The Boreal Forest
The boreal forest is very important to Canada and specifically Alberta, because it supplies us with many things such as oxygen, fresh water, recreational opportunities
Effort is required to strike an even balance between wildlife and human activities such as hiking, biking, hunting and industry. If there are too many people using the forest, the wildlife’s habitat will be threatened.
In order for the wildlife that lives in the boreal forest to survive, their habitat needs to be protected. For example, a shrub takes ten years to become a fully-grown tree. For every tree we cut down, we have to plant ten replacement trees. Therefore, if we cut down two trees we would have to plant twenty trees in replacement. The new trees would not be the same size as the trees were before they got cut down.
The weather in winter is long and harsh for the animals of the boreal forest. The range of temperature in the winter months is from 0°C to -20°C.
Not all animals make it through the winter. In the winter there is a lot of snow so it is hard for the animals to find food in each area of the forest.
Winter is also rough for herbivores. The reason for this is the grass is still covered by snow making it difficult to forage for vegetation.
In May, the snow is mostly gone and typically the lakes and rivers are still covered by ice.
During the month of May, the animals find most of their water from puddles formed by melted snow.
The boreal forest offers a rich and diverse habitat for many animals including the moose, deer, lynx, river otter, timber wolf and a variety of birds.
In the wetlands there are approximately two hundred species of birds in the area. It also includes many neo-tropical birds such as the rare Connecticut warbler.
Boreal birds can be classified into three groups: year round residents, short distance migrants, and the long distance migrants.
The Burrowing owl is an example of a long distance migrating bird, which migrates from the S.W United States to South America. It is different from most owls in that it nests in burrows left over from other animals like badgers, ground squirrels or foxes.
The burrowing owls’ population is decreasing. In the 1970’s there were about 2100 burrowing owl breeding pairs left in Canada but by 1987, the population had dropped by half with 700 pairs.
In 1988 there were 4 pairs in B.C, 1000 pairs in Alberta, 1500 pairs in Saskatchewan, and 28 pairs in Manitoba.
In 1990 there were 12 pairs in B.C, 19 pairs in Manitoba, and 1200 in Saskatchewan.
1998 there were none nesting in B.C, 37 pairs in Alberta, 1 pair in Manitoba, and 88 pairs in Saskatchewan.
The borrowing owls are decreasing in numbers because there are too many predators, not enough burrows due to loss of habitat, poisoning and pesticides on their food source and vehicle collisions.
Many animals such as the wood bison and the woodland caribou are endangered.
A moose’s eyes might be handsome but they don’t see very well. Because of that their other senses work harder.
A moose can hear much better than we can so it can hear danger.
When a moose hears danger it’s ears prick up so it can catch sound waves easily. Partly why a moose has big ears is so if there’s danger they know previously so they have a good chance of getting away.
Another way for them to know if there’s danger near is because of their big nose. They know the scent of any dangerous animal.
Only males grow antlers. The female do not.
A male moose can weigh up to 535 kg (1200 lbs) and can stand over 2 m (6 feet) tall.
The female moose may not be as big as a male, but they’re still just as big or even bigger then a horse.
A deer, like a moose is commonly found in the Boreal Forest of Alberta. That might be because most of them live in pairs.
A regular deer is about 1.5 m. tall.
Deer are the type of animal that has a very timid personality.
At a certain time of year a deer’s antlers grow.
Antlers are like bones except for that they don’t grow inside their bodies, they grow behind their ears.
Canada’s Boreal forest (book) By J. David Henry
Taiga By April Polly Sayre (book)
The population of Burrowing Owl