Bird Conservation Strategy for Bird Conservation Region 13

Bird Conservation Strategy for Bird Conservation Region 13
Bird Conservation Strategy for Bird Conservation Region 13
in Ontario Region: Lower Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Plain
July 2014
Cat. No.: CW66-318/4-2014E-PDF
ISBN 978-1-100-21070-4
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Preface
Environment Canada led the development of all-bird conservation strategies in each of
Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs) by drafting new strategies and integrating new and
existing strategies into an all-bird framework. These integrated all-bird conservation strategies
will serve as a basis for implementing bird conservation across Canada, and will also guide
Canadian support for conservation work in other countries important to Canada’s migratory
birds. Input to the strategies from Environment Canada’s conservation partners is as essential
as their collaboration in implementing their recommendations.
Environment Canada has developed national standards for strategies to ensure consistency of
approach across BCR. BCR strategies will provide the context from which specific
implementation plans can be developed for each BCR, building on the programs currently in
place through Joint Ventures or other partnerships. Landowners including Aboriginal peoples
will be consulted prior to implementation.
Conservation objectives and recommended actions from the conservation strategies will be
used as the biological basis to develop guidelines and Beneficial Management Practices that
support compliance with regulations under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994.
Furthermore, these strategies will guide conservation action in support of The State of Canada's
Birds 2012 (North American Bird Conservation Initiative 2012), which points to the strong
influence of human activity on bird populations, both positive and negative, and presents
solutions towards keeping common birds common and restoring populations that are in
decline.
Acknowledgements
Brigitte Collins and Paul Smith were the main authors of this document that follows templates
developed by Alaine Camfield, Judith Kennedy and Elsie Krebs with the help of the BCR planners
in each of the Canadian Wildlife Service regions throughout Canada. However, work of this
scope cannot be accomplished without the contribution of others who provided or validated
technical information, commented on draft versions of the strategy, produced maps and
supported the overall planning process. We would like to thank the following for their
contributions to this strategy: Gregor Beck, Graham Bryan, Mike Cadman, Alaine Camfield,
Lesley Carpenter, Britt Dupuis, Christian Friis, Krista Holmes, Jack Hughes, Judith Kennedy,
Sarah Mainguy, Shawn Meyer, Dave Moore, Jocelyn Neysmith, Marie-France Noel, Michele
Rodrick, Daniel Rokitnicki-Wojcik, Paul Watton, Chris Wedeles and D.V. Weseloh.
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Bird Conservation Strategy for Bird Conservation Region 13 in Ontario Region:
Lower Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Plain
Recommended citation:
Environment Canada. 2014. Bird Conservation Strategy for Bird Conservation Region 13 in
Ontario Region: Lower Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Plain. Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment
Canada, Ottawa, ON. 197 pp + appendices.
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Table of Contents
Preface ................................................................................................................................... i
Acknowledgements ................................................................................................................ i
Executive Summary ............................................................................................................... 1
Introduction: Bird Conservation Strategies............................................................................. 4
Context ........................................................................................................................................ 4
Strategy Structure ....................................................................................................................... 5
Characteristics of Bird Conservation Region 13: Lower Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Plain .......... 6
Section 1: Summary of Results – All Birds, All Habitats ......................................................... 12
Element 1: Priority Species Assessment ................................................................................... 12
Element 2: Habitats Important to Priority Species ................................................................... 19
Element 3: Population Objectives............................................................................................. 21
Element 4: Threat Assessment for Priority Species .................................................................. 23
Cumulative Effects of Threats to Priority Species ................................................................. 24
Element 5: Conservation Objectives ......................................................................................... 26
Element 6: Recommended Actions........................................................................................... 28
Section 2: Conservation Needs by Habitat ............................................................................ 30
Sustainable Development, Ecosystem Services and Resilience ............................................... 30
Habitat-specific Issues and Actions .......................................................................................... 31
Coniferous ............................................................................................................................. 31
Deciduous .............................................................................................................................. 32
Mixed Wood .......................................................................................................................... 45
Shrub and Early Successional ................................................................................................ 58
Herbaceous ........................................................................................................................... 68
Cultivated and Managed Areas ............................................................................................ 82
Bare Areas ............................................................................................................................. 99
Urban .................................................................................................................................. 111
Wetlands ............................................................................................................................. 120
Waterbodies ........................................................................................................................ 140
Riparian ............................................................................................................................... 153
Section 3: Additional Issues ............................................................................................... 165
Widespread Issues .................................................................................................................. 165
Collisions ............................................................................................................................. 165
Predation by Domestic Cats ................................................................................................ 168
Pollution .............................................................................................................................. 168
Climate Change ................................................................................................................... 177
Research and Population Monitoring Needs .......................................................................... 182
Population Monitoring ........................................................................................................ 182
Research .............................................................................................................................. 184
Threats Outside Canada .......................................................................................................... 186
Next Steps ......................................................................................................................... 189
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References ........................................................................................................................ 190
Appendix 1 ........................................................................................................................ 198
List of All Bird species occurring in BCR 13 Ontario ................................................................ 198
Appendix 2 ........................................................................................................................ 208
General Methodology for Compiling the six Standard Elements ........................................... 208
Element 1: Species Assessment to Identify Priority Species ................................................ 208
Element 2: Habitats Important to Priority Species ............................................................. 209
Element 3: Population Objectives for Priority Species ........................................................ 210
Element 4: Threat Assessment for Priority Species ............................................................. 213
Element 5: Conservation Objectives ................................................................................... 214
Element 6: Recommended Actions ..................................................................................... 215
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Executive Summary
The Lower Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Plain Bird Conservation Region 13 (BCR 13) covers an area
of 201,300 km2 across Ontario, Quebec and the United States (Ontario Partners in Flight 2008).
In Ontario, the region includes those areas lying between the Canadian Shield and the shores of
the Great Lakes. This conservation strategy for Ontario’s portion of BCR 13 (BCR 13 ON) builds
on existing bird conservation plans and complements those created for the other BCRs across
Canada. These strategies serve as a framework for implementing bird conservation nationally
and also identify international conservation issues for Canada’s priority bird species. This
strategy is not intended to be highly prescriptive, but rather is intended to guide future
implementation efforts undertaken by various partners and stakeholders.
Southern Ontario is the most populous region of Canada. Approximately one in three Canadians
lives here, and population growth continues to outpace that of the rest of the country. Humans
have had a profound and irreversible effect on the landscape in this region. Dense, old-growth
deciduous and mixed forests once covered 90% of the landscape but were reduced to only 10%
by 1920 as lands were cleared for agriculture. Wetlands and natural grasslands also suffered
substantial losses. Although agricultural lands still dominate BCR 13 ON, a trend towards
reforestation has benefitted some species, and efforts to restore and protect wetlands and
other habitat types are ongoing. Moreover, a number of unique natural habitats remain,
including Carolinian forests, alvars and the Frontenac Arch. Each of these habitats supports an
atypically high proportion of birds as well as species at risk. The coastal wetlands of the Great
Lakes also support a rich diversity of birds and offer critical staging habitat for shorebirds and
waterfowl en route to breeding and non-breeding areas scattered widely across the western
hemisphere.
Within BCR 13 ON, 280 species of birds regularly breed, overwinter, reside year-round or
routinely migrate through the region. 1 Of these, 97 were identified as priority species in this
BCR. All bird groups are represented on the priority species list, although the list is dominated
by landbirds (47%). This list also includes waterbirds (25%), waterfowl (17%) and shorebirds
(11%). More than two thirds of the waterbirds (77%) and almost half of the waterfowl (48%)
occurring in BCR 13 ON are identified as priority species, compared to 34% of the shorebirds
and only 25% of landbirds. Among the 97 priority species, 33 are assessed by the Committee on
the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada as “at risk,” 25 of which are listed under the federal
Species at Risk Act and 30 under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act 2007 at the time of writing
this strategy. In addition, 2 species are identified as being of management interest: the Eastern
Temperate-breeding population of Canada Goose and the Mute Swan.
Identifying the broad habitat requirements for each priority species within the BCR allows
species to be grouped by shared habitat-based conservation issues and actions. Priority species
1
Species occurrence was determined using Ontario’s Breeding Bird Atlas (Cadman et al. 2007), Birds of North
America online (Cornell Lab of Ornithology 2013) and expert opinion.
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are associated with 10 habitat types in BCR 13 ON. Wetlands are used by the greatest number
of priority species (40%), while forest (deciduous 12% and mixed 13%) and urban areas (6%) are
preferred habitat types for a smaller proportion of priority species. Herbaceous habitats (e.g.,
tallgrass prairie, savannah, alvar) are used by 23% of species, despite accounting for less than
1% of the region’s land cover and, by contrast, cultivated and managed areas are used by a
similar fraction of species (32%), though these habitat types dominate the landscape. The large
number of priority species using cultivated and managed habitats reflects the adaptation to
these human-influenced habitats and subsequent population increases by species that were
restricted to native herbaceous habitats prior to European settlement. The Great Lakes are a
prominent feature of the region, and the beaches, mudflats and other coastal “bare areas” are
used by 18% of priority species, while 21% use the waterbodies themselves.
The population objectives in this strategy are categorical and are based on a quantitative or
qualitative assessment of species’ population trends. Much of BCR 13 ON is well covered by
large-scale bird surveys, and in comparison to some other BCRs in Canada, the status of birds in
southern Ontario is relatively well known. For 24% of priority species, monitoring data suggest
declines with sufficient certainty to support an objective of increasing population size. In
contrast, populations are sufficiently elevated to warrant a reduction in population size for two
priority species: the Canada Goose, Eastern Temperate-breeding population and the Mute
Swan. Maintaining populations at current levels is the objective for 23% of the priority species
in BCR 13 ON (including most migrant waterfowl). Only 12% of priority species are assigned a
population objective of Assess/Maintain because monitoring data are insufficient to propose an
objective. A recovery objective is assigned to 30% of priority species, which are all species at
risk whose breeding range occurs within this BCR. Nine percent (9 %) of priority species are
identified as migrating through BCR 13 ON, including the federally and provincially endangered
Red Knot (rufa), and are not assigned an objective, as those are set in other BCR strategies
covering the breeding range of these species.
An assessment of threats identified a large number and diversity of conservation issues facing
priority species in the various habitats of BCR 13 ON. Major threats to priority species relate to
habitat loss and degradation from a variety of sources including urban development, biological
resource use, pollution and human disturbance. Given the presence of many species at risk in
this BCR, threats are both more numerous and of a greater magnitude than for other BCRs in
the province. Wide-ranging conservation issues such as climate change were considered
separately as widespread threats, given their effects on multiple species and habitats. The lack
of biological or demographic data for some priority species is also considered an important
conservation issue in this strategy.
Conservation objectives have been designed to address threats and information gaps facing
priority birds in the region. For BCR 13 ON, the majority of conservation objectives identified
relate to ensuring an adequate quantity and quality of habitat, such as ensuring that resource
and land use policies and practices maintain or improve bird habitat. Objectives seeking to
improve understanding of population declines as well as management of specific species are
also among those most frequently identified in BCR 13 ON. These objectives address the lack of
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information on the ecology and demographics of some priority species and the continued effort
to establish recovery strategies and management plans for species at risk.
Recommended actions identify activities that will help to achieve the conservation objectives
and thus mitigate threats to priority species. Actions are strategic rather than highly detailed
and prescriptive. Whenever possible, recommended actions benefit multiple species and/or
respond to more than one threat. Recognizing that a large majority of lands in the region are
privately owned, only a small proportion of the actions relate to the direct protection of land.
Instead, a majority of actions focus on habitat restoration and management for priority species
by engaging land owners and other stakeholders in conservation. Developing and implementing
effective policies and regulations, the development, use and promotion of Beneficial
Management Practices (BMPs), increasing awareness about conservation issues, developing
partnerships, determining factors causing population declines, and improving the scientific
knowledge that underlies management decisions all figure prominently in the suite of
conservation actions proposed for this region. Engaging stakeholders in actions that restore the
function and resilience of ecosystems in this highly impacted region ensures that conservation
successes can be maintained over the long term.
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Introduction: Bird Conservation Strategies
Context
This document is one of a suite of Bird Conservation Region (BCR) Strategies that have been
drafted by Environment Canada for all regions of Canada. These strategies respond to
Environment Canada’s need for integrated and clearly articulated bird conservation priorities
for birds in Canada to support the implementation of Canada’s migratory birds program, both
domestically and internationally. This suite of strategies builds on existing conservation plans
for the four “bird groups” (waterfowl, 2 waterbirds, 3 shorebirds4 and landbirds5) in most regions
of Canada, as well as on national and continental plans, and includes birds under
provincial/territorial jurisdiction. These new strategies also establish standard conservation
planning methods across Canada and fill gaps, as previous regional plans do not cover all areas
of Canada or all bird groups.
