Safety Reminder: Wildlife Interactions
Pippy Park would like to remind you that it is possible to see coyotes in the Park, as it is possible to see many types of wildlife. While coyotes are not new to Pippy Park there have been more sightings in the 2015 than previous years.
There are many excellent steps you can take to avoid conflict with coyotes. These have been summarize by the Provincial Wildlife Division and can be found at: http://www.env.gov.nl.ca/env/wildlife/all_species/coyotes.html
Sightings of coyotes and other wildlife should be reported to the Forestry & Agrifoods Agency (Conservation Officers) at 729-4180 or Pippy Park at 737-3655.
Pippy Park, with its mix of forest, meadows, barrens and waterways, provides important habitat for a variety of animals. These include both native species and animals that have been introduced (either intentionally or by accident) to the island.
Snowshoe across Three Pond Barrens you’ll likely see many tracks of snowshoe hares; or plan an early morning visit to Long Pond in the Spring and start your day with a spectacular dawn chorus of songbirds.
On land, in the air, in the water
Mammals found within Pippy Park include the snowshoe hare, muskrat (found in or near the water), moose, red fox, short-tailed weasel, mink (found near water), common shrew, meadow vole, and red squirrel. MUN Botanical Garden has erected bat roosts to encourage insect-hungry Little Brown Bats (one of two species found on the island) to stay in the garden.
Pippy Park is a great place to see, and hear, birds. The Long Pond Marsh and other wetlands and waterways represent important habitat for a wide variety of birds. Here, rare species are frequently sighted having been blown off course during migratory flights.
Osprey nest at Oxen Pond and fish in Long Pond, and ducks nest at all the ponds. Burton’s Pond has a bubbler which keeps the water on the pond from freezing. It attracts a large number of ducks, and many exotic species can be found there during the winter including: the American and European widgeon, wood duck, and the greater and lesser scaup. Other ducks in the area include the American bittern, green-winged teal, pintail, mallard, and black ducks. Herons and egrets are also seen in the Park on occasion.
Songbirds common to the Park include: American goldfinch, boreal and black-capped chickadee, evening grosbeak, pine grosbeak, purple finch, red-breasted nuthatch, dark-eyed juncos, ruby-crowned kinglet, and white-winged crossbills.
There are also several fish species (including the native brook trout and introduced European brown trout) and a frog species within the Park. Fogarty’s Wetland is home to the green frog. While not native, this frog was once abundant in the Park. Today, Fogarty’s Wetland is the last remaining area where these frogs can be regularly seen.
Be a tracker
Most mammals are nocturnal so the best time to see them is early in the morning or late in the evening. Look for signs of their presence such as tracks, droppings, and browsed plants.
In winter, grass tunnels under the snow reveal signs of voles. Deciduous twigs with sharp ends are a tell-tale sign that rabbits have been grazing. Browsed branches with rough ends reveal the presence of moose. Pick up a copy of the Mammals of Pippy Park pamphlet at Park Headquarters for more information.