Natural Peterborough: May Edition

A big congratulations to all my fellow students; you survived exams and the school year is over! Now you will be either going back to wherever you came from, staying in Peterborough for your various summer activities, or working and enjoying what will hopefully be a lot of gorgeous sunshine.

With the warm weather comes patio season. Peterborough happens to have an astounding collection of restaurants, with patios. While you are out enjoying the sun, a pint, and some great food, keep your eyes open for the many migratory birds that are back for the season. These include warblers, vireos, flycatchers, orioles and thrushes. Also, if you happen to have any seed feeders or nectar feeders in your back yard you can hope to see rose-breasted grosbeaks, and perhaps even hummingbirds.

Hummingbirds’ bright colours, interesting wing structure, feeding habits, and friendly countenance have made them of great interest to many bird watchers. Ruby-throated hummingbirds will be the species most seen in our area for the time being. The males can be easily identified by their ruby red throat and emerald green back. Their tail will be entirely green, save a deep V-shape. The males are smaller than the females, and will have a shorter bill. The females also have a green back, but with a white throat and shorter, more rounded tails with white tips.


If bird watching, or photographing is something you enjoy or would like to get into, there are many different ways of making feeders from recycled materials. Empty pop bottles, milk cartons have, in my experience, been the best and most easily accessible. They can also be a very fun activity for all ages. More important than the interesting exterior designs of your bird feeders is what you put in them. Hummingbirds feed on nectar, so sugar water would be best to attract both them and other nectar eaters.

For seed eaters, the most important part is selecting seeds that will attract the birds you are hoping to see. Black-oil sunflower is oil rich and a great source of energy, and is favoured by a good variety of birds. They can also be blended with other seeds such as millet (for juncos, mourning doves and sparrows), peanuts and striped sunflower (for blue jays), or safflower (for cardinals).

Another very amazing thing about May is the amphibian life. One of the most abundant in the Kawarthas is the spring peeper. They are of the first amphibians to start their singing in the spring, a very loud and high-pitched “peep” sound, and can be found in nearly all of the wetlands in the area. They can also be seen out of the water but in places near water.

Spring peeper

The spring peeper is a tree frog so it will spend lots of time in trees and shrubs as well. They are a very tiny, with enlarged toe pads, and vary in colour, from tan to grey, with a darker X on their back.

With all the warm and wonderful weather we are sure to be seeing in Peterborough, don’t forget the night life can be alive with excitement for those who are into star gazing. This month, though Leo continues to be a dominant part of the spring skies, Virgo will begin to emerge as well. Virgo contains 12 stars with known planets, and can be best seen at 9pm. It’s brightest star is Spica, which is the fifteenth brightest star in the sky, though the constellation itself is not particularly bright. Virgo also has many galaxies within it which can be well seen with a small telescope.