These strategies present a compendium of required actions based on the general philosophy of
achieving scientifically based desired population levels as promoted by the four pillar initiatives
of bird conservation. Desired population levels are not necessarily the same as minimum viable
or sustainable populations, but represent the state of the habitat/landscape at a time prior to
recent dramatic population declines in many species from threats known and unknown. The
threats identified in these strategies were compiled using currently available scientific
information and expert opinion. The corresponding conservation objectives and actions will
contribute to stabilizing populations at desired levels.
The BCR strategies are not highly prescriptive. In most cases, practitioners will need to consult
additional information sources at local scales to provide sufficient detail to implement the
recommendations of the strategies. Tools such as Beneficial Management Practices (BMPs) will
also be helpful in guiding implementation. Partners interested in participating in the
implementation of these strategies, such as those involved in the habitat Joint Ventures
established under the North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP), are familiar
with the type of detailed implementation planning required to coordinate and undertake onthe-ground activities.
2
NAWMP Plan Committee 2004
Milko et al. 2003
4
Donaldson et al. 2000
5
Rich et al. 2004
3
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Strategy Structure
Section 1 of this strategy presents general information about the BCR and the sub-region (i.e.,
Ontario’s portion of the BCR), with an overview of the six elements6 that provide a summary of
the state of bird conservation at the sub-regional level. Section 2 provides more detail on the
threats, objectives and actions for priority species grouped by each of the broad habitat types
in the sub-region. Section 3 presents additional widespread conservation issues that are not
specific to a particular habitat or were not captured by the threat assessment for individual
species, as well as research and monitoring needs, and threats to migratory birds while they are
outside of Canada. The approach and methodology are summarized in the appendices, but
details are available in a separate document (Kennedy et al. 2012). A national database houses
all the underlying information summarized in this strategy and is available from Environment
Canada.
6
The six elements are: Element 1 – priority species assessment; Element 2 – habitats important to priority species;
Element 3 – population objectives; Element 4 – threat assessment; Element 5 – conservation objectives; Element 6
– recommended actions.
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Characteristics of Bird Conservation Region 13: Lower Great Lakes/St. Lawrence
Plain
The Lower Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Plain Bird Conservation Region, BCR 13, extends across
southern Ontario and southwestern Quebec, as well as the northern United States from Ohio to
Vermont. The region encompasses a total area of 201,300 km2, with the largest portion in
Ontario (84,500 km2 or 42%; Ontario Partners In Flight 2008; Fig. 1). Located in the
southernmost portion of the province, and of Canada, BCR 13 Ontario (BCR 13 ON) is unique
both in terms of physiography and biodiversity. The habitats along the northern boundary of
the BCR reflect the transition between the sedimentary rocks and glacial till in the south of the
province and the igneous bedrock of the Canadian Shield to the north (Fig. 2). Mixed forest
dominates the transitional landscape, and agriculture is limited in comparison to elsewhere in
the region. Farther south, glacial till and plains of limestone, clay or sand predominate. Glacial
features such as drumlins and moraines occur throughout the region, and because they have
poorer soils or challenging topography, they are often less intensively farmed and support more
natural habitats. However, much of BCR 13 ON has deep, fertile soil, and intensive farming is a
dominant feature of the landscape. Indeed, nearly 60% of the region is classified as cultivated
or managed land (Table 1). Still, despite this heavily altered state, BCR 13 ON continues to offer
a variety of unique natural habitats.
Figure 1. Map of Boundary Changes to BCR 13 ON: Lower Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Plain.
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For conservation planning purposes, the original Ontario BCR boundaries (as defined by the North
American Bird Conservation Initiative) have been slightly modified to align with the Ontario Ministry of
Natural Resources Ecodistrict boundaries 7.
Figure 2. Map of habitat types in BCR 13 ON.
Note: Riparian habitat areas are not depicted on this map because they represent a “zone” and are not a true land
cover/land use class. A map depicting the extent of derived riparian areas for illustration purposes can be found in
the Riparian section of this strategy.
7
Ecodistrict 6E-17 has been moved from BCR 12 and included in BCR 13, which results in Cockburn and St. Joseph
Islands being included in BCR 13.
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Table 1. Major categories of land cover in BCR 13 ON and their proportions on the landscape.
Table 1 continued
BCR Habitat Class 1
Provincial Land Cover
(PLC 27) Class(es)
SOLRIS v1.2 Land
Cover/Land Use Class(es)
Area (ha)
Percent of
Total Area
322,782
3.79%
730,085
8.59%
Coniferous Forest
Forest – Dense Coniferous
Deciduous Forest
Forest – Dense Deciduous
Forest – Sparse
Coniferous Forest
Plantations – Tree
Cultivation
Deciduous Forest
Forest
Forest – Dense Mixed
Mixed Forest
378,203
4.45%
Shrub/Early
Successional
Forest Depletion – Cuts
Forest Depletion – Burns
Forest – Regenerating
Depletion
Tallgrass Woodland,
Treed Sand Barren and
Dune,
> 25% vegetated Shoreline
1,839
0.02%
Herbaceous
Agriculture –
Pasture/Abandoned
fields
Open Tallgrass Prairie,
Tallgrass Savannah
Alvar
58,271
0.68%
4,974,029
58.53%
45,528
0.54%
668,898
7.87%
Swamp,
Fen,
Bog,
Marsh
1,069,538
12.59%
Open Water
246,932
2.91%
77,614
N/A
Mixed Wood Forest
Cultivated/Managed
Areas
Agriculture - Cropland
Bare Areas
Sand/Gravel/Mine Tailings,
Bedrock
Urban
Settlement/Infrastructure
Wetlands
2
Waterbodies
Riparian
4
3
Marsh – Inland,
Swamp – Deciduous,
Swamp – Coniferous,
Fen – Open,
Fen – Treed,
Bog – Open,
Bog – Treed
Water – Deep clear,
Water –
Shallow/Sedimented
Hedge Rows,
Undifferentiated
Open Shoreline,
Open Sand Barren and
Dune,
Extraction, Open Cliff and
Talus
Transportation,
Built-up area pervious,
Built-up area impervious
30 m inland from shoreline
1
BCR Habitat Classes are based on the United Nations international Land Cover Classification System (LCCS).
Coastal wetlands are not differentiated at the resolution of Provincial Land Cover data.
3
The area of waterbodies does not include the open waters of the Great Lakes. The area includes inland
waterbodies only.
4
Riparian areas are not included in the total area, as they are “zones” and do not represent a true provincial land
cover class.
2
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Table 1 continued
BCR Habitat Class 1
Unknown
Provincial Land Cover
(PLC 27) Class(es)
SOLRIS v1.2 Land
Cover/Land Use Class(es)
Unknown, Cloud/shadow
Total Area
Area (ha)
Percent of
Total Area
2,175
0.03%
8,498,280
100%
Data Source: Lower Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Plain – SOLRIS v1.2 (2000–2002 image data)
Manitoulin and North Channel Islands – Provincial Land Cover 27 (Spectranalysis Inc. 2004)
In several areas of the BCR, including Napanee, Manitoulin Island and the Carden Plain, thin
soils over limestone support a sparsely vegetated habitat known as alvar, a globally rare
ecosystem (Brownell and Riley 2000). In the southern extent of the region, Canada’s most
southerly area, unique Carolinian forests support a high diversity of bird species including an
atypically high proportion of species at risk (Ontario Partners in Flight 2008). The eastern
portion of BCR 13 ON holds a unique landscape that is recognized as 1 of only 13 UNESCO
World Biosphere Reserves in Canada: the Frontenac Axis (or Frontenac Arch) is a ridge of
Precambrian rock that connects the Canadian Shield of the Algonquin Highlands to the
Adirondack Mountains of New York. This 50 km long ridge is home to a unique assemblage of
species, including highly diverse herpetofauna and uncommon birds such as the Least Bittern
and Cerulean Warbler.
However, high species richness is not limited to these unique habitats. BCR 13 ON as a whole
supports among the greatest diversity of breeding landbirds of any region in Canada (Rich et al.
2004) and offers important breeding habitat for a wide diversity of waterfowl, shorebirds and
waterbirds. Species richness is greatest where there is a mixture of forest, wetlands and
grasslands, found near the edge of the Canadian Shield in this region (Mike Cadman, pers.
comm. 2012). The region is also of critical importance to birds during migration. The coastal
wetlands, beaches and near-shore waters of the Great Lakes are key migratory stopovers for
many waterfowl, shorebirds and waterbirds, and many landbirds congregate at locations such
as Presqu’ile, Long Point and Point Pelee before continuing over the Great Lakes on their way
south to complete their migration. There is also an atypically high proportion of species at risk,
due in part to BCR 13 ON’s position at Canada’s most southerly latitudes, thus at the northern
edge of some species’ ranges. However, it also reflects the profound influence that humans
have had, and continue to have, on the landscape in this region.
The land cover of BCR 13 ON prior to European settlement bears little resemblance to that
which we see today. In the early 19th century, as much as 90% of southern Ontario was
covered with deciduous forest and mixed woodlands, perhaps 5% was open habitats such as
natural tallgrass prairie, alvar, marsh and savannah (Larson et al. 1999), and perhaps 25% of the
region was wetlands (including forested swamps; Snell 1987). Clearing of land and drainage of
wetlands for agriculture was widespread and intensive, and estimates suggest a maximum loss
of 94% of the region’s original upland forest (Larson et al. 1999), 97% of the native prairie and
savannah habitats (Rodger 1998), and 68% of wetlands (Snell 1987) at various points in the 20th
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century. Although still radically different from the historic land cover, current conditions reflect
a recent trend towards reforestation. In 2000, 17% of the land cover was forested, wetlands
comprised 13% of the region’s area and less than 1% of the region supports natural open
habitats (Fig. 2, Table 1). At that time, more than half of the region’s land cover supported
agriculture, and a majority of the other habitats were either human-made or managed for a
variety of uses.
Not surprisingly, these massive changes in habitats in BCR 13 ON have had drastic impacts on
the region’s avifauna. Grassland birds benefitted significantly from the widespread clearing of
forest in the 19th century, but many have since declined due to changing land management
practices, reforestation and a variety of other threats discussed in this strategy. In contrast,
forest bird population show increasing population trends in the region, as evidenced by a 31%
increase in counts of many but not all forest birds in the Breeding Bird Survey, 1968–1977 vs.
2001–2003, presumably in response to increases in forest cover in parts of the BCR sub-region
(Ontario Partners In Flight 2008). Other trends in bird abundance, such as a decline of up to
75% in counts of migrant shorebirds at stopover sites throughout southern Ontario (Ross et al.
2012), may have little to do with habitat change in BCR 13 ON (many of the key stopovers are
protected areas) and instead could relate to changing conditions on the breeding grounds or
elsewhere in the non-breeding range. Still other trends in bird abundance in the region, such as
a general decline in aerial insectivores, remain poorly understood (Ontario Partners In Flight
2008).
BCR 13 ON features a number of areas that are protected, including 9 National Wildlife Areas
and 6 Migratory Bird Sanctuaries totalling 9,985 hectares (Protected Areas Network 2013) that
are maintained by Environment Canada’s Canadian Wildlife Service (Fig. 3). A network of
national and provincial parks, provincial wildlife areas, conservation reserves, and locally
managed working forests (e.g., Conservation Authority and county forests) also contributes to
the conservation of birds and wildlife in the BCR. As of 2013, 48 Important Bird Areas (IBA
Canada 2013) have been identified in BCR 13 ON, as well as 6 Wetlands of International
Importance under the 1981 Ramsar Convention.
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Figure 3. Map of protected areas BCR 13 ON.
Conservation efforts in BCR 13 ON must recognize that a landscape dominated by humans is the
reality for this region. Despite its small size, roughly a third of the Canadian population inhabits
the region, and population growth here continues to outpace that elsewhere in the province
(Ontario Ministry of Finance 2010). Growth has been, and continues to be, accommodated
through urban development, which has often resulted in loss of habitats and ecological
functions. The ecological functions found in intact or restored migratory bird habitats, such as
forests and wetlands, provide ecological goods and services to the growing human population.
The economic value of these ecosystem services, from natural purification of water to control
of erosion or insect pests, is increasingly recognized by both governments and the public. The
concept of maintaining ecosystem services through sustainable development is widely
promoted, and this increased awareness may offer new opportunities for conservation of birds
and their habitats.
