Last Update: 29 June, 2015

Wildlife Around Mississippi Lake

Nuisance Bear Calls

We understand that the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) is no longer trapping and relocating bears. They're only providing information. Calls gets forwarded to the OPP.

Submission Photos from Jo Ellen Beattie

Jo Ellen's Osprey and a Common Tern nest(submitted 20 June, 2014):

Jo Ellen took photos of the the Osprey nest in her yard on Twin Oak Point and a Common Tern nest behind her house in Code Bay.

Jo Ellen's Canada Goose & babies(submitted 20 June, 2014):

Jo Ellen took photos of the Canada Geese babies.

Jo Ellen's Snapping Turtles(submitted 20 June, 2014):

Jo Ellen took photos of the Snapping Turtle and one with both Snapping Turtle and Painted Turtle. The first one was taken in her yard on Twin Oaks Point and the last two were taken in King's Bay.

Jo Ellen's Bald Eagle 20 June, 2014):

Jo Ellen took photos of the Bald Eagle and nest on Greig Island in the Big Lake and a Juvenile Bald Eagle that was in our tree, checking out the Osprey nest a couple of weeks ago.

Jo Ellen's Great Blue Heron(submitted 20 June, 2014):

Jo Ellen took photos of the Great Blue Heron, including 2 nests that she found kayaking up Code Creek, which is off Code Bay in the lake.

Jo Ellen's Baby Loons and Mother (submitted 19 June, 2014):

Jo Ellen took these photos of a pair of Loon Babies with their Mom from her kayak. They're behind her house in Code Bay.

Jo Ellen's Great Horned Owl & Blue Heron photos:

Jo Ellen took these photos of a Great Horned Owl & Great Blue Heron she saw in her yard backing onto Code Bay (submitted 27 August, 2012).

Jo Ellen's Bear Photos:

Jo Ellen took these photos of a bear she saw on her property at Two Oaks Point. You can read her entire article in 2012 Mississippi Belle Magazine.

Submission Photos from John Kenny

John Kenny's Moose photos (submitted 26 August, 2013):

John Kenny took these photos yesterday of a moose in his back yard on Ebbs Bay Road. His wife, Liz looked up from supper tonight and said, "Good Grief (That's not quite what she said!)! There's a moose in the yard!". John thought she was kidding. Evidently not. John admitted the photo quality was not great, but given a dark, rainy evening, they're not bad. Ed Carew reported later that Odette Godard saw the moose in her yard. She doesn't live too far from John.

Submission Photos from Frank Mills and Daniel Van Klei

The following are a few recent photos of a couple of trumpeter swans photographed by Frank Mills along the river near the boat launch at the end of Lake Avenue during the afternoon of March 7th. Trumpeters are rare visitors to these parts. They are the largest water birds in the world.

The following is a another photo provided by Daniel Van Klei.


Submission Photos - from Ed Carew

Ed took this picture of an otter the other day in front of his place on Ebb's Bay. Ed and his wife, Linda, were sitting on their deck enjoying the spring-like weather when Linda said, "Hey, is that an otter?" Ed snapped this picture and they noticed that it was eating a frog! Over the next 15 minutes or so, the otter dove down, then re-appeared with various snacks.


What can be said about those lovely loons and their haunting cry.


There have been a number of sightings recently of several loons congregating together. Hank Vander Velde reported seeing a group of eight adult loons once about four weeks ago at the South end of the first Lake.

Linda Carew took the following picture from her dock on Ebbs Bay this morning, 28 July.


Many sightings of baby ducks with their mother can be seen around the lake during the spring and early summer.


The famous Blue Heron graces our shores quite often.


How about that beautiful mute swan that folks have seen around?


Submission Photos - from Patricia

Patricia took these turtle pictures last September off Knowlton Place by the lake. They put 44 babies in the water. They are waiting to see what happens this September as there are 2 nests that will hatch babies. In the spring, with all the flooding, they had ducks and muskrat swimming in their garden.

Bear Wise - by Charlie White

What You Should Know About Black Bears

Black bears are actively feeding from mid-April to late fall in most parts of the province. They feed mainly on summer berry crops such as raspberries and blueberries, as well as mountain ash acorns and beech nuts in the fall.

In late summer and early fall some bears actively feed for 20 hours a day, ingesting as much as 20,000 calories. (An adult human male consumes about 2,500 calories).

During the summer bears typically double their body weight while preparing for winter hibernation. If natural foods are not readily available, black bears will travel up to 100 km to find other food. Primarily your garbage!

Once they know where to find a non-natural food source they will return again and again. In northern Ontario, most black bears move into their winter dens by mid-October. In central Ontario, bears usually enter their dens by early November.

