Say Hello to Spring Wildlife!

Spotted salamander walking on ground.

Species to Look For

A sure sign of spring is the fresh smell in the air, new buds on trees and the ground speckled with ephemeral plants. Another exciting sign of spring is the cute wildlife hiding behind spring foliage that often get overlooked!

There are eager local wildlife species that can’t wait to get outside and enjoy the new season. The following species can be found in early spring before many other species, so keep your eyes peeled on your next hike. Here’s who to look for:


Did you know there are nearly 400 bee species in Ontario? Right now you can see the unequal cellophane bee, which is a species native to Canada.

Bee resting on flower petals.
The Latin name of unequal cellophane bees is Colletes inaequalis.

This is one of the earliest spring bee species. They pollinate early flowering maple and willow trees. Cellophane bees are solitary unlike some well known bee and wasp species that nest together. Despite their solitary status, the bees tend to build their nests near one another. They nest in the ground and leave little sand piles at their doors… so watch where you step!

Small mound of dirt on forest floor.
Females dig long tunnels underground one to two feet in length.


While spring sometimes means there’s still snow on the ground, this doesn’t stop salamanders from getting in the spring spirit. Salamanders begin their annual migration in late March and April.

Salamander walking on the ground.
The spotted salamander’s main color is black, but can sometimes be a blueish-black, dark gray, dark green, or even dark brown.

On the first warm, rainy night of spring, thousands of salamanders leave their underground overwintering habitat and make the journey to their breeding pond. This annual mass migration is a natural phenomenon, known as the “big night.” Spotted salamanders can lay up to 300 eggs.

Cluster of salamander eggs in the palm of a hand.
The eggs are attached to vegetation in the water or rest on the bottom of the pond.


Beetles are the best. The winter firefly is one of the first beetle species you will see in spring. Although as eggs, larvae and pupae, they have the ability to glow, as adults, these fireflies don’t actually glow in the dark.

Beetle on a flower.
Adult fireflies eat nectar or pollen and many don’t eat at all.

They’re also called sap bucket beetles because they love maple sap and often end up in sap buckets. We don’t blame them!

Flower flies

Of the 7,000 fly species in Canada, the narrow-headed marsh fly is one of the first fly species you will see in spring.

Narrow--headed marsh fly on flower.
They have a shiny, orange, vertical stripe on the front on the face.

Their larvae, which grow underwater, are called rat tailed maggots. It may not be the cutest name you’ve ever heard, but flower flies are one of many important pollinators in our watershed.

For more tips on caring for your yard and the species that call it home, sign up for our monthly newsletter, The Garden Post.

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By Kimberley Laird, Associate, Marketing and Communications

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