Approximately 90 % of all lands in Southern Ontario are privately owned (Ontario Partners In
Flight 2008). Thus, implementation of conservation actions depends heavily on the involvement
of private landowners. Conservation of birds on private lands, and in particular lands that are in
most cases managed for a variety of human uses, is a substantial challenge involving numerous
stakeholders. Yet, significant progress has been made through stewardship programs, adoption
of BMPs, municipal and provincial land use plans, strategic protection of lands by
environmental non-governmental organizations, the contribution of conservation authorities
working with local communities, and the efforts of partnerships such as the Eastern Habitat
Joint Venture. Accordingly, implementation of the actions suggested in this strategy could only
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be accomplished through a broad partnership of governments and stakeholders pursuing a
common goal of biodiversity conservation in BCR 13 ON.
Section 1: Summary of Results – All Birds, All Habitats
Element 1: Priority Species Assessment
These Bird Conservation Strategies identify “priority species” from all regularly occurring bird
species in each BCR sub-region (see Appendix 1). Species that are vulnerable due to population
size, distribution, population trend, abundance and threats are included as priorities because of
their “conservation concern.” Some widely distributed and abundant “stewardship” species are
also included. Stewardship species are included because they typify the national or regional
avifauna and/or because they have a large proportion of their range and/or continental
population in the sub-region; many of these species have some conservation concern, while
others may not require specific conservation effort at this time. Species of management
concern are also included as priority species when they are at (or above) their desired
population objectives and require ongoing management because of their socio-economic
importance as game species or because of their impacts on other species or habitats (see
Appendix 2).
In Ontario, significant efforts to define priority species have already been undertaken for
shorebirds, waterbirds, waterfowl and landbirds. The results of these bird group-specific
planning efforts form the foundation of this integrated bird priority species list for BCR 13 ON.
Birds identified as priority species in previous BCR 13 conservation plans were in general
included as priority species. These priority species lists were drawn from Ontario Partners in
Flight (2008) for landbirds, the North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP Plan
Committee 2004) and the Ontario Eastern Habitat Joint Venture Implementation Plan (2007)
for waterfowl, the Ontario Waterbird Conservation Plan (Zeran et al. unpubl.) for waterbirds
and from the Ontario Shorebird Conservation Plan (Ross et al. 2003) for shorebirds. In addition,
species that occur regularly within the BCR and have been assessed by the Committee on the
Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), listed on Schedule 1 of the federal Species
at Risk Act (SARA) or included on the Species at Risk in Ontario list (SARO; Ontario Ministry of
Natural Resources 2013a) in the categories of Endangered, Threatened or Special Concern were
added, current to November 2013. Further details on priority species assessment are found in
Appendix 2.
The purpose of the prioritization exercise is to focus implementation efforts on the species and
issues of greatest significance to Ontario’s avifauna. As with any priority-setting exercise, some
important species may be excluded; however, the issues of importance to any excluded species
are usually captured by addressing the threats identified for species that are included on the
priority list. With this in mind, species present in the region only as migrants were included as
priority species only when their inclusion introduced new regional conservation issues, such as
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
P a g e | 13
for the protection of migratory staging sites. Otherwise, the BCR 13 ON strategy relies on
conservation actions arising from threats to other priority species to address more general
conservation concerns for migrants.
In all, 280 species of birds occur regularly in BCR 13 ON, 97 of which were assessed as priority
species (Table 2) with representatives from all four bird groups. Landbirds show the greatest
diversity in BCR 13 ON, representing nearly 66% of the candidate species list (Table 3). Many
landbird species are uncommon or non-breeders in the region, and only 25% of them were
assigned priority status. Still, landbirds contributed the greatest number of species to the
priority list (46 species or 47%; Table 3). In contrast, more than two-thirds of the waterbirds
present within the region were assigned priority status, contributing 24 species (25%) to the
priority list. The diversity of breeding shorebirds and waterfowl in the region is low in
comparison to landbirds. These groups contribute 11 and 16 species, respectively, to the
priority species list, including a number present only as migrants (Table 2). Among the 97
priority species, 33 are assessed as “at risk” by COSEWIC; 25 are listed on Schedule 1 of the
federal SARA, and 30 are included on the SARO list (Table 4).
Table 2. Priority species in BCR 13 ON, population objective and reasons for priority status.
Y
National/Continental
Stewardship
Regional/Sub-regional
4
Concern
E
National/Continental
Concern
3
SARO
Population Objective
COSEWIC
Priority Species
Regional/Sub-regional
5
Stewardship
2
E
1
SARA
Note: All assessments, listings and designations are current to November 2013. A species can be on the priority list
for more than one reason.
Table 2 continued
Y
Y
Landbirds
Acadian Flycatcher
Recovery objective
American Kestrel
Maintain current
Bald Eagle
Recovery objective
Baltimore Oriole
Maintain current
Bank Swallow
Increase
E
Y
6
SC
Y
Y
Y
T
Y
1
Assessed by COSEWIC as E, Endangered; T, Threatened; SC, Special Concern.
Species listed on Schedule 1 of SARA as E, Endangered; T, Threatened; SC, Special Concern (Species at Risk Public
Registry 2013).
3
Species listed as E, Endangered; T, Threatened; SC, Special Concern on the SARO List.
4
Regional refers to BCR-wide (i.e., all jurisdictional data were used for the entire BCR) while sub-regional refers to
the Ontario portion of the BCR only (i.e., Ontario BCR data were used).
5
Only the landbird group distinguishes stewardship species from other priority species (see Panjabi et al. 2005)
6
This species is listed under the federal SARA and/or the provincial Endangered Species Act 2007, but its federal
and/or provincial recovery documents have not yet been finalized.
2
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July 2014
P a g e | 14
Y
T
Y
Recovery objective
E
Barn Swallow
Recovery objective
T
Belted Kingfisher
Increase
Y
Black-billed Cuckoo
Increase
Y
Blue-winged Warbler
Maintain current
Y
Bobolink
Recovery objective
Brown Thrasher
Increase
Canada Warbler
Recovery objective
Cerulean Warbler
Recovery objective
Chimney Swift
Recovery objective
Common Nighthawk
Recovery objective
Eastern Kingbird
Increase
Eastern Meadowlark
Recovery objective
Eastern Towhee
Increase
Eastern Whip-poor-will
Recovery objective
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Increase
Field Sparrow
Increase
Golden-winged
Warbler
Recovery objective
Grasshopper Sparrow
Increase
SC
Henslow's Sparrow
Recovery objective
E
Hooded Warbler
Recovery objective
Kirtland's Warbler
Recovery objective
E
E
Loggerhead Shrike
(migrans)
Recovery objective
E
Louisiana Waterthrush
Recovery objective
SC
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
T
T
Y
National/Continental
Stewardship
Regional/Sub-regional
4
Concern
E
Barn Owl
National/Continental
Concern
3
SARO
Population Objective
COSEWIC
Priority Species
Regional/Sub-regional
5
Stewardship
2
E
1
SARA
Table 2 continued
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
6
Y
T
T
SC
Y
Y
E
SC
T
Y
Y
6
T
T
T
Y
Y
6
T
T
SC
Y
Y
Y
T
6
T
T
T
T
SC
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
6
T
T
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
E
Y
Y
E
E
Y
Y
SC
SC
Y
Y
E
SC
E
T
July 2014
Y
Y
Y
P a g e | 15
E
Y
Recovery objective
Northern Flicker
Increase
Y
Northern Harrier
Maintain current
Y
Northern Roughwinged Swallow
Increase
Y
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Recovery objective
Peregrine Falcon
(anatum/tundrius)
Recovery objective
Prairie Warbler
Assess/Maintain
Prothonotary Warbler
Recovery objective
Purple Martin
Increase
Red-headed
Woodpecker
Recovery objective
Red-shouldered Hawk
Assess/Maintain
Rose-breasted
Grosbeak
Maintain current
Savannah Sparrow
Increase
Short-eared Owl
Recovery objective
Vesper Sparrow
Increase
Wood Thrush
Maintain current
T
Yellow-breasted Chat
(virens)
Recovery objective
E
6
E
Y
T
T
SC
Y
Y
SC
SC
SC
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
E
E
E
Y
6
T
T
SC
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
6
SC
SC
SC
Y
Y
Y
SC
E
Y
Y
Y
Y
Shorebirds
American
Golden-Plover
Migrant (no BCR 13-ON
population objective)
Y
Y
American Woodcock
Increase
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Buff-breasted
Sandpiper
Migrant (no BCR 13-ON
population objective)
Migrant (no BCR 13-ON
population objective)
Killdeer
Increase
Piping Plover
Recovery objective
Black-bellied Plover
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
National/Continental
Stewardship
Regional/Sub-regional
4
Concern
6
Northern Bobwhite
National/Continental
Concern
3
SARO
Population Objective
COSEWIC
Priority Species
Regional/Sub-regional
5
Stewardship
2
E
1
SARA
Table 2 continued
SC
E
E
E
July 2014
P a g e | 16
Y
National/Continental
Stewardship
Regional/Sub-regional
4
Concern
E
National/Continental
Concern
3
SARO
Population Objective
COSEWIC
Priority Species
Regional/Sub-regional
5
Stewardship
2
E
1
SARA
Table 2 continued
(circumcinctus)
Semipalmated
Sandpiper
Migrant (no BCR 13-ON
population objective)
Migrant (no BCR 13-ON
population objective)
Spotted Sandpiper
Increase
Y
Upland Sandpiper
Increase
Y
Wilson's Snipe
Assess/Maintain
Y
American Bittern
Assess/Maintain
Y
American Coot
Increase
Y
Black Tern
Recovery objective
Black-crowned
Night-Heron
Assess/Maintain
Y
Bonaparte's Gull
Migrant (no BCR 13-ON
population objective)
Y
Caspian Tern
Maintain current
Y
Common Gallinule
Assess/Maintain
Y
Common Loon
Maintain current
Y
Y
Common Tern
Increase
Y
Y
Forster's Tern
Assess/Maintain
Y
Y
Great Black-backed
Gull
Maintain current
Y
Great Blue Heron
Maintain current
Y
Great Egret
Maintain current
Y
Green Heron
Increase
Y
Horned Grebe
(western population)
Migrant (no BCR 13-ON
population objective)
SC
King Rail
Recovery objective
E
Least Bittern
Recovery objective
T
Red Knot (rufa)
E
Y
Y
Y
Y
Waterbirds
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
SC
Y
Y
Y
Y
SC
Y
Y
E
E
Y
Y
T
T
Y
Y
July 2014
P a g e | 17
Little Gull
Migrant (no BCR 13-ON
population objective)
Y
Pied-billed Grebe
Maintain current
Y
Red-necked Grebe
Assess/Maintain
Y
Sandhill Crane
Assess/Maintain
Y
Sora
Assess/Maintain
Y
Y
Virginia Rail
Maintain current
Y
Y
Yellow Rail
Recovery objective
Y
Y
SC
SC
SC
National/Continental
Stewardship
National/Continental
Concern
Regional/Sub-regional
5
Stewardship
3
SARO
Regional/Sub-regional
4
Concern
2
Population Objective
SARA
Priority Species
COSEWIC
1
Table 2 continued
Y
Waterfowl
American Black Duck
Maintain current
Y
Y
Blue-winged Teal
Increase
Y
Y
Canada Goose
(Southern James Bay)
Migrant (no BCR 13-ON
population objective)
Y
Y
Canada Goose
(Temperate-breeding
in Eastern Canada)
Decrease
Canvasback
Maintain current
Y
Y
Common Goldeneye
Maintain current
Y
Y
Common Merganser
Maintain current
Y
Green-winged Teal
Maintain current
Y
Lesser Scaup
Assess/Maintain
Y
Y
Long-tailed Duck
Assess/Maintain
Y
Y
Mallard
Maintain current
Y
Y
Mute Swan
Decrease
Redhead
Maintain current
Y
Ring-necked Duck
Maintain current
Y
7
8
8
Y
Y
Y
7
Population objectives for migrant waterfowl are based on spring and fall staging surveys of the Great Lakes with
the exception of the Southern James Bay Population of Canada Geese.
8
A species of management interest due to its high abundance.
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July 2014
P a g e | 18
Tundra Swan
Maintain current
Y
Wood Duck
Increase
Y
National/Continental
Stewardship
National/Continental
Concern
Regional/Sub-regional
5
Stewardship
3
SARO
Regional/Sub-regional
4
Concern
2
Population Objective
SARA
Priority Species
COSEWIC
1
Table 2 continued
Table 3. Summary of priority species, by bird group, in BCR 13 ON.
