The Best of PEI Critter Coverage

The old adage “No news is good news” can usually be heard as a resigned sigh from any Islander just coming away from their mailbox. But as a place where no news tends to build up, reporting outlets like CBC PEI and The Guardian (and, maybe, yours truly) have to go that extra mile in finding content to fill their work day, and the result can end up being pretty fluffy. Recently a story with international flavor became the latest in the local medias’ feral features, stories that arrive fresh and bright and new only to get swept into the archive, never to be spoken of again. We here at Saako Vaal know you can’t just let good things die, so we’ve collected the best in PEI Critter Coverage, and depending on the type of person you are, it may have you lamenting the death of journalism or just giggling and feeling a bit warmer inside.

Lucy the Duck


Duck lays eggs at grocery store – Jun. 15th, 2011

Wild ducklings hatched at garden centre – Jun. 23rd, 2011

Lucy and her six ducklings now happily swimming in city pond – Jun. 25th, 2011

Duck, ducklings fly the coop at garden centre – Jun 26th, 2011

Lucy, brood of ducklings on the move – Jun. 28th, 2011

Yes, the story of Lucy the Duck and her eggs in the SuperStore Garden Centre became a proverbial saga that captured the hearts and minds of Islanders. For close to a month we were updated on the progress of Lucy who had made her home among the Spanish lavender and the dutiful efforts of the SuperStore staff to keep her safe from the poking and prying of the public. However, permeating the story was a choking tension over the duck’s inevitable fate at the hands of the very public that adored her.

“That’s part of arduous aspect because it’s a string of ducks, She will try to protect, anything that comes after her or after the chicks,” said Dan McAskill, the senior manager from the Forests, Fish and Wildlife division for the province.

“She’s still going to have to walk through all the traffic and everything else between there and a pond,” said McAskill.

The image of Lucy and her ducklings lined up like in some pellet gun carnival attraction and at the mercy of the treacherous traffic of University Avenue during the day was simply too much for some Islanders to handle, and a congress was quickly convened to identify potential areas to relocate the new family. However, ever the clever duck, Lucy stole away under the cover of darkness, ducklings in tow and aided by a local taxi driver, and made for the greener reeds of the pond behind the Farmer’s Market just across the street.

Since then Lucy’s exact location has been a mystery and reported sightings have been sporadic, some Islanders questioning whether such a perfect thing could ever have existed at all.

Guardian photographer Brian McInnis went looking for the duck family for a photo but was not able to find them near where staff member Nigel Armstrong had seen them off Allen Street.

However, though Lucy and her ducklings may now only exist in the warmer chambers of every Islander’s innards, her legacy of continuing the circle of life was reflected in the very coverage that shot her to such celebrity.

McInnis did find a family of foxes in a den near the Confederation Trail just metres away from where the duck family had been located a few hours earlier.

See his fox photo HERE.

See duck family video shot with iPhone HERE.

Comments from Islanders highlighted their wish to get away from the humbug aspects of small town rural life and explore more of the feathered fantasy aspects of small town rural life.


This is a great item. Good for Superstore employees doing this, protecting Lucy. Love these kind of good news stories. Hope everything goes well for Lucy and her little ones. She’s a great mom and I hope we’ll see a photo of little ones. Please follow this story. I want to read about a happy ending.

John MacInnis

It would be very interesting to read what the unknown angel did to help the mama duck and her six babies cross the road. If the mama duck’s instinct was to pack up and leave before dawn, did the person who helped know that, and was waiting for the mama duck to make her move ? I’d love to know how it all went down.

Other comments took a more critical angle on the story, pointing out how our corporate culture and the standardization of the Mass Market Experience has snuffed out the potential for such stories to even occur.


Ku Dos for sharing the world with our feathered friends as they need a place to call home as well. It is nice to see some one put nature ahead of the almighty dollar.
Thanks to the folks at the store for sharing our world.


“share the world ” too bad them corporate giants that destroy the wetlands dont see it that way….hope all goes ok for lucy…update story later please thanks.

One astute commentator roused the investigative reporter in him into action and hit at the story BEHIND the story.

Ground Zero

BTW, where is the father? Out galavanting around? Typical, eh! I bet you he’s trying to lay another duck!

Galavanting indeed.

Fox From Above


Fox living high life in crow’s nest at UPEI – Mar. 19th, 2012

Foxes are a common sight in Charlottetown and all its outlying communities, and there has been such a consistent issue with their increased comfort towards people that Islanders are routinely warned not to feed them, warnings that are just as routinely ignored. This infox into urban areas means that people are continually spotting foxes doing all sorts of foxy and un-foxy things, and one of their areas of previously unknown expertise appears to be in climbing.

When a fox made his home in a crow’s nest on the UPEI campus, the response was one of humble, zen-like acceptance.

“I think it’s kind of cool actually,” said Sandy Smith, who works in the UPEI garage.

“I’ve never heard of a fox climbing trees, but there he is.”

I mean, a fox could be in a tree right? Nothing is really stopping them from doing it other than their own ambition. And one has to question, if the fox has made his home in a crow’s nest, then where are the crows?

Crows in the area aren’t too pleased about the takeover, and every morning there’s a standoff between the fox and the crows, said staff.

