Big Sky Ranch & Sarsaparilla Trail

This week is reading week at the university, so there are no classes for the undergrads and more free time for us grad students.  Today, I visited a place I have been hearing a lot about from my friend - the Big Sky Ranch Animal Sanctuary in Kemptville.  Big Sky Ranch is a place where animals (abandoned or unable to care for by their previous humans) are able to be adopted by new humans or to live permanently at this no-kill sanctuary.  The sanctuary is open to visitors most times of the year and is free of charge, but donation is definitely appreciated especially during the colder months when there are little to no visitors.  While my friend and I were walking around the sanctuary and enjoying the presence of all the animals, I cannot help but feel sad and angry at the people who would abandon their care for these animals.  But I am glad places like Big Sky Ranch exist and there are nice people who invest their time and money to improve the lives of these animals.  During our visit, all of the animals seemed to be well-cared for and their living conditions were clean and comfortable.

Here were some of the interesting animals we saw:

Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae)
Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae)

I had a scary memory of an Emu pecking my father's hand when I was very young and my family was visiting Australia, so I kept my distance away from these amazing but intimidating birds.

My friend letting a reindeer smelling her hand.

Cute pig.


An older kitty named Maggie.

Cute sheep
Handsome sheep.

A very pretty cow.

Horses (regular and miniature) and a donkey.


Pretty kitty
A beautiful kitty that followed us everywhere, even into the car as we were about to leave.

Pretty kitty

M with pretty kitty
The kitty enjoying a chin rub from my friend.

M with pretty kitty
Both my friend and the kitty looking into the distance.

There are many more animals in the sanctuary that I did not photograph (e.g., there are at least 25 cats living in the sanctuary, as well as a bison, many pigs, chickens, ducks, and more), so please considering helping out Big Sky Ranch by either volunteeringdonating, sponsoring an animal, or even adopting an animal.  Thank you!

After visiting Big Sky Ranch, we had a late lunch at my friend's place.  Then, my friend recommended visiting Sarsaparilla Trail, a well-known nature area in Ottawa but one that I couldn't really get to unless I have a car.  The whole day had been pretty chilly, so we only saw some few birds (chickadees, nuthatches, mallards, and some Hooded Mergansers).

M with chickadee
The Black-capped Chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) didn't really show up until we had seeds on our hands.

M with chickadees
Squawking chickadees.

Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)
Chickadee against an autumn background.

Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)
Hungry for seeds.

Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)
We saw some White-breasted Nuthatches around us, but only the Red-breasted Nuthatches (Sitta canadensis) came to my friend's hand for seeds.

Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)
The nuthatches are quite aggressive and will shoo away any chickadees trying to land on my friend's hand.

Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)
Such a pretty bird.

I want to thank my friend for introducing me to all these new things that are happening in my life.  They definitely make me a better person than before.

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