Number of
Species
Percent of
Total Number
of Species
Number of
Priority Species
Percent Listed
as Priority by
Bird Group
Percent of Total
Number of
Priority Species
Landbird
184
66%
46
25%
47%
Shorebird
32
11%
11
34%
11%
Waterbird
31
11%
24
77%
25%
Waterfowl
33
12%
16
48%
17%
Total
280
100%
97
-
100%
Bird Group
Table 4. Number of priority species in BCR 13 ON by reason for priority status.
Note: All assessments, listings and designations are current to November 2013.
Priority Listing
Landbird
Shorebird
Waterbird
Waterfowl
26
3
4
0
3
20
2
3
0
4
23
2
5
0
26
9
13
9
8
N/A
N/A
N/A
COSEWIC
SARA
1
SARO
2
National/Continental Concern
National/Continental Stewardship
5
1
A single species can be on the priority list for more than one reason.
Assessed by COSEWIC as Endangered, Threatened or Special Concern.
3
Species listed on Schedule 1 of SARA as Endangered, Threatened or Special Concern.
4
Species listed as Endangered, Threatened or Special Concern on the SARO List.
5
Only the landbird group distinguishes stewardship species from other priority species (see Panjabi et al. 2005).
2
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July 2014
P a g e | 19
Regional/Sub-regional Concern
6
Regional/Sub-regional Stewardship
Management Interest
7
44
11
24
16
4
N/A
N/A
N/A
0
0
0
2
Element 2: Habitats Important to Priority Species
Identifying the broad habitat requirements for each priority species within the BCR allowed
species to be grouped by shared habitat-based conservation issues and actions (see Appendix 2
for details on how species were assigned to standard habitat categories). If many priority
species associated with the same habitat face similar conservation issues, then conservation
action in that habitat may support populations of several priority species. BCR strategies use a
modified version of the standard land cover classes developed by the United Nations (Food and
Agriculture Organization 2000) to categorize habitats, and species were often assigned to more
than one habitat class. In BCR 13 ON, two data sets were used to derive the extent of available
BCR habitats. The Southern Ontario Land Resource Information System (SOLRIS) version 1.2
released April 2008 provides a comprehensive land cover/land use inventory of southern
Ontario’s natural, rural and urban areas (OMNR 2008b). SOLRIS follows a standardized
approach for ecosystem description, inventory and interpretation known as Ecological Land
Classification (Lee et al. 1998) and covers the majority of the BCR. Provincial land cover (PLC)
data were used to fill the information gaps for Manitoulin and North Channel Islands. PLC 27 is
an Ontario land cover classification system produced wholly from satellite remote sensing data
by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. It provides a classification of 27 broad land cover
types for the province of Ontario north of the southern border of the Canadian Shield and
reflects the nature of the land surface rather than the land use (Spectranalysis Inc., 2004).
Priority species used many different habitats, with wetlands most heavily used (40% of species;
Fig. 4). Although wetlands represent only 13% of land cover, prior to European settlement
wetlands (greater than 10 ha) covered perhaps 25% or more of the region (Ducks Unlimited
Canada 2010). The high number of wetland-associated priority species reflects the ongoing
pressure on this important habitat. Similarly, herbaceous habitats (e.g., tallgrass prairie,
savannah, alvar) were used by 23% of species, despite accounting for less than 1% of the
region’s land cover, whereas cultivated and managed areas used by a similar fraction of species
(32%) dominate the landscape. The populations of many priority species that had been
restricted to native herbaceous habitats prior to European settlement flourished as they
adapted to the cultivated and managed land that became available. The large number of
priority species using these two habitat classes is due to alarming population declines as highquality open country such as native and managed grasslands is lost or degraded.
6
Regional refers to BCR-wide (i.e., all jurisdictional data were used for the entire BCR) while sub-regional refers to
the Ontario portion of the BCR only (i.e., Ontario BCR data were used).
7
A species of management interest due to its high abundance.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
P a g e | 20
The Great Lakes are a prominent feature of the region, and the beaches, mudflats and other
coastal “bare areas” were used by 18% of species, while 21% used the waterbodies themselves
(Great Lakes and inland waterbodies) (Fig. 4). The two forested habitats were used by 12%
(deciduous) and 13% (mixed wood) of priority species. Although the diversity of landbirds can
be high in the forests of BCR 13 ON, many of these species were not identified as priorities.
Forest cover has actually increased in BCR 13 ON over the last 70 years (Riley and Mohr 1994;
Ontario Partners in Flight 2008) and populations of many but not all forest bird species show
stable or increasing trends over the last 40 years (Environment Canada 2014). It may be that
some of these species have stabilized at lower post-European settlement population levels.
However, it remains important to keep common species common, and current habitat trends
must be monitored as new studies are showing a decline in forest cover in the north-eastern
United States following decades of increase (Foster et al. 2008).
Deciduous
Mixed Wood
Shrub/Early successional
Habitat Class
Herbaceous
Cultivated and Managed Areas
Bare Areas
Urban
Wetlands
Waterbodies, Snow and Ice
Riparian
0
10
20
30
40
Percent of Priority Species
Figure 4. Percent of priority species that are associated with each habitat type in BCR 8 ON.
Note: The total exceeds 100% because each species may use more than one habitat.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
50
P a g e | 21
Element 3: Population Objectives
Population objectives allow us to measure and evaluate conservation success. The objectives in
this strategy are assigned to categories and are based on a quantitative or qualitative
assessment of species’ population trends. If the population trend of a species is unknown, the
objective is set as “assess and maintain,” and a monitoring objective is given (see Appendix 2).
For any species listed under SARA or under provincial/territorial endangered species legislation,
Bird Conservation Strategies defer to population objectives in available Recovery Strategies and
Management Plans. If recovery documents are not yet available, interim breeding population
objectives are provided by species, by habitat in Section 2. When recovery objectives are
available, they will replace the interim objectives. For more details on methodology, refer to
Appendix 2. The ultimate measure of conservation success will be the extent to which
population objectives have been reached within the timeframes set by national and continental
bird conservation plans.
The lands, habitats and ecosystems within BCR 13 ON have changed fundamentally and
irreversibly over the last 200 years (Environment Canada 2013a; Ontario Partners in Flight
2008). How they will contribute to restoring North America’s bird populations at natural
abundances can be seen by referring to historic conditions, present-day conditions and new
opportunities. Different bird species and guilds have flourished and declined with past changes
to the ecosystems of BCR 13 ON. For example, forest birds were at peak abundance when BCR
13 ON was a forest biome prior to European land clearance. Subsequently, when forests in this
region were converted to open country habitats for agriculture (peaking in extent in the early
20th century), populations of open country birds increased greatly (Ontario Partners In Flight
2008). Today, high-quality open country habitats are in decline and with each successive
ecosystem state, the population abundance of few, if any, bird guilds have remained the same.
Furthermore, new species colonized BCR 13 ON when ecosystem changes favoured them.
Therefore, the BCR 13 ON priority species represent different ecological reference points.
Setting population and habitat targets that contribute to North American population goals must
be done in the context of the relationship of a species’ status relative to these previous
ecosystem states. There are, therefore, multiple reference points for setting objectives for
sustainable populations and habitat that reflect population levels prior to various widespread
declines associated with the different bird species and guilds.
Unlike many BCRs in Canada, much of BCR 13 ON is well covered by large-scale bird surveys
such as the Breeding Bird Survey, the Christmas Bird Count, the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas, the
Ontario Shorebird Survey, the Southern Ontario Breeding Waterfowl Plot Survey, the Great
Lakes Marsh Monitoring Program, the Great Lakes Colonial Waterbird Monitoring Surveys and
decadal migrant waterfowl surveys of the major shorelines in southern Ontario. Consequently,
the status of birds in Southern Ontario is relatively well known, which facilitates the setting of
population objectives for priority species. For 24% of priority species, monitoring data
suggested declines with sufficient certainty to support an objective of increasing population size
(Fig. 5). In contrast, populations were sufficiently elevated to warrant a reduction in population
size for two priority species: the Eastern Temperate-breeding Canada Goose and non-native
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
P a g e | 22
invasive Mute Swan. Both are species of management interest for Environment Canada’s
Canadian Wildlife Service in Ontario Region. Maintaining populations at current levels
(including most migrant waterfowl) was the objective for 23% of the priority species in BCR 13
ON, while only 12% of priority species were assigned a population objective of Assess/Maintain
because monitoring data were insufficient to propose an objective. Six of these species were
waterbirds. Among breeding birds, waterbirds and especially marsh birds are perhaps the most
difficult group to monitor in BCR 13 ON, and population size and status remain poorly known
for a number of species. A recovery objective was assigned to 30% of priority species, which are
all species at risk whose breeding range occurs within this BCR, though their recovery
documents may not yet be finalized. Nine percent (9 %) of priority species were identified as
migrating through BCR 13 ON, including the federally and provincially endangered Red Knot
(rufa), and were not assigned an objective as those were set in other BCR strategies covering
the breeding range of these species. However, population goals were established for migrant
waterfowl, recognizing both the importance of migratory staging habitat to waterfowl and the
importance of migrant waterfowl to society. One exception is the Southern James Bay
population of Canada Geese, which is impossible to differentiate from temperate breeders
during routine aerial surveys.
Recovery objective
Population Objective
Increase
Assess / Maintain
Maintain current
Decrease
Migrant (no population
objective)
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
Percent of Priority Species
Figure 5. Percent of priority species that are associated with each population objective category in
BCR 13 ON.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
P a g e | 23
Element 4: Threat Assessment for Priority Species
Bird population trends may be driven by factors that negatively affect either their reproduction
or survival during any point in their annual life cycle. Threats that can reduce survival include
reduced food availability at migratory stopovers or exposure to toxic compounds. Examples of
threats that can reduce reproductive success are high levels of nest predation or reduced
quality or quantity of breeding habitat. The threats assessment process (which is based on the
methods described in Salafsky et al. 2008; see Appendix 2) identifies threats believed to have a
population-level effect on individual priority species. These threats are assigned a relative
magnitude (Low, Medium, High, Very High) based on their scope (the proportion of the species’
range within the sub-region that is impacted) and severity (the relative impact on the priority
species’ population). This allows us to target conservation actions towards threats with the
greatest effects on suites of species or in broad habitat classes. Some well-known conservation
issues may not be identified in the literature as significant threats to populations of an
individual priority species and therefore may not be captured in the threat assessment.
However, they merit attention in conservation strategies because of the large numbers of
individual birds affected in many regions of Canada. Usually these issues transcend habitat
types and are considered “widespread,” and these issues are addressed in a separate section
(see Section 3: Widespread Issues), but unlike other threats, they are not ranked (e.g., climate
change and severe weather; threat category 11).
In BCR 13 ON, threat category 12 “other direct threats” and sub-category 12.1 “Information
lacking” was used to identify priority species that lack adequate biological or demographic
information required for population conservation and management. Using this category in this
manner facilitated the development of targeted research and monitoring conservation actions
to address knowledge gaps for these species, but unlike the other threats, they were not
ranked (Fig. 6).
Because of the highly human-altered landscape, priority birds in BCR 13 ON face a significant
number of anthropogenic threats, greater in both number and intensity than for birds in
Ontario’s more northerly BCRs (Fig. 6 and Table 5). The dominant threats relate to habitat loss
and degradation from a variety of sources including residential and commercial development
(threat category 1), agriculture (category 2), transportation and service corridors (category 4),
biological resource use (category 5), invasive and other problematic species (category 8),
pollution (category 9), natural system modifications (category 7) such as succession in
grasslands in the absence of natural fire regimes, or unnatural regulation of water levels in
wetlands, and also human intrusion and disturbance of breeding or foraging birds (category 6).
These threats are discussed in more detail in subsequent sections, but the diversity and
magnitude of threats are noteworthy (Fig. 6). Within BCR 13 ON, threats related to climate
change and severe weather (category 11), collisions with vehicles (category 4), and collisions
with buildings (category 1) were considered to be widespread and as such are discussed in the
Widespread Issues section of this strategy.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
P a g e | 24
Cumulative Effects of Threats to Priority Species
For several of the threats identified in this strategy, the long-term combined or cumulative
effect may be greater than the sum of the effects of the individual threat. There is no
standardized method for assessing these “cumulative effects.” The threat ranking and roll-up
procedures (Appendix 2) demonstrate the sum of effects for threats within and among threat
categories and are useful for identifying the most important threats within a habitat class or the
relative importance of individual threats across the BCR sub-region (Table 5). These procedures
also identify whether a large number of low-level threats may be affecting a species. However,
it is important to consider that threats might interact in unanticipated ways or that, in
aggregate, threats might exceed some ecological threshold to produce cumulative effects of an
unanticipated magnitude. Cumulative impact studies assessing population responses to
multiple stressors are an important tool to better understand the long-term consequences of
some of the threats described in this strategy.