A struggle between crows and foxes has the potential to turn sour, as any place where crows assemble is always an attempt at a murder. I’d have more sympathy for the crows if the fox wasn’t just the latest in a long series of usurpers to the crow throne.

It’s not the first time a mammal has taken over the nest. Last fall, squirrels made it their home.

If that story has you thinking ‘Where else could foxes be that I did not know they could be before?’, then Tony Kelly has the answer

Foxes make home on Charlottetown roof – Jan. 17th, 2011

This harrowing account, complete with photoset taken from a safe distance, details two foxes on a roof, someplace foxes have rarely been before, and doing it like they do on the Discovery Channel.

“Oh, it was quite the sight. Never seen anything like that in my life! I think they must have been trying to join the mile high club,” Kelly said with a laugh.

Mr. Kelly takes a couple of exhibitionists doing the dirty above his head all in good humor, but this development has left at least one wildlife expert internally divided.

It is unusual, however, to see foxes take up residence on a rooftop, Diblee said.

“It certainly is a very unusual situation, unique in some respects. I’ve never heard of it before, but it certainly can happen I guess,” he said.

But while it was explained how exactly the UPEI Tree Fox reached his perch, this more recent development is scant on details and has left some people feeling like there are a few too many loose ends.


How do they get on/off the roof? Inquiring minds want to know.

One commentator, who clearly has kept an eye on the Crow – Fox conflict, opines on the Fox’s strategic positioning.


How cute.
They probably realize that pigeons like to sun themselves on roofs, and are waiting for their lunch.
Maybe it’s a way to get rid of crows too?

And this commentator wants to know where exactly are these foxes even going.


I live close to this area and for the past seven years I see a red fox coming across our street at night, walking across our lot and heading for the green belt beyond. I also see red foxes at night crossing Beach Grove Rd. either coming from the river to Ellen’s Creek Plaza parking lot or going from there to the river. They also go behind Ellen’s Creek Plaza and then past Wenn’s Dentist Office?

When foxes are not climbing things to sleep, they appear to just perform the latter.

Fox takes a snooze in the snow – Feb 23rd, 2013

This mystery fox spotter simply isn’t as content as Mr. Kelly to leave them be and makes an advance on the fox’s held territory. However, identifying the spotter as a non-crow, the fox relinquishes his gains, only to return when it is improperly defended.

Naturally, everyone’s a critic.


This is groundbreaking stuff. Stay tuned for the story about the seagull eating a french fry and the crow picking around the garbage dumpster.

Fantastic Mr.Fox
I just moved out west for work and seeing this article makes me miss home even more.. PEI: where the biggest news stories in the last year were when Jimmy forgot to pick up milk on his way home from work and aunt Marie spotted a fox sleeping on the side of the road.

And this writer questions the thickness of this commentator’s clothing.


Looks healthy…

The Terrible Tribulations of Turkeys

Turkey Time – Dec 17th, 2012

Just in time for the holidays, this report from Kate McKenna provides great insight on how that lump of cold meat arrives in your freezer every year, and is matched with a haunting ambiance of gobbling throughout. It’s fitting, as what begins as a mild mannered report slowly turns into a widening gyre of morbidity and acts as a somber lense through which to view the careless immorality of the turkey, softened only by the nervous laughter of the two humans standing before the nameless field of poultry.

Besides nightmares, the report offers some good advice, such as “If somebody ever gives you a compliment that you’re smart as a turkey, don’t take it as a compliment.”, to check your barns every other day, and that a literal pecking order is the only law among turkeys.

The website also ensures that if you have no idea what in the seven hells the report is talking about, you can at least find out with a simple click.


Fluffy Rabbits.


Fuzzy rabbits a new tourist attraction – May 22nd, 2012

Melvin and Lorraine Gallant are problem solvers. The Evangeline couple were living with their rabbits, either brushing them for their wool or feeding them, when an epiphany occurred.

“We just find that there’s not enough for the tourists to do [in Evangline],” said Lorraine Gallant.

Realizing the opportunity they had, they set up something for tourists to do. Namely,

Visitors can book in for a two-hour experience where they will brush the wool from the rabbits, spin it, and make a craft.

If having your own bunny wool sweater isn’t an easy sell for you, then you probably haven’t read this far into an article about animals. Either way, beyond the universal attraction of fluffy rabbits, Melvin and Lorraine felt they had to take it one step further in the Aww scale.

The rabbits are all named for country music stars: Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift, Reba McIntyre.

“The first angora rabbit we bought we were on our way to a [rabbit] show, and it was country music on, so I decided to call them all after country singers,” said Gallant.

While I’m sure this is hilarious in just day to day operations, it has provided a pot of comedy gold for picture captions that read less like the care and handling of rabbits and more like future TMZ headlines.

-Melvin Gallant brushes wool from Tim McGraw.(Julia Cook/CBC)

-Taylor Swift just had a litter of seven bunnies. (Julia Cook/CBC)


However you feel about Critter Coverage, there will always be slow news days, and there will always be commentators and sites willing to read and write about Critter Coverage. Does that make it news? Maybe, maybe not, it is not our place to say. Here at Saako Vaal, it is our mind that any news is better than no news, and with that said, you can expect more news-worthy coverage from us as it happens. Stay tuned.

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