.

Bev went outside and called Babieeees …….  Babieeees; and 8 little goslings cam running to the side of the pen to greet her.  Geese love to eat grass.  Bev has a fenced in enclosure  full of strawberry plants that were over grown with grass.  She put the goslings into the enclosure and soon large sections of it were grass IMG_3110free as the goslings ate the grass but did not touch the strawberry plants.  What a great way to weed the strawberry patch!  One of the first time all 8 goslings were out on the grass they ran for the sheer joy of it Yipeee!


The pictures of the goslings were taken out on the grass in the early morning.  I used a Canon 70-300 mm telephoto lens with a hood.  The perspective when taking photos is so important.  Photos of goslings taken from a standing position look very different from those taken from their eye level.  I lay flat on my stomach on the grass to get down to their level when I was taking the photos.

City Girl and the Baby Chicks

Baby Chick - 3 days oldLast month I travelled north to visit my sister and her family. Bev and her husband live on a “homestead” in Northern Ontario Each visit usually brings a new surprise just depending on the time of year. This time it was hatchings season!

Ten little baby chicks had Baby Chick - 3 days oldhatched 24 hours before I got there. Being a city girl I had never seen baby chicks that small before. They are all down and have no feathers.  They can easily get chilled, so they are kept in a large translucent bin with paper towel in the bottom and a little chick warmer.

IMG_2668I had no idea that each little chicks beak had to be dipped in water so that they will know that they are supposed to drink it. They eat special chick feed and grow very quickly.  The chicks on the left are about 3 days old. There is also a photo of one of them in my sisters hand showing the feathers on the wings that are already starting to develop.  Every once in a while this little guy would flutter his wings for the sheer joy of it and hover for about 10 seconds a quarter way up the side of  the translucent bin.

I was amazed watching turkeys hatch in an incubator. It takes hours for one of them to hatch. The chirp away while they peck through the large end of the shell – rest for a while and then peck and chirp again. When one hatches it stumbles over to another egg that is hatching, cheering on the bird that is emerging from the shell. The turkeys  stay in the incubator for up to 24 hours after hatching so that they will dry off and not be cold when they move into the translucent bin, similar to the one the chicks were in.


The pictures of the chicks were taken using a macro lens – Canon 17-85 mm   We cut down the side of a cardboard box and placed a white towel inside.  We set the box on a table in front of a window for natural light.  While I took the pictures my sister stood guard – those chicks sure can move fast!

Polar Bear Habitat – Cochrane Ontario

Nanook 1 LROver the last few years it has been my great privilege to visit the Polar Bear Habitat in Cochrane Ontario.  The Polar Bear Habitat is a “bear centred facility” . There are three large separate enclosures.  The Polar Bears have access to all the enclosures and their pool at any time of the day.

Nanook - watermelon LR

A number of Polar Bears have lived at the Polar Bear Habitat over the years.  Aurora and Nakita spent five years living at the Polar Bear Habitat while their new home was being built at Tundra Trek at the Toronto Zoo.

The pictures on this page are of Nanook, there will always be a place in my heart for him.  He was a senior Nanook - Shake LRPolar Bear when I met him

Currently Ganuk lives at the Polar Bear Habitat.  His Dad is Inukshuk who also lives at the Toronto Zoo.  I plan to go that way again this summer and look forward to meeting Gunuk!  Please follow the link to learn more about the Polar Bears who have lived at the Polar Bear Habitat


There is a good wide walking path  through the Polar Bear Habitat.  The Habitat Bear Viewing Building is accessible.  It is quite a hike around the entire property.  Those using a wheel chair may find it a challenging day.


One of the most important pieces of equipment that you can have when you visit the Polar Bear Habitat is a camera with a zoom lens on it.  Generally there is a single polar bear or at most two or three polar bears who live in the facility.  The grounds are vast and in order to get good pictures you really need the zoom lens. I used a 70-300 mm Canon lens.

There is a great  photo op for families at the Polar Bear Habitat.  There is a wading pool for visitors that is adjacent to the pool for the Polar Bear.  The two pools are separated by 2 inches of plexiglass.  It is very safe but it is possible to get a photo of your children and it looks like they are swimming right beside the polar bear.


Polar Bears – Toronto Zoo

Image 7One of my favourite exhibits is the  5 acre Polar Bear Habitat in the Tundra Trek zoogeographic region at the Toronto Zoo.  When I got there three polar bears were snoozing in the morning sun and were not very active.  I looked for the schedule for feeding time and decided to return.

Image 6I came back at the designated time and was rewarded for my persistence.  The polar bears obviously knew what time it was.  One by one they headed for their deep pool area  They sat on the side, wandered around or did laps in the water, putting on a great show.  When the zoo keeper came, she had many interesting facts about the polar bears, their behaviour and of course brought them tasty treats.  The fish was great, but I think this polar bear particularly enjoyed the carrots!


The Toronto Zoo is a vast space and lots of fun for the whole family. Click on the link to access a map of the zoo grounds.  There are many steep grades in the zoo.  The zoo maintains a web page with excellent information on accessibility, their policy on the use of electric scooters and service dogs on the grounds.


The zoo maintains a page on their web site with photo tips from Canon on taking pictures at the zoo.  Here is a link to the photo tips that are relevant to the Tundra Trek exhibits.  The photos on this page were taken with a Canon xti and a Canon 70-300mm lens.