1.1 Housing & urban areas
VH
1.2 Commercial & industrial areas
H
2.1 Annual & perennial non-timber crops
VH
2.3 Livestock farming & ranching
H
Threat Sub-category
3.2 Mining & quarrying
M
4.1 Roads & railroads
Low
H
4.3 Shipping lanes
5.3 Logging & wood harvesting
5.4 Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources
L
Medium
VH
High
Very High
L
6.1 Recreational activities
Not Ranked
H
6.3 Work & other activities
H
7.1 Fire & fire suppression
VH
7.2 Dams & water management/use
M
H
7.3 Other ecosystem modifications
8.1 Invasive non-native/alien species
VH
H
8.2 Problematic native species
8.3 Introduced genetic material
H
M
9.2 Industrial & military effluents
9.3 Agricultural & forestry effluents
H
12.1 Information lacking
0
5
15
10
Percent of Identified Threats
Figure 6. Percent of identified threats to priority species within BCR 13 ON by threat sub-category.
Each bar represents the percent of the total number of threats identified in each threat sub-category in BCR 13 ON
(for example, if 100 threats were identified in total for all priority species in BCR 13 ON, and 10 of those threats
were in the category 6.1 Recreational activities, the bar on the graph would represent this as 10%). Shading in the
bars (VH = very high, H = high, M = medium and L = low) represents the magnitude of the threats in each threat
sub-category in the BCR. The bars are divided to show the distribution of Low (L), Medium (M), High (H) and Very
High (VH) rankings of individual threats within each threat sub-category. For example, the same threat may have
been ranked H for one species and L for another. The overall rolled-up magnitude of the threat sub-category is
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
P a g e | 25
shown at the end of each bar (also presented in Table 5). Threat sub-category 12.1 Information lacking was not
ranked. See Element 4 in Appendix 2 for details on how magnitude was assessed.
Threats to priority species while they are outside Canada during the non-breeding season were
also assessed and are presented in the section Threats Outside Canada.
Table 5. Relative magnitude of identified threats to priority species within BCR 13 ON by threat
category and broad habitat class.
Only threats with a population-level effect were considered, and overall ranks were generated through a roll-up
procedure described in Kennedy et al. (2012). L represents Low-magnitude threats, M: Medium, H: High, VH: Very
High. Cells with hyphens indicate that no priority species had threats identified in the threat category/habitat
combination.
Shrub/Early successional
Herbaceous
Cultivated and Managed
Areas
Bare Areas
Urban
Wetlands
Waterbodies
Riparian
Overall Rank
VH
VH
H
VH
VH
H
H
VH
VH
H
1. Residential & Commercial Development
VH
VH
H
H
H
VH
H
VH
H
H
VH
2. Agriculture & Aquaculture
VH
VH
H
VH
VH
-
-
VH
-
H
VH
3. Energy Production & Mining
-
-
-
M
-
H
-
L
L
L
M
4. Transportation & Service Corridors
M
M
-
H
H
L
M
M
-
M
H
5. Biological Resource Use
VH
VH
-
-
-
-
-
H
M
M
VH
6. Human Intrusions & Disturbance
L
L
L
M
VH
H
H
H
VH
H
VH
7. Natural System Modifications
L
L
VH
VH
VH
M
-
H
L
-
VH
8. Invasive & Other Problematic Species &
Genes
VH
H
H
H
H
H
L
VH
VH
L
VH
9. Pollution
M
H
L
-
VH
M
M
H
H
H
H
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
Overall Rank
Mixed
Habitat Class
Deciduous
Threat Category
P a g e | 26
Element 5: Conservation Objectives
Conservation objectives were designed to address threats and information gaps that were
identified for priority species. They describe the environmental conditions and research and
monitoring that are thought to be necessary for progress towards population objectives and to
understand underlying conservation issues for priority bird species. As conservation objectives
are reached, they will collectively contribute to achieving population objectives. Whenever
possible, conservation objectives were developed to benefit multiple species and/or respond to
more than one threat (see Appendix 2).
For BCR 13 ON, the majority of conservation objectives identified relate to ensuring an
adequate supply and quality of habitat (conservation objective category 1; Fig. 7). Included in
these objectives are the maintenance and/or restoration of the full range and diversity of
habitat types, maintaining the quality of existing habitats, and retaining important features on
the landscape (e.g., standing dead snags for cavity-nesting birds). Also important is the need to
manage individual species (category 3). Most of the objectives in this category relate to the
prevention and control of invasive and exotic species as well as the development and/or
implementation of recovery strategies and management plans for the numerous species at risk
in BCR 13 ON. The third-most identified conservation objective category reflects the need to
improve understanding of factors causing population declines of priority species as well as
enhancing population/demographic and habitat monitoring across the BCR (category 7). Other
objectives address the need to reduce human disturbance of priority species (category 4),
ensure adequate food supply through the maintenance of natural food webs and prey sources
(category 5), and reduce mortality (and/or sub-lethal effects) through reductions in pesticide
use across the BCR (category 2).
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1. Ensure adequate habitat
Conservation Objective
2. Reduce mortality/increase productivity
3. Manage individual species
4. Reduce disturbance
5. Ensure adequate food supplies
7. Improve understanding
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
Percent of Conservation Objectives
Figure 7. Percent of all conservation objectives assigned to each conservation objective category in
BCR 13 ON.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
35
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Element 6: Recommended Actions
Recommended actions indicate on-the-ground activities that will help to achieve the
conservation objectives (Fig. 8). Actions are strategic rather than highly detailed and
prescriptive (see Appendix 2). Whenever possible, recommended actions benefit multiple
species and/or respond to more than one threat. Recommended actions defer to or support
those provided in recovery documents for species at risk at the federal, provincial or territorial
level and will usually be more general than those developed for individual species. However, for
detailed recommendations for species at risk, readers should consult published federal
recovery documents (Species at Risk Public Registry 2013) or provincial recovery documents
(Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources 2013b). Similarly, a number of landbird species included
in this strategy are stewardship species as defined by Partners in Flight (Rich et al. 2004). These
are species with stable populations or for which no specific conservation issues have been
identified, but which depend on BCR 13 ON to such an extent that the region has a high
responsibility for their protection. These species may not appear prominently in the threats,
objectives and actions described herein, but should benefit from the implementation of actions
that target multiple species.
The proposed conservation actions for BCR 13 ON are diverse in their approach (Fig. 8),
demonstrating the need for a multi-faceted strategy for conservation in this highly developed
region. Recognizing that a large majority of lands in the region are privately owned, only a small
proportion of the actions relate to the direct protection of land (action sub-category 1.1).
Instead, a majority of actions focus on habitat restoration and management (sub-categories 2.1,
and 2.3) for priority species by engaging landowners and other stakeholders in conservation.
Developing and implementing effective policies and regulations (sub-category 5.2), the
development, use and promotion of BMPs (sub-category 5.3), increasing awareness about
conservation issues (sub-category 4.3), developing partnerships (sub-category 7.2), determining
factors causing population declines and improving the scientific knowledge that underlies
management decisions (sub-category 8.1) all figure prominently in the suite of conservation
actions proposed for this region. Engaging stakeholders in actions that restore the function and
resilience of ecosystems in this highly impacted region ensures that conservation successes can
be maintained over the long term.
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1.1 Site/area protection
1.2 Resource and habitat protection
2.1 Site/area management
Action Sub-category
2.2 Invasive/problematic species control
2.3 Habitat and natural process restoration
3.1 Species management
3.2 Species recovery
4.3 Awareness and communications
5.2 Policies and regulations
5.3 Private sector standards and codes
5.4 Compliance and enforcement
6.4 Conservation payments
7.2 Alliance and partnership development
8.1 Research
8.2 Monitoring
0
5
10
15
20
Percent of Identified Actions
Figure 8. Percent of recommended actions assigned to each sub-category in BCR 13 ON.
”Research and monitoring” actions refer to individual species where information is required to support
conservation and management. For a discussion of broad-scale research and monitoring requirements, see the
section on Research and Population Monitoring Needs (Section 3).
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25
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Section 2: Conservation Needs by Habitat
The following sections provide more detailed information on priority species, their threats and
objectives within each of the broad habitat classes that occur in BCR 13 ON. Where appropriate,
habitat information is provided at a finer scale than the broad habitat categories in order to
coincide with other land management exercises in the region. Conservation objectives and
corresponding actions have been developed to address only those threats to priority species
that have a magnitude of “medium” or greater. Some priority species do not appear in the
threats table because their low-level threats have not been assigned objectives or actions,
identified threats are addressed in the Widespread Issues section of the strategy, and/or they
are migrants with no threats identified in a specific habitat in this BCR.
The priority birds of BCR 13 ON face a variety of threats, from habitat loss and fragmentation to
the threats of habitat shifting and alteration due to climate change. As discussed above, some
of these threats apply broadly to all habitat types and are better described as “widespread
issues.” These issues, including collisions with vehicles and human-made structures, predation
by domestic and feral cats, some forms of pollution, and habitat alteration or other issues
related to climate change are discussed separately in Section 3. It is important to note that the
threats in sub-category 1.2, Commercial and industrial areas, refer mainly to collisions with
vehicles, buildings and towers, which is discussed under Widespread Issues, while habitat loss
due to development (commercial and residential) is included in 1.1, Housing and urban areas
(urban development).
Sustainable Development, Ecosystem Services and Resilience
Predictions suggest that the human population of Ontario might increase by 37% by 2036
(Ontario Ministry of Finance 2010). Already, 90% of Ontarians inhabit BCR 13 ON, and
projections for a disproportionate rate of population growth could see this percentage increase.
In addition to this population growth, economic growth could bring significant new commercial
and industrial development to the region, and climate change could bring further stress. These
impending changes mean that conservation of birds and other wildlife cannot be achieved
solely by addressing today’s threats; ecosystems must also be resilient to future stressors.
Conversely, sustainable economic growth and development depend on functioning ecosystems
and the services they provide.
Ecosystem services, or functions provided by ecosystems that have measurable value to
humans, range from the provision of clean air and clean water for drinking to the natural
control of insect pests. In some cases, such as water purification, it may be possible, though
perhaps not desirable, to replace ecosystem services with technology. In other cases, such as
the natural build-up of fertile soil for agriculture, no viable artificial alternatives exist. Globally,
this latter service alone has an estimated aggregate value of over $17 trillion/year, nearly
equivalent to the global Gross National Product (Costanza et al. 1997). In BCR 13 ON, other
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
P a g e | 31
regionally important ecosystem services include the water purification and storm water
management provided by wetlands (Troy and Bagstad 2009). For BCR 13 ON and the adjoining
portions of the Great Lakes, the total aggregate value of these and other ecosystem services
was estimated at over $84B annually (Troy and Bagstad 2009). Although considerable
uncertainty surrounds such estimates, it is clear that the value is significant. Moreover, it is
usually more cost effective and efficient to rely on existing natural ecosystem services rather
than replace those functions with technology.
The stable provision of these ecosystem services in the face of future environmental changes,
including the unknown effects of climate change, depends on the resilience of ecosystems. It is
well established in ecology that ecosystems are better able to withstand disturbance when they
possess functional redundancy and response diversity (Chapin et al. 1997, Balvanera et al.
2006), in other words, numerous species contributing in similar ways to ecosystem function
(i.e., the source of ecosystem services) but responding differently to disturbance. Maintaining
or improving species richness and expanding the natural habitat base to support species
diversity can therefore contribute to the stable provision of valuable ecosystem services.
Increasing recognition of the value of naturally functioning ecosystems has generated a
heightened interest in sustainable development and land use planning, and potentially
increased opportunities for conservation. The interrelationships between sustainable
development, ecosystem services and biodiversity are the context in which conservation must
be delivered in BCR 13 ON. The actions suggested in this strategy seek to improve the diversity
and abundance of birds in degraded habitats, restore ecological function, and contribute to the
resilience of ecosystems in a variety of ways. In so doing, it is hoped that conservation
successes can be maintained over the long term, despite ongoing unavoidable conservation
challenges in BCR 13 ON.