What Cottagers Can Do

IN AN IMMEDIATE EMERGENCY: contact your local police force or dial 911

TO REPORT BEAR PROBLEMS: contact the Bear Reporting Line at 1-866-514-BEAR (2327) (TTY) 705 945-7641

The Raccoon

Raccoons are among the most frequently encountered wild carnivores in many parts of Ontario. They are most often found near streams, lakes and ponds and favour woodlands. When Raccoons are seen, which is usually at night, they quickly bound away, effectively evading flashlight beams by slipping into burrows or climbing to tree retreats. Should their tree sanctuary be found, Raccoons remain still at a safe distance, waiting for the invasive experience to end.

One of the best-known characteristics of the Raccoon is its habit of dunking its food in water before eating it. It had long been thought that the Raccoon was washing its food but biologists now believe that a Raccoon’s sense of touch is enhanced by water, and that it is actually feeling for inedible bits to discard.

Long, cold winters are an ecological barrier to the dispersal of this animal, because it does not hibernate and SO requires year-round food availability. It may sleep for extended periods in parts of its range, but it still comes out on warmer nights.

The Raccoon fills the role of medium-sized omnivore in the food web. Besides eating fruits, nuts, berries and insects, it avidly eats clams, frogs, fish, eggs, young birds and rodents. Just as a bear does, the Raccoon consumes large amounts of food in autumn to build a large fat reserve that will help sustain it over winter.

Rabies, Distemper and The Mange

At one time, Ontario was known as the ‘Rabies Capital of North America’ due to the high number of rabid animals reported. Since 1992, the number of rabies cases has been reduced by 95% in part by rabies control and educational programs as set forth by the Ministry of Natural Resources.

Mississippi Lake has not been put on the High Risk Zone map, but be aware that we are situated just North of the zone which already encompasses Smith Falls and Kemptville.

The River Otter

With their streamlined bodies, rudder-like tails and webbed toes, river otters are well adapted for aquatic habitats. The large amounts of playtime they seem to have results from their efficiency at catching prey when it is plentiful. Although otters generally cruise along slowly in the water by paddling with all four feet, they can dart after prey with the ease of a seal whenever hunger strikes. Otters can hold their breath for as long as five minutes.

Year-round, river otters live primarily in or along wooded rivers, ponds and lakes. They may be active day or night but tend to be more nocturnal close to human activity. In winter, Northern River Otters are found on lakes with beaver lodges or on bog ponds with steep banks containing old beaver burrows, through which they can enter the water. The permanent den is often in a bank, with both underwater and above-water entrances. Also, riffles and waterfalls with pools provide important access to water in the winter. Crayfish, turtles, frogs and fish form the bulk of the diet, hut otters occasionally depredate bird nests and eat small mammals, such as mice, young Muskrats and young Beavers, and sometimes even insects and earthworms.

So keep your eyes open for these fun and playful creatures. They are really a joy to watch.

Features and Habitat

Marsh, Swamp, Hardwood Forest

The heart of the Mississippi Lake National Wildlife Area centres around the wetlands in McEwen Bay, where clear, brown water streams in from the Mississippi River. Muddy silt and debris support rich stands of wild rice, cattail and other plants, well sheltered by a peninsula and island at the mouth of the bay. The west side of the bay is an agricultural field where hay is grown. The open field, along with the wild rice, attracts thousands of grazing waterfowl each autumn. Along the rest of the shoreline, aquatic plants give way to flooded scrub thickets. Rising up to the rolling terrain of the uplands (higher ground) are many types of wooded habitats, from woody swamps to hardwood forest dotted with limestone outcrops.

Importance to Wildlife

Plants, birds, bugs, snakes and frogs

The small bay is one of the few natural areas left on the Mississippi Lake shoreline. The thousands of migrating waterfowl that use the lake during migration for staging (resting and feeding) take refuge in McEwen Bay. Many mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates take advantage of the plentiful habitats on the property. From spring through to autumn, songbirds such as orioles, warblers, vireos, thrushes and waxwings nest or stop in on migration. In spring and summer, the marshes provide some of the best habitat for bullfrogs in the region. The bay is also an important fish nursery, for spawning and shielding young fish in the vegetation.


Biodiversity represents the variety of all living things found in a given ecosystem. The list below highlights some of the key species that are a part of the ecosystem at this National Wildlife Area.

Birds include Ospreys, Great Blue Herons, Soras, Virginia Rails, Red-winged Blackbirds, American Bitterns, Belted Kingfishers

Waterfowl include Blue-winged Teals, Mallards, Black, Ring-billed and Wood Ducks

Mammals include White-tailed Deer, River Otters, Porcupines, Muskrats and small rodents such as voles and shrews

Reptiles include Snapping Turtles and Painted Turtles

Fish include Yellow Pickerel

Trees include willows, dogwoods, cedar, maples, elms and ash

Seasonal Highlights

Spring and autumn

Duck migration Songbird migration