North American Birds



Adam Capparelli, Andrew Keaveney, and Aaron Rusak, Regional Report Compilers

Ontario is Canada’s second largest and most populous province. It is the only Canadian province to border the Great Lakes, with shoreline along Lakes Superior, Huron, Erie, and Ontario. The largest freshwater island in the world, Manitoulin Island, is in the Ontario waters of Lake Huron; and Middle Island in Lake Erie is the southernmost point of land in Canada.

Ontario comprises three ecozones. The northernmost of these, the Hudson Bay Lowlands, is the core of the third largest wetland on Earth. The northern part of this ecozone is tundra, transitioning to boreal forest as one moves south. The middle and largest ecozone is the Ontario Shield, characterized by boreal forest and Precambrian bedrock. And the southernmost ecozone is the “Mixed-wood” Plains. This ecozone lies abuts the shores of the Great Lakes, as well as the St. Lawrence River. The bedrock of this area is predominantly limestone, sandstone, and shale, and is relatively flat, with the exception of numerous moraines and the Niagara Escarpment. This ecozone contains some of the most diverse flora and fauna in Canada and includes Carolinian forest, alvars, and tall-grass prairie.

Most of the province’s birding is concentrated in the southwest, where the majority of the population resides. Ontario birders have documented over 500 bird species, about 300 of which breed in the province. The sand spits of Point Pelee National Park, Rondeau Provincial Park, and Long Point Provincial Park are popular birding spots, as their location on major migratory flyways and on the north shore of Lake Erie make them excellent migrant and vagrant traps. In the summer, these locations host several rare Carolinian breeding species like Prothonotary Warbler and Acadian Flycatcher. In the north, the southern shore of James Bay is the most important staging area for southbound shorebirds in the province, as it is on a major migration route for more than 25 species.

The ABA gratefully acknowledges the contributions of Ontario Regional Report Compilers Adam Capparelli, Andrew Keaveney, and Aaron Rusak to promoting knowledge and understanding about the birdlife of the continent.

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