Colin’s Out for Spring

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The Toronto Zoo Adopt-A-Pond Wetland Conservation Programme has been tracking a juvenile Blanding’s turtle named Colin since 2005. We have watched Colin grow up and he has become a real celebrity around the department. We have been tracking Colin with radio telemetry equipment and he has been staying in wetlands just east of the Toronto Zoo in Rouge Park. Colin is a pretty habitual guy; he has a small pond where he hibernates during the winter months and a much larger deeper pond that he moves to later during the spring and summer months. Colin is the only Blanding’s turtle that the Toronto Zoo Adopt-A-Pond program has been able to find and track since the conclusion of a research project which took place five years ago. Keeping an eye out for Colin’s emergence in the spring has been an annual sought after event!

This April, Adopt-A-Pond staff have been going out routinely to track Colin’s movement between ponds. The first several tracking days resulted in no visual observations of Colin but the Adopt-A-Pond team determined that Colin was somewhere in his hibernation pond, most likely buried beneath the muck. This past Wednesday, April 17, a team member from Adopt-A-Pond went out to track Colin. It was a beautiful sunny day; Painted turtles could be spotted basking on logs in ponds everywhere in the area. Approaching Colin’s hibernation pond, four Painted turtles could be seen basking on the log as could the bright yellow throat of a Blanding’s turtle. It was Colin! Colin was finally out and about basking in the sun and hanging out with other turtles from his pond. What a gorgeous day it was and what an awesome field day it was – excitement was shown amongst Adopt-A-Pond staff with talks of the celebrity spotting! We are all looking forward to seeing more of Colin this spring and summer!

You can help too by submitting your turtle sightings to Ontario Turtle Tally! If you see a turtle anywhere in Ontario submit its location using our online site. By signing up you will receive a free package of resources including a turtle poster, laminated ID guide and much more!  All data collected with help researchers track turtle populations, focus conservation efforts and protect Species at Risk turtles.turtle-tally-logo_cropped