Wildlife Watching in Algonquin: I Spy with My Little Eye

Updated: Feb 15

What Animals Are in Algonquin?


Are there wolves? Will I see a moose? Do bears come through your site?


Just on the edge of Algonquin Park - home to 55 mammal species, 32 kinds of reptiles, and more than 140 species of birds - there is a lot of natural wonder and wildlife to experience.


We often get asked how to see animals in the park, and what kind of animals we see at Four Corners Algonquin.


The short answer is it’s all rather random, but we actually do see *all* of them at one point or another!

An Unforgettable Wildlife Experience - Guest Experience:

Here’s what one of our guests experienced during a 48 hour stay with us in 2021:

  • Saw a bald eagle

  • Heard the call of a loon

  • Watched a moose in the grasslands

  • Listened to a wolf pack hunting at night

  • Saw a shooting star

  • Watched meteors cross the sky

  • Glimpsed the Milky Way

*This guest went canoeing, hiked Algonquin’s trails and spent the nights stargazing at our blast site

A Quiet Retreat - Guest Experience:

No two guest experiences are the same here at Four Corners Algonquin, but there are steps you can take to increase the chances of having the experience you’re hoping for.

In this blog, we’re sharing info and intel on which animals you may encounter, how to have a safe and respectful experience with wildlife and how to create the wilderness adventure or retreat you’re hoping for.

Moose and Deer Sightings in Algonquin


Can you spot a Moose?

Algonquin is one of the best places in the world to spot a mosee. There isn’t a guarantee that you’ll see one of


the over 3,000 moose that live here in Algonquin Park, but anyone who has seen one will tell you it’s an unforgettable experience. If you’re hoping to encounter a moose here’s a few tips:

  • Keep your eyes open as you drive along Hwy60 - they are often spotted along the edges of the highway

  • Hike along the wetlands - try Spruce Bog Boardwalk and Mizzy Lake Trail

  • Go canoeing in the backcountry and bring binoculars


Nose to nose with a Deer

John personally came nose to nose with a full size doe (female) dear when he was out for a hike up on Granny’s cliff a couple years back. That’s the big hill at the back of the property at about 450m above sea level. Last year we had a visit by a doe and a fawn on two different occasions at Four Corners - visitors spotted them on the roads before they ran into the woods. We have also seen moose on our trail cameras that we have placed near our cabin. It’s rare, but keep an eye out - you might see one too!



What About Bears Near My Site?

The MNR says there is one black bear for every four square kilometres, so they are around for sure. We have taken images of them on our trail cams, and on very rare occasions, we have seen them in person. One night the lights from my vehicle scared one into the forest as I approached our cabin, and all I saw was his big hind end lumber off into the forest. We occasionally get reports from campers who hear snorting or pawing at night time, but it doesn’t happen often, and we have never had a confirmed camper sighting of a bear. We have no animals habituated to finding food on site, so there is no reason for them to stay, even if they do come. Although it’s always a possibility, my guess is that your chances of seeing a bear are probably better in the park than here at Four Corners.


If you’re worried about bears, we recommend checking out these black bear safety tips - and please do know, that we follow all of these guidelines strictly here at Four Corners.



Are there wolves in Algonquin?

Another unforgettable experience is hearing a wolf pack howl and hunt at night - something that our guests do commonly experience hearing here at Four Corners Algonquin.


We often see wolf tracks in the sand on our property and just as often you can hear them howling in the night if you listen in the wee hours of the morning (3-5amish). But it’s pretty rare to see one in person.


John tells my absolute favourite wolf story… he was talking with some campers staying in the Chickadee tent who were really hopeful about seeing a wolf. He explained where they might look and they had a great chat, after which the campers went to their tent and turned in for the night. No sooner had they parted ways than John turned around and saw a wolf walking toward him down the lane right past the Chickadee tent. But alas, there was no way to alert the campers in time to see the animal pass by.



Funny Racoon Stories and Sightings

Racoons are noisy little fellows. We had a trio who lived at a neighbours visit us every night at our little cabin in the woods for almost a whole season a while back. They came so often we named them the Three Amigos. They were noisy, really really messy, and so chubby that one actually lost his grip and fell out of a tree one night when we came out to see what the fuss was. The neighbour stopped feeding them, and since we take the garbage off site every night, they really had no reason to visit any more after that. But you may still see one on occasion.


While some campers may think that raccoons are a bit of a nuisance, with the right tips and attitude, these critters are usually more of a funny sight to see than anything else.



Birdwatching: Spotting Red-headed Woodpeckers


That familiar knocking sound almost always comes from our red-headed woodpecker friends. We see them all summer long here, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you hear or see them too. We have one that wakes us up every morning like clockwork at about 5am when he pecks on the steel STOP sign leading up to our cabin. You’d think he’d learn the hard way that steel is not good for his beak, but he doesn’t seem to mind.


Hearing the sound of a woodpecker is quite majestic. There are many beautiful birds to see in Algonquin and in South Algonquin. We recommend you bring binoculars and are ready to sit peacefully in the woods. Check out these bird watching tips from The Friends of Algonquin Provincial Park.



Campsite Chipmunks

We get a ton of chipmunks and you will see them, I almost guarantee it.


These little guys are the reason you can’t leave tissues lying around to burn later. They’ll steal them and drag them all over camp for nesting material. The good news, if you bring peanuts in shells with you, they’re so friendly you can coax them to eat right out of your hand. We discovered this personally about three summers ago. We called the little fellow Jacob Two-Two because he wouldn’t leave until you gave him two peanuts!



Go gobbling with our Wild Turkeys


Many of you who were here last year met Clifford - our resident wild male turkey. He struts around the fringes of the forest looking for food, usually in the cool of the morning. He has two females that follow him around and last year they produced babies, so there were about a dozen wild turkeys. You’ll have to look hard to see them though. Their camouflage is fantastic. While seeing a wild turkey might not be at the top of your list for must-see wildlife encounters, the joy, delight and laughter spotting these turkeys brings is well worth the sighting.



Rabbits

We seem to have an increasing number of rabbits living on the property. In the summer they’re brown and flecked and really blend in with the forest colours. But they’re not shy about coming out in the open. They won’t get close to you, but they’ll let you have a really good look as they hop around.



10 Wildlife Sighting Tips for Beginners


Regardless of the animal, bird or wildlife you’re hoping to see, there are some general tips to help you have an unforgettable, safe and respectful experience.


  1. Go wildlife watching in the evening or at dawn - these are the best times to see birds and animals

  2. Take binoculars - you won’t regret having these on hand

  3. Look for tracks. If you can’t see the real thing, look for evidence of their tracks in the sand.

  4. Take pictures - at a respectful distance - of what you see and input them into iNaturalist for possible identification. You might be surprised at what you find.

  5. Keep your eyes open while driving - both for wildlife sightings and to drive safely

  6. Explore the backcountry - go canoeing and hiking

  7. Stay still and silent - nature will come to you if you’re respectful and patient

  8. Talk to the locals - they often have the best tips for where to see animals

  9. Listen, really listen - you can often hear wildlife before you see them

  10. Think big and small - there is beauty all around us. Whether it’s a tiny snail, a toad, or a majestic moose - you can find joy all around you!


Interested in an other-worldly natural experience? Check out our stargazing guide! Our site is one of the best places in Canada to observe the night-sky.

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