Habitat-specific Issues and Actions
Coniferous
According to the Southern Ontario Land Resource Information System (SOLRIS), coniferous
forest is classified as being at least 60% tree cover with upland conifer tree species comprising
more than 75% of the canopy cover. Typical coniferous tree species include white pine (Pinus
strobus) and eastern white cedar (Thuja occidentalis) and cover less than 4% of BCR 13 ON
(Table 1; Fig. 9). All priority forest bird species in this region are affected by similar conservation
issues, particularly regional forest cover and the effect of management practices on habitat
quality. Given the overlap in threats and predominance of mixed and deciduous forest,
conservation objectives and actions for coniferous habitats were combined into those sections.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
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Figure 9. Map of coniferous forest in BCR 13 ON.
Conifer plantations provide important biodiversity elements to southern Ontario’s landscapes.
Specific direction for the long-term management of conifer plantations to provide mature
forest structural elements (e.g., downed wood, canopy gaps and diverse vegetation layers) can
be found in A land manager’s guide to conserving habitat for forest birds in southern Ontario
(Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources 2011).
Deciduous
In BCR 13 ON today, dense forest dominated by deciduous species accounts for approximately
9% of the land cover/land use (Table 1, Fig. 10). Deciduous forest is the predominant forest
class in southern portions of the region (Ontario Partners in Flight 2008), and tolerant
hardwoods such as sugar maple (Acer saccharum), American beech (Fagus grandifolia), black
cherry (Prunus serotina), red ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica), white ash (Fraxinus americana), red
oak (Quercus rubra), white oak (Quercus alba) and yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis) occur
regularly. The extreme southwest region also contains tree species characteristic of the
Carolinian zone such as black walnut (Julgans nigra), shagbark hickory (Carya ovata) and
American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis; Lee et al. 1998). Much of the deciduous forest in this
BCR consists of isolated remnants interspersed with agricultural and urban areas.
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July 2014
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Figure 10. Map of deciduous forests in BCR 13 ON.
The 12 priority species using this habitat are all landbirds (Table 6), and populations of some
forest landbirds in BCR 13 ON have increased in recent decades (as evidenced by a 31%
increase in counts of forest birds in Breeding Bird Surveys; Ontario Partners in Flight 2008).
These positive population trends are presumably due in large part to the increase in overall
forest cover seen in the region between 1920 and the 1990s (Riley and Mohr 1994; Ontario
Partners in Flight 2008) and increases in forest cover throughout eastern North America
generally during the same period. Despite the overall pattern of increasing forest cover, the
southwestern region of BCR 13 ON continues to have very low and highly fragmented forest
cover, and as such does not effectively support many area-sensitive species (e.g., Louisiana
Waterthrush). It should be noted that forest cover is now declining in the northeastern United
States (Foster et al. 2008) after increasing through the 20th century. It is unclear whether this
reversal has started or will occur in BCR 13 ON, but there have certainly been recent forest
cover declines in areas such as Chatham Kent (Municipality of Chatham-Kent 2013).
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Baltimore Oriole
Black-billed
Cuckoo
Canada Warbler
Cerulean Warbler
Eastern WoodPewee
Hooded Warbler
Louisiana
Waterthrush
Prothonotary
Warbler
Red-headed
Woodpecker
Rose-breasted
Grosbeak
Wood Thrush
Y
Y
Y
Regional/Sub-regional
5
Concern
Regional/Sub-regional
6
Stewardship
National/Continental
Concern
National/Continental
Stewardship
Recovery objective
4
Large blocks of mature,
deciduous forests
Mature deciduous forests with
openings
Early successional deciduous
forests with openings
Moist deciduous forests with
well-developed understory
Mature deciduous forests with
sparse understorey
Deciduous forests of any age
with openings
Mature deciduous forests with
canopy gaps
Mature forests with cold water
streams
Deciduous forests and
floodplains
Deciduous forests with
openings
Deciduous forests with
relatively open canopy
Mature deciduous forests with
well-developed understorey
Population
Objective
SARO
1
3
Acadian
Flycatcher
Habitat Description
SARA
Priority Species
COSEWIC
2
Table 6. Priority species associated with deciduous forest habitat in BCR 13 ON, habitat descriptions,
population objectives and reasons for priority status.
Y
Y
Maintain current
Y
Increase
Y
Y
Y
7
Y
Y
Y
Y
Recovery objective
Y
Y
Y
Y
Increase
Y
Recovery objective
Recovery objective
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Recovery objective
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Recovery objective
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
7
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Recovery objective
Maintain current
Maintain current
Y
Y
Y
Y
1
Y
Habitat descriptions are based on information found in the Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario, 2001–2005
and, in most cases, follow definitions under the Land Cover Classification System (LCCS; see Kennedy et al. 2012).
2
Assessed by COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) as Endangered; Threatened;
Special Concern.
3
Species listed on Schedule 1 of SARA as E, Endangered; T, Threatened; SC, Special Concern (Species at Risk Public
Registry).
4
Species listed as Endangered, Threatened or Special Concern on the Species at Risk in Ontario (SARO) List.
5
Regional refers to BCR-wide (i.e., all jurisdictional data were used for the entire BCR) while sub-regional refers to
the Ontario portion of the BCR only (i.e., Ontario BCR data were used).
6
Only the landbird group distinguishes stewardship species from other priority species (see Panjabi et al. 2005).
7
Species listed on Schedule 1 of SARA and/or SARO, but for which there are no finalized recovery documents.
Official documents related to SARA or SARO will prevail when they are published; however, the interim population
objectives for these species in BCR 13 ON are Canada Warbler: Maintain Current; Red-headed Woodpecker:
Increase.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
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Deciduous forest birds of BCR 13 ON face some very significant conservation challenges. Habitat
loss due to development or agricultural expansion (threat sub-categories 1.1 and 2.1; Fig. 11),
poor forest management (e.g., high-grading or removal of the best trees or tree species from a
stand; sub-category 5.3), and outbreaks of invasive non-native forest insects (sub-category 8.1)
including the emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) and tree diseases such as butternut
canker (Ophiognomonia clavigignenti-juglandacearum) all serve to reduce the quantity of trees
or adversely affect forest health and habitat value (Fig. 11). These threats were all identified as
very high overall magnitude threats to priority species in this habitat. Recommended
conservation actions to mitigate these threats include the identification and protection of
important areas through municipal planning, woodlot management and stewardship to retain
important habitat features for priority species as well as awareness campaigns to deter the
unauthorized or accidental release of invasive non-native species (e.g., transport of firewood
harbouring pests such as the Emerald ash borer; Table 7).
This habitat class includes the Carolinian forests of southwestern Ontario. Unique in Canada,
this habitat includes trees species such as tulip-tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) and sassafras
(Sassafras albidum) and is used by a variety of bird species more common further south. Among
these are the Acadian Flycatcher, the Louisiana Waterthrush and the Prothonotary Warbler.
These birds are federally listed as species at risk and are at the northern extent of their
continental range in BCR 13 ON. Only a small fraction of the original forest cover remains in the
Carolinian zone, and the protection, expansion and enhancement of these remaining tracts, and
creation of new woodlands, is a high priority for the species reliant on this unique ecosystem.
In BCR 13 ON, habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation from the construction and
maintenance of transportation networks was assessed as a medium overall threat to priority
species in deciduous habitats (sub-category 4.1). Southern Ontario has the highest density of
roads of any region in Canada (Ontario Biodiversity Council 2010), and the construction,
maintenance and use by vehicles of these networks pose risks to bird populations and the
habitats upon which they rely (Kociolek et al. 2011). The effects of roads on wildlife depend on
their location, density of road corridors and their level of use. Few natural areas in
southwestern and central Ontario are more than 1.5 km from existing roads (Ontario Ministry
of Natural Resources 2009). Roads between and within urban centres can have both direct and
indirect effects on birds and other wildlife, including individual species disturbance attributed
to noise and dust, habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation (loss of suitable nest sites,
destruction of nest sites, decline of prey species), indirect mortality from increased
predator/prey contact, and increased exposure to invasive species. Recommended deciduous
habitat conservation actions related to these threats seek to mitigate the effects of roads
through the implementation of BMPs or mitigation guidelines to avoid habitat loss and
degradation (Table 7). The Widespread Issues section of this strategy addresses mortality
caused by collisions with vehicles (sub-category 1.2).
Finally, a small percentage of identified threats relating to the loss of food sources due to nonselective pesticide use (sub-category 9.3) were assessed as a high overall magnitude for
insectivorous priority species. Insect control programs (e.g., in response to West Nile virus and
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
P a g e | 36
gypsy moth outbreaks) have the potential to reduce arthropod food supplies for priority species
such as the Prothonotary Warbler (Environment Canada 2011a). Similarly, the Black-billed
Cuckoo also forages on insects (e.g., forest tent caterpillars, gypsy moth) and actions to reduce
non-selective pesticide application could benefit these species by improving access to prey
(Ontario Partners in Flight 2008). The full list of threats to and information needs (sub-category
12.1) for priority species in deciduous habitats of BCR 13 ON as well as the conservation
objectives and recommended actions are presented in Table 7.
1.1 Housing & urban areas
VH
1.2 Commercial & industrial areas
H
2.1 Annual & perennial non-timber crops
VH
2.3 Livestock farming & ranching
Threat Sub-category
3.2 Mining & quarrying
4.1 Roads & railroads
M
4.3 Shipping lanes
5.3 Logging & wood harvesting
VH
5.4 Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources
6.1 Recreational activities
Low
L
Medium
6.3 Work & other activities
High
7.1 Fire & fire suppression
Very High
7.2 Dams & water management/use
Not Ranked
7.3 Other ecosystem modifications
L
8.1 Invasive non-native/alien species
VH
8.2 Problematic native species
L
8.3 Introduced genetic material
9.2 Industrial & military effluents
9.3 Agricultural & forestry effluents
M
12.1 Information lacking
0
5
10
15
20
25
Percent of Identified Threats
Figure 11. Percent of identified threats to priority species in deciduous habitats in each threat
sub-category.
Each bar represents the percent of the total number of threats identified in each threat sub-category in deciduous
habitat (for example, if 100 threats were identified in total for all priority species in deciduous habitat, and 10 of
those threats were in the category 1.1 Housing & urban areas, the bar on the graph would represent this as 10%).
Threat sub-category 12.1 Information lacking was not ranked. The bars are divided to show the distribution of Low
(L), Medium (M), High (H) and Very High (VH) rankings of individual threats within each threat sub-category. For
example, the same threat may have been ranked H for one species and L for another; the shading illustrates the
proportion of L, M, H and VH rankings in the sub-category. The overall magnitude of the threat in deciduous
habitat is shown at the end of each bar (also presented in Table 5). Only threats with a magnitude of medium or
higher are typically assigned habitat-specific conservation objectives.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
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Table 7. Threats addressed, conservation objectives, recommended actions and list of priority species affected in deciduous habitats BCR 13
ON.
Note: Issues such as collisions with human-made structures and vehicles, and climate change, are not addressed in this table; instead they are addressed in the
Widespread Issues section.
Table 7 continued
Threat Subcategory
1.1 Housing
& urban
areas
Threat
Addressed
Loss of forest
habitat due to
development
Objective
Category
1.1. Ensure
land and
resource-use
policies and
practices
maintain or
improve bird
habitat
Objective
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Maintain,
enhance or
restore the
quality,
quantity and
diversity of
deciduous
forest habitats
across the BCR
1.1 Site/area
protection
Protect, restore and/or manage large intact
deciduous forest tracts; mature and old growth
forests for priority forest birds.
At a watershed scale, maintain in decreasing order
of risk and increasing order of preference: a
minimum of 30 % forest cover; 40 % forest cover;
or 50 % forest cover or more. The 30% minimum
represents a high risk that less than half the
potential species will be represented, while the
50% forest cover equates to a low-risk approach
that is likely to support most of the potential
species (Environment Canada 2013a).
Retain important habitat features such as wildlife
trees (e.g., stick nests, cavity trees), snags and
downed woody debris (see A land manager's
guide to conserving habitat for forest birds in
southern Ontario, Ontario Ministry of Natural
Resources 2011).
1.2 Resource and
habitat protection
2.3 Habitat and
natural process
restoration
Priority Species
1
Affected
Black-billed
Cuckoo, Eastern
Wood-Pewee,
Red-headed
2
Woodpecker,
Wood Thrush
Black-billed
Cuckoo, Eastern
Wood-Pewee,
Red-headed
2
Woodpecker,
Wood Thrush
The proportion of a watershed that is forest cover
and 100 m or further from the forest edge should
be greater than 10% (Environment Canada 2013a).
