As summer comes to an end you might be left wondering, where are they now? For many of our species the transition from summer to winter is a fascinating one. Some sleep in near freezing water, while some find a cozy bed in the dirt. To see how your favourite species overwinters, just scroll down to learn more. We will continue to update this page as more updates come in, so make sure to check back throughout the fall!

Eastern loggerhead shrike

The eastern loggerhead shrike has began its journey south! Since we do not have much data on where they end up, our team is excited to collect more information as they migrate past the border. Passing the north shore of Lake Ontario in the fall, by the end of September these birds will have crossed into New York and Pennsylvania, heading down inland off the east coast.

Working with our captive breeding program partners, WPC will continue our consultation work as the facilities continue to take care of our captive breeding population overwinter, and prepare for the breeding in spring.

When winter is over and spring is around the corner, our birds will be partnered up by genetic match and behavioural compatibility. Breeding will begin in May and juveniles will be transferred to release sites where WPC staff will prepare them for release!

Massasauga rattlesnake

Working with our partners’ captive breeding program, some captive snakes will be overwintered in artificial hibernacula. This hibernacula is an artificial hibernation chamber made of piping, and mimics a crayfish burrow where these snakes like to hibernate in the wild. WPC will check on the animals every two weeks with a camera scope, and collect important data, until they are ready to resurface in spring!


Our bumbles have began their overwintering journey in dirt! Since wild bumbles queens (gynes) typically overwinter in the ground, our team mimics this environment by placing the bees in tubes with soil. This soil is first sifted and autoclaved to kill any bacteria, viruses, or fungi that could harm the bees.

They are then placed in a fridge with an exact humidity and temperature, similar to the average household fridge. The process begins at the end of September and our team will continue to monitor our sleeping bumbles throughout the winter. Checking on them every 3-6 weeks, we take note of their weight and change out their soil.

These gynes will then be used in our lab next spring to start their very own colonies.

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