News release

It’s a Bird, it’s a Plane, it’s … a Red-tailed Hawk

Entertainment and activities | January 19, 2023

Looking for a free, animal adventure that includes more than spying on a squirrel digging up a lost nut or watching a passing V formation of Canadian geese?

All you need to do is take a walk, hike, run or cycle through Mississauga’s beautiful trail system.

In addition to hawks of the red-tailed variety, keep your eyes on the sky and your camera at the ready because unexpected visitors on your outdoor escapade could include sharp-shinned hawks, Cooper’s hawks and even the odd great horned owl.

If you’re heading out for some solitude to work on your newest ballad but need help with the tune, a short trip to the trails can help there, too.

Various song birds including northern cardinals, blue jays, Carolina wrens, black-capped chickadees, white and red-breasted nuthatches can be found.

Remember Rover when you head outdoors for the day but don’t leave their leash at home. Off-leash dogs can harass and injure local wildlife. An off-leash dog can cause larger wildlife to attack and/or chase them back to their owner. So for the safety of all, your pet included, please remember to keep them on-leash. If your furry bestie can’t stand to be tethered, hike over to one of the city’s many off-leash dog parks instead.

After your leisurely day on the trails comes to an end and the thought of coming home to find a white-tailed deer going through your fridge or group of striped skunks in your guest bathroom doesn’t sound desirable, remember that when you are in their homes. And if you enjoy hearing the songs and sounds of the birds outside your windows, please consider keeping your felines indoors. Letting your cat outside might seem like harmless fun and good exercise for them but in reality, it can pose a serious risk to wildlife and birds.

So when you head out to enjoy Mississauga’s trails, keep these tips in mind:

  • Share the trail: slow down when passing, stay to the right and watch out for others. Keeping to official trails prevents plants and small animals such as salamanders and toads from being trampled underfoot. The seemingly simplest act such as a hiker veering temporarily off the trail can result in the spread of non-native invasive species.
  • Put litter in its place: hold on to your coffee cups and pet waste bags until you come across a garbage can or take it back home with you.
  • Keep your pets on a leash: for the safety of all trail users as well as your pet and the wildlife.
  • Brush off before moving on: take a moment and brush off your clothes, shoes and pets before leaving the area to avoid spreading invasive species.

As author J.R.R. Tolkien wrote, “Not all who wander are lost.” Stick to the trails, be mindful that you are walking through the only home many species of animals have ever known and breath deeply.

Today is going to be a good day.

Hawk flying under a grey sky