1
While many priority species may benefit from proposed conservation actions, priority species not mentioned in this table are absent because 1) identified threats in this habitat
are of low magnitude, or 2) they are migrants with no threats identified in this habitat.
2
Species listed on Schedule 1 of SARA and/or on the SARO List, but for which there are no finalized recovery documents. Official documents related to SARA or SARO will prevail
when they are published however, interim conservation objectives and recommended actions are presented here.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
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Table 7 continued
Threat Subcategory
Threat
Addressed
Objective
Category
Objective
Action Category
4.3 Awareness
and
communications
5.2 Policies and
regulations
Recommended Actions
Watershed forest cover should be representative
of the full diversity of naturally occurring forest
communities found within the ecoregion. This
should include components of mature and old
growth forest (Environment Canada 2013a).
Encourage stewardship organizations to promote
the use of appropriate habitat management
guidelines by private landowners (e.g., A land
manager’s guide to conserving habitat for forest
birds in southern Ontario, Ontario Ministry of
Natural Resources, 2011).
Encourage municipalities to protect or restore
significant woodlots (e.g., mature, old-growth),
including having at least one, and preferably
several, 200-hectare forest patches (Environment
Canada, 2013a).
Forest patches should be within two kilometres of
one another or other supporting habitat features.
“Big Woods” areas, representing concentrations of
smaller forest patches as well as larger forest
patches, should be a cornerstone of protection
and enhancement within each watershed or land
unit (Environment Canada 2013a).
8.1 Research
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Priority Species
1
Affected
Black-billed
Cuckoo, Eastern
Wood-Pewee,
Red-headed
2
Woodpecker,
Wood Thrush
Discourage "greenfield" development in land-use
planning and focus on redevelopment and
development within existing urban areas
Conduct research to increase understanding of the
effects of forest condition, management practices,
and landscape variables (proximity for forests,
regional forest cover) on the abundance,
distribution and demographics of priority forest
birds.
July 2014
P a g e | 39
Table 7 continued
Threat Subcategory
2.1 Annual
& perennial
non-timber
crops
Threat
Addressed
Loss of forest
habitat due to
agricultural
conversion/
intensification
Objective
Category
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Objective
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Meet the legal
requirements
for federal/
provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
3.2 Species
recovery
Develop and/or implement species at risk recovery
strategies or management plans.
Ensure land
and resourceuse policies
and practices
maintain or
improve bird
habitat
Maintain,
enhance or
restore the
quality,
quantity and
diversity of
deciduous
forest habitats
across the BCR
1.1 Site/area
protection
Protect, restore and/or manage large intact
deciduous forest tracts; mature and old growth
forests for priority forest birds.
Black-billed
Cuckoo, Canada
2
Warbler, Redheaded
2
Woodpecker
1.2 Resource and
habitat protection
At a watershed scale, maintain in decreasing order
of risk and increasing order of preference: a
minimum of 30% forest cover; 40% forest cover;
or 50% forest cover or more. The 30% minimum
represents a high risk that less than half the
potential species will be represented, while the
50% forest cover equates to a low-risk approach
that is likely to support most of the potential
species (Environment Canada 2013a).
Retain important habitat features such as wildlife
trees (e.g., stick nests, cavity trees), snags and
downed woody debris (see A land manager's
guide to conserving habitat for forest birds in
Southern Ontario, Ontario Ministry of Natural
Resources, 2011).
Baltimore Oriole,
Black-billed
Cuckoo, Canada
2
Warbler, Redheaded
2
Woodpecker
2.3 Habitat and
natural process
restoration
Priority Species
1
Affected
Acadian
Flycatcher,
Cerulean
Warbler, Hooded
Warbler,
Louisiana
Waterthrush,
Red-headed
Woodpecker
The proportion of a watershed that is forest cover
and 100 m or further from the forest edge should
be greater than 10% (Environment Canada 2013a).
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
P a g e | 40
Table 7 continued
Threat Subcategory
Threat
Addressed
Objective
Category
Objective
Action Category
4.3 Awareness
and
communications
5.2 Policies and
regulations
8.1 Research
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Recommended Actions
Watershed forest cover should be representative
of the full diversity of naturally occurring forest
communities found within the ecoregion. This
should include components of mature and old
growth forest (Environment Canada 2013a).
Encourage stewardship organizations to promote
the use of appropriate habitat management
guidelines by private landowners (see A land
manager’s guide to conserving habitat for forest
birds in southern Ontario, Ontario Ministry of
Natural Resources 2011).
Priority Species
1
Affected
Baltimore Oriole,
Black-billed
Cuckoo, Canada
2
Warbler, Redheaded
2
Woodpecker
Encourage municipalities to protect or restore
significant woodlots (e.g., mature, old-growth),
including having at least one, and preferably
several, 200-hectare forest patches (Environment
Canada, 2013a).
Forest patches should be within two kilometres of
one another or other supporting habitat features.
“Big Woods” areas, representing concentrations of
smaller forest patches as well as larger forest
patches, should be a cornerstone of protection
and enhancement within each watershed or land
unit (Environment Canada 2013a).
Conduct research to increase understanding of the
effects of forest condition, management practices,
and landscape variables (proximity for forests,
regional forest cover) on the abundance,
distribution and demographics of priority forest
birds.
July 2014
P a g e | 41
Table 7 continued
Threat Subcategory
Threat
Addressed
Objective
Category
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Objective
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Meet the legal
requirements
for federal/
provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
3.2 Species
recovery
Develop and/or implement species at risk recovery
strategies or management plans.
Priority Species
1
Affected
Acadian
Flycatcher,
Canada Warbler,
Cerulean
Warbler, Hooded
Warbler,
Louisiana
Waterthrush,
Red-headed
Woodpecker
4.1 Roads &
railroads
Habitat loss,
fragmentation
and
degradation
from the
construction
and
maintenance
of
transportation
networks
1.1 Ensure
land and
resource-use
policies and
practices
maintain or
improve bird
habitat
Reduce/
eliminate
habitat loss,
fragmentation
degradation
and
disturbance
from the
construction
and
maintenance
of road
networks and
associated
infrastructure
5.3 Private sector
standards and
codes
Develop and/or implement existing BMPs or
mitigation guidelines to avoid habitat loss,
fragmentation and/or degradation from road
construction and maintenance.
Eastern WoodPewee, Wood
Thrush
5.3 Logging
& wood
harvesting
Loss of forest
habitat due to
logging
practices
1.1 Ensure
land and
resource-use
policies and
practices
maintain or
improve bird
habitat
Maintain or
restore the
quality,
quantity and
diversity of
forest habitats
across the BCR
1.1 Site/area
protection
Protect, restore and/or manage large intact
deciduous forest tracts; mature and old growth
forests for priority forest birds.
At a watershed scale, maintain in decreasing order
of risk and increasing order of preference: a
minimum of 30% forest cover; 40% forest cover;
or 50% forest cover or more. The 30% minimum
represents a high risk that less than half the
potential species will be represented, while the
Red-headed
2
Woodpecker,
Wood Thrush
Red-headed
2
Woodpecker,
Wood Thrush
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
1.2 Resource and
habitat protection
July 2014
P a g e | 42
Table 7 continued
Threat Subcategory
Threat
Addressed
Objective
Category
Objective
Action Category
2.3 Habitat and
natural process
restoration
4.3 Awareness
and
communications
5.2 Policies and
regulations
8.1 Research
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Meet the legal
requirements
for federal/
provincial
Species at Risk
legislation.
3.2 Species
recovery
Recommended Actions
50% forest cover equates to a low-risk approach
that is likely to support most of the potential
species (Environment Canada 2013a).
Retain important habitat features such as wildlife
trees (e.g., stick nests, cavity trees) and downed
woody debris (see A land manager's guide to
conserving habitat for forest birds in southern
Ontario, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources,
2011).
Promote the development and management of
woodlots according to recognized silvicultural
practices (e.g., A land manager's guide to
conserving habitat for forest bird in southern
Ontario, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
2011).
Encourage municipalities to protect or restore
significant woodlots (e.g., mature, old-growth),
including having at least one, and preferably
several, 200-hectare forest patches (Environment
Canada 2013a).
Conduct research to increase understanding of the
effects of forest condition, management practices,
and landscape variables (proximity for forests,
regional forest cover) on the abundance,
distribution and demography of priority forest
birds.
Develop and/or implement species at risk recovery
strategies or management plans.
Priority Species
1
Affected
Acadian
Flycatcher,
Cerulean
Warbler, Hooded
Warbler,
Louisiana
Waterthrush,
Prothonotary
Warbler, Redheaded
Woodpecker
July 2014
P a g e | 43
Table 7 continued
Threat Subcategory
Threat
Addressed
Objective
Category
Objective
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species
1
Affected
8.1 Invasive
nonnative/alien
species
Outbreaks of
invasive, nonnative forest
insects and
tree diseases
are an ongoing
concern for
forest habitats
(e.g., Emerald
Ash Borer,
Butternut
canker)
3.5. Prevent
and control
the spread of
invasive and
exotic species
Prevent and
control the
spread of
invasive nonnative species
2.1 Site/area
management
Follow guidance provided in provincial forest
management guides (e.g., Forest Health
Landowner's Guide: When Invasive Species
Threaten Your Woodlot, Ontario Ministry of
Natural Resources, 2008a).
Support public awareness efforts to deter
unauthorized or accidental releases of invasive,
non-native species.
Develop and/or strengthen policies or regulatory
measures geared to preventing the introduction
and spread of invasive non-native species (e.g.,
Emerald ash borer) and diseases.
Develop and/or implement species at risk recovery
strategies or management plans.
Red-headed
2
Woodpecker,
Wood Thrush
Develop or implement existing BMPs to reduce
potential risks to birds and their habitats resulting
from pesticide use in forestry/agriculture.
Continue to monitor and enforce compliance with
laws, policies and regulations at all levels.
Research needed on breeding ecology, winter
ecology, sensitivity to pesticides and response to
habitat management (Ontario Partners in Flight,
2008).
Develop and/or implement species at risk recovery
strategies or management plans.
Baltimore Oriole,
Black-billed
Cuckoo
9.3
Agricultural
& forestry
effluents
Loss of food
source due to
non-selective
pesticide use
(e.g.,
reduction in
prey insects,
leaching to
adjacent
habitats)
4.3 Awareness
and
communications
5.2 Policies and
regulations
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements
for federal/
provincial
Species at Risk
legislation.
3.2 Species
recovery
5.1 Maintain
natural food
webs and prey
sources
Maintain/
improve forest
habitat quality
by reducing
pesticide use
5.3 Private sector
standards and
codes
5.4 Compliance
and enforcement
8.1 Research
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements
for federal/
provincial
3.2 Species
recovery
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Acadian
Flycatcher,
Cerulean
Warbler, Hooded
Warbler,
Prothonotary
Warbler, Redheaded
Woodpecker
Prothonotary
Warbler
July 2014
P a g e | 44
Table 7 continued
Threat Subcategory
Threat
Addressed
Objective
Category
Objective
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species
1
Affected
Conduct research to better determine cause of
general population decline including effects of
forest management treatments on breeding
density, productivity and survivorship.
Conduct breeding ecology studies to increase
understanding of species habitat requirements
and causes of population decline in southern
Ontario
Develop and/or implement species at risk recovery
strategies or management plans.
Canada Warbler
Species at Risk
legislation.
12.1
Information
Lacking
Lack of
information
on factors
causing
population
declines
7.4 Improve
understanding
of causes of
population
declines
Determine
sources of
mortality or
population
decline.
8.1 Research
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements
for federal/
provincial
Species at Risk
legislation.
3.2 Species
recovery
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
2
Red-headed
2
Woodpecker
Canada Warbler,
Red-headed
Woodpecker
July 2014
P a g e | 45
Mixed Wood
Mixed wood forests in BCR 13 ON consist of white pine, red pine, eastern hemlock (Tsuga
Canadensis), sugar maple, red maple (Acer rubrum), yellow birch, red oak, basswood (Tilia
Americana) and white elm (Ulmus Americana). Other wide-ranging species include eastern
white cedar, largetooth aspen (Populus grandidentata), American beech, butternut (Juglans
cinerea) and white ash (Lee et al. 1998). This habitat class amounts to 4.5% of the land cover/
land use of BCR 13 ON (Table 1; Fig. 12).
Figure 12. Map of mixed wood forests in BCR 13 ON.
