On Sunday morning, I had the unfortunate experience of witnessing a domestic cat catching, killing and tearing apart a young wild rabbit on the lawn of St. George Catholic School. The City of Ottawa does allow cats to roam, but this cat (pictured above) was not wearing a collar and tag as required.
I appreciate the wildlife in our neighbourhood. Most of it, anyway. I enjoy seeing the wild rabbits munching on grass in my backyard and laugh at the antics of the chipmunks and squirrels. I have seen raccoons and skunks foraging in my yard, too, and even the occasional fox. I have also seen many species of birds in our neighbourhood. All of these play a role in maintaining the health of our local ecosystem and many of them are threatened by domestic cats “hunting”. The bird feeders that many of us have in our yards attract birds and other wildlife, which in turn attract free-roaming cats. I have chased a number of local cats out of my yard many times, including the cat pictured above.
Peter Blancher, a scientist with Environment Canada, estimates that house cats kill 38 to 133 million birds in Canada per year. Ted Chesky of Nature Canada reported a similar number of birds killed by pet cats in Canada. That’s an astounding number!
If you currently have a pet cat that you allow to go outdoors, please consider keeping it inside. There are creative indoor options for indoor cats including a “catio”. If you allow your cat to go outdoors, please equip it with a noise device (like a bell) on its collar. Cats are not easily seen by birds because they blend in well with our natural environment. Equipping your cat with a Birdsbesafe collar (available at several online sources), which is a comfortable but colourful collar, will help birds see the cat and make it more difficult for the cat to ambush birds and other wildlife.
Daniel Buckles published today an OPED in the Ottawa Citizen on the loss of the Patricia Avenue “Party Tree” and the importance of heritage trees and planting native/near-native species to the urban canopy. The pre-confederation tree was irreparably damaged in last month’s big derecho storm. Please share as you see fit.
The Hintonburg Community Association is going to the Ontario Land Tribunal to appeal a decision by City Planning Committee to allow a developer to put up 12 storeys on a block of Wellington that is zoned for six storeys. It seems that this decision could have serious implications for planning and development in neighbouring communities like Champlain Park. Here is the fundraising poster with links to details about this appeal:
Date: Sat, 15 Jan 2022 18:00:42 -0500
From: DANIEL BUCKLES <email@example.com>
Greening the Neighbourhood
David Paré of Ottawa South has produced a delightful podcast series on “Decarbonizing Ottawa,” that highlights the actions people in our city are taking to do their part to overcome the climate crisis: https://anchor.fm/david-pare
A recent episode (Greening the Neighbourhood) features Champlain Park, starting with the de-paving of a section of Pontiac Avenue and continuing with our wonderful pollinator garden and “tiny forests.” Have listen to this, or other podcats on topics ranging from the National Healing Forests Initiative to Going Electric (pros and cons).
Peter L. wrote on Mon, 13 Sep 2021 07:02:18 -0400:
Just saw a large coyote this morning in the Champlain Woods while walking my small dog. Not aggressive but a decent size. Heads up to all residents with small dogs or children.
Subject: Trees and birds, oh the joy of it
Date: Sun, 28 Mar 2021 11:27:16 -0400
From: Daniel Buckles <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Trees help make Champlain Park a special neighbourhood in this part of the city, and no doubt add to the property value and enjoyment of residents (studies show generally a 10-15% increase in property value due to trees, and many direct human health benefits as well).
Native tree species are particularly important because they harbour native insects that recognize them as food sources and good places to lay their eggs. The Norway Maple and Japanse Lilac, while lovely in their own way, confuse insects looking for food and habitat, making them less desirable tree species for a healthy ecosystem. The same logic applies to shrubs and herbaceous plants: native is better for insects.
Anywhere insects go, birds follow. If you enjoy birds, Champlain Park and the nearby woods have lots to offer, including a recent visit from a flock of Bohemian Waxwings and perennial sightings of the solitary Pileated Woodpecker (among many others).
It now seems that birds make us as happy as money, in fact, an extra $190 a month according to a study of 25 European countries. Check out a media report on the study here: https://nationalpost.com/news/world/birds-make-you-as-happy-as-money-study-finds
Date: Mon, 8 Feb 2021 08:38:55 -0500
From: DANIEL BUCKLES <email@example.com>
Subject: Solidarity with Mechanicsville Community Association
[…] The affected lands are very close to us so is relevant to our neighbourhood as well, and likely to become even more relevant over time. […]
Please write to the NCC CEO Tobi Nussbaum (c/o assistant Sarah.Skrzek@ncc-ccn.ca) to indicate your solidarity with a call by the Mechanicsville Community Association and Big Trees of Kitchissippi to withdraw its plan to build diplomatic offices and parking lots on prime greenspace along the Ottawa River. Consider participating as well in an online forum on the development hosted by Councillor Leiper.
Continue reading “Objections to New Embassy Row + February 10 Webinar”
A message passed on via a neighbour:
After 30 years with Canada Post, the time has come to retire. I’m finishing my career with two years in this friendly neighbourhood, ironically (but by choice) on the same route I walked during the Ice Storm! (1998). Thank you for all your kindness. Merry Christmas.
This is a slightly political message, but it’s worth posting since the recent bus route changes are of local concern. Problems with the new routes (such as not fully connecting across downtown Ottawa) have lead to this survey to get feedback to present to municipal candidates, and to the formation of the Ottawa Transit Riders’ Group. Continue reading “Bus Route Changes Survey”
Subject: Dog walking in the woods
Date: Sun, 31 Dec 2017 12:18:14 -0500
From: Nhung Hoang
I have lived in Champlain Park for 24 years and love this neighbourhood. The proximity to nature is one thing that is especially precious to me. I have a small dog (a bichon frisé who is getting somewhat elderly) who I take for walks daily. One of the places we like to walk is the path through the woods. Near the entry to the path, it is clearly marked that dogs must be leashed. Unfortunately, not everyone follows this bylaw.
Twice in the last few months my dog has been attacked by larger dogs that have been off leash. Fortunately, he has not yet been injured but I feel that it is just a matter of time. I understand that dogs like to run off leash. Farms, cottages and off-leash dog parks are all places where you can let your canine friends have some more freedom. Please do not do so in places where the law doesn’t allow and where your dogs (as friendly as you believe they are) may be a menace to other dogs (not to mention, skiers, snowshoers and other walkers). Thank you for your consideration.
Nhung Hoang, Cowley Avenue