Priority species using the mixed wood habitat class (13 in total) are all landbirds (including
7 species at risk), with the exception of the American Woodcock, a forest-dwelling shorebird
(Table 8). Among the priority species using mixed wood forests are 2 aerial insectivores: the
Common Nighthawk and the Eastern Whip-poor-will. These species move to open habitats at
dusk and dawn to forage on the wing for flying insects. Like other aerial insectivores, these
species have declined significantly in abundance and distribution in southern Ontario in recent
decades. For example, the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas reports a 45% decline in the number of
atlas squares with Common Nighthawk and a 43% decline for Eastern Whip-poor-will between
1981–1985 and 2001–2004 (Ontario Partners in Flight 2008). As for all aerial insectivores, the
causes of these alarming declines remain largely unknown but could be related to a reduction
in the availability of their insect prey (sub-category 9.3 in Table 9; Nebel et al. 2010). Actions
to reduce non-selective pesticide application could benefit these species by improving access
to prey.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
P a g e | 46
Y
Y
Y
Acadian Flycatcher
Mixed forests
American Woodcock
Young mixed forests
Canada Warbler
Relatively open mixed
forests
Recovery objective
7
Y
Y
Common Nighthawk
Mixed deciduous forests
Recovery objective
7
Y
Eastern Whip-poorwill
Eastern WoodPewee
Early-mid successional
mixed forests with openings
Mixed forests of any age
with openings
Recovery objective
7
Y
Hooded Warbler
Mature mixed forests with
canopy gaps
Louisiana
Waterthrush
Northern Flicker
Olive-sided
Flycatcher
Red-shouldered
Hawk
Rose-breasted
Grosbeak
Wood Thrush
Mature mixed forests with
coldwater streams
Mixed forests with openings
Mixed, coniferousdominated forests
Mixed deciduous forests
Mixed forests and forest
edges; disturbed habitats
Mature mixed forest with
well-developed understorey
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Increase
Increase
Y
Recovery objective
Y
Y
Y
Increase
Recovery objective
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
7
Y
Assess/Maintain
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Maintain current
Maintain current
Y
Y
Y
Recovery objective
Regional/Sub-regional
5
Concern
Regional/Sub-regional
6
Stewardship
National/Continental
Concern
National/Continental
Stewardship
Recovery objective
4
Population
Objective
SARO
1
3
Habitat Description
SARA
Priority Species
COSEWIC
2
Table 8. Priority species associated with mixed wood habitats in BCR 13 ON, habitat descriptions,
population objectives and reasons for priority status.
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
1
Habitat descriptions are based on information found in the Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario (2001–2005)
and, in most cases, follow definitions under the Land Cover Classification System (LCCS; see Kennedy et al. 2012).
2
Assessed by COSEWIC as Endangered; Threatened; Special Concern.
3
Species listed on Schedule 1 of SARA as E, Endangered; T, Threatened; SC, Special Concern.
4
Species listed as Endangered, Threatened or Special Concern on the SARO List.
5
Regional refers to BCR-wide (i.e., all jurisdictional data were used for the entire BCR) while sub-regional refers to
the Ontario portion of the BCR only (i.e., Ontario BCR data were used).
6
Only the landbird group distinguishes stewardship species from other priority species (see Panjabi et al. 2005).
7
Species listed on Schedule 1 of SARA and/or SARO, but for which there are no finalized recovery documents.
Official documents related to SARA or SARO will prevail when they are published; however, the interim population
objectives for these species in BCR 13 ON are Canada Warbler: Maintain current; Common Nighthawk: Increase;
Eastern Whip-poor-will: Increase.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
P a g e | 47
Despite the overall pattern of increasing forest cover within the BCR sub-region, habitat loss
continues to be a very significant issue for many priority species using mixed wood habitats,
particularly those that have restricted ranges (e.g., Acadian Flycatcher and Hooded Warbler) are
area-sensitive (e.g., Louisiana Waterthrush), or have specialized habitat requirements such as
requiring large tracts of mature forest (e.g., Red-shouldered Hawk) or large snags for nesting
cavities (e.g., Northern Flicker). Ongoing urban and agricultural development (threat subcategories 1.1 and 2.1), logging and wood harvesting (sub-category 5.3), outbreaks of invasive
non-native forest insects and tree diseases (sub-category 8.1), and other human uses continue
to reduce the quantity and quality of mixed wood habitat available to forest birds, and are
assessed as high and very high overall magnitude threats to priority species (Fig. 13). As noted
for deciduous forests, there is a concern that the recent trend of U.S. forest cover decline may
similarly be occurring or will occur in BCR 13 ON.
In BCR 13 ON, habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation from the construction and
maintenance of transportation networks was assessed as a medium overall magnitude threat to
priority species in mixed wood habitats (sub-category 4.1). Southern Ontario has the highest
density of roads of any region in Canada (Ontario Biodiversity Council 2010), and the
construction, maintenance and use by vehicles of these networks pose risks to bird populations
and the habitats upon which they rely (Kociolek et al. 2011). The effects of roads on wildlife
depend on their location, density of road corridors and their level of use. Few natural areas in
southwestern and central Ontario are more than 1.5 km from existing roads (Ontario Ministry
of Natural Resources 2009). Roads between and within urban centres can have both direct and
indirect effects on birds and other wildlife, including disturbance of individual species attributed
to noise and dust, habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation (loss of suitable nest sites,
destruction of nest sites, decline of prey species), indirect mortality from increased
predator/prey contact, and increased exposure to invasive species. Recommended mixed wood
habitat conservation actions seek to mitigate the effects of roads through the implementation
of BMPs or mitigation guidelines to avoid habitat loss and degradation. The Widespread Issues
section of this strategy addresses mortality caused by collisions with vehicles.
Actions recommended to mitigate threats to priority species in mixed wood forests seek to
preserve and increase the amount and quality of forest habitat patches within the highly
developed landscape matrix of BCR 13 ON as well as to undertake awareness campaigns to
deter the unauthorized or accidental release of invasive non-native species (e.g., transport of
firewood harbouring pests such as the Emerald ash borer; Table 9).
The full list of threats to and information needs (sub-category 12.1) for priority species in mixed
wood habitats of BCR 13 ON as well as other conservation objectives and recommended actions
are presented in Table 9.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
P a g e | 48
VH
1.1 Housing & urban areas
1.2 Commercial & industrial areas
H
2.1 Annual & perennial non-timber crops
VH
2.3 Livestock farming & ranching
Threat Sub-category
3.2 Mining & quarrying
Low
4.1 Roads & railroads
Medium
M
High
4.3 Shipping lanes
5.3 Logging & wood harvesting
VH
Very High
Not Ranked
5.4 Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources
6.1 Recreational activities
L
6.3 Work & other activities
7.1 Fire & fire suppression
7.2 Dams & water management/use
7.3 Other ecosystem modifications
L
H
8.1 Invasive non-native/alien species
8.2 Problematic native species
L
8.3 Introduced genetic material
9.2 Industrial & military effluents
9.3 Agricultural & forestry effluents
H
12.1 Information lacking
0
5
10
15
20
Percent of Identified Threats
Figure 13. Percent of identified threats to priority species in mixed wood habitats in each threat
sub-category.
Each bar represents the percent of the total number of threats identified in each threat sub-category in mixed
wood habitat (for example, if 100 threats were identified in total for all priority species in mixed wood habitat, and
10 of those threats were in the category 1.1 Housing & urban areas, the bar on the graph would represent this as
10%). Threat sub-category 12.1 Information lacking was not ranked. The bars are divided to show the distribution
of Low (L), Medium (M), High (H) and Very High (VH) rankings of individual threats within each threat sub-category.
For example, the same threat may have been ranked H for one species and L for another; the shading illustrates
the proportion of L, M, H and VH rankings in the sub-category. The overall magnitude of the threat in mixed wood
habitat is shown at the end of each bar (also presented in Table 5). Only threats with a magnitude of medium or
higher are typically assigned habitat-specific conservation objectives.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
P a g e | 49
Table 9. Threats addressed, conservation objectives, recommended actions, and list of priority species affected in mixed wood habitats in BCR 13 ON.
Note: Issues such as collisions with human-made structures and vehicles, and climate change, are not addressed in this table; instead, they are addressed in the Widespread
Issues section.
Table 9 continued
Threat Subcategory
Threat Addressed
Objective
Category
Objectives
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species
1
Affected
1.1 Housing &
urban areas
Loss of forest
habitat due to
development
1.1. Ensure land
and resourceuse policies and
practices
maintain or
improve bird
habitat
Maintain, enhance or
restore the quality,
quantity and diversity
of forest habitats
across the BCR
1.1 Site/area
protection
Protect, restore and/or manage large
intact mixed forest tracts; mature and old
growth forests for priority forest birds.
1.2 Resource
and habitat
protection
At a watershed scale, maintain in
decreasing order of risk and increasing
order of preference: a minimum of
30%forest cover; 40%forest cover; or
50%forest cover or more. The 30%
minimum represents a high risk that less
than half the potential species will be
represented, while the 50% forest cover
equates to a low-risk approach that is
likely to support most of the potential
species (Environment Canada 2013a).
American Woodcock,
2
Common Nighthawk,
2
Eastern Whip-poor-will,
Eastern Wood-Pewee,
2
Olive-sided Flycatcher,
Red-shouldered Hawk,
Wood Thrush
2.3 Habitat and
natural process
restoration
Retain important habitat features such as
wildlife trees (e.g., stick nests, cavity
trees), snags and downed woody debris
(see A land manager's guide to conserving
habitat for forest birds in southern
Ontario, Ontario Ministry of Natural
Resources 2011).
American Woodcock,
2
Common Nighthawk,
2
Eastern Whip-poor-will,
Eastern Wood-Pewee,
2
Olive-sided Flycatcher,
Red-shouldered Hawk,
Wood Thrush
The proportion of a watershed that is
forest cover and 100 m or further from
the forest edge should be greater than
10% (Environment Canada 2013a).
1
While many priority species may benefit from proposed conservation actions, priority species not mentioned in this table are absent because 1) identified threats in this habitat
are of low magnitude, or 2) they are migrants with no threats identified in this habitat.
2
Species listed on Schedule 1 of SARA and/or on the SARO List, but for which there are no finalized recovery documents. Official documents related to SARA or SARO will prevail
when they are published however, interim conservation objectives and recommended actions are presented here.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
P a g e | 50
Table 9 continued
Threat Subcategory
Threat Addressed
Objective
Category
Objectives
Action Category
4.3 Awareness
and
communications
5.2 Policies and
regulations
Recommended Actions
Watershed forest cover should be
representative of the full diversity of
naturally occurring forest communities
found within the ecoregion. This should
include components of mature and old
growth forest (Environment Canada
2013a).
Promote the development and
management of woodlots according to
recognized silvicultural practices (e.g., A
land manager's guide to conserving
habitat for forest birds, Ontario Ministry
of Natural Resources, 2011).
Encourage municipalities to protect or
restore significant woodlots (e.g., mature,
old-growth), including having at least one,
and preferably several, 200-hectare forest
patches (Environment Canada 2013a).
Forest patches should be within two
kilometres of one another or other
supporting habitat features. “Big Woods”
areas, representing concentrations of
smaller forest patches as well as larger
forest patches, should be a cornerstone of
protection and enhancement within each
watershed or land unit (Environment
Canada 2013a).
Priority Species
1
Affected
American Woodcock,
2
Common Nighthawk,
2
Eastern Whip-poor-will,
Eastern Wood-Pewee,
2
Olive-sided Flycatcher,
Red-shouldered Hawk,
Wood Thrush
American Woodcock,
2
Common Nighthawk,
2
Eastern Whip-poor-will,
Eastern Wood-Pewee,
2
Olive-sided Flycatcher,
Red-shouldered Hawk,
Wood Thrush
Discourage "greenfield" development in
land-use planning and focus on
redevelopment and development within
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
P a g e | 51
Table 9 continued
Threat Subcategory
Threat Addressed
Objective
Category
Objectives
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species
1
Affected
existing urban areas.
8.1 Research
2.1 Annual &
perennial nontimber crops
Loss of forest
habitat due to
agricultural
conversion
Conduct research to increase
understanding of the effects of forest
condition, management practices, and
landscape variables (proximity for forests,
regional forest cover) on the abundance,
distribution and demographics of priority
forest birds.
Develop and/or implement species at risk
recovery strategies or management plans.
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements for
federal/provincial
Species at Risk
legislation.
3.2 Species
recovery
1.1. Ensure land
and resourceuse policies and
practices
maintain or
improve bird
habitat
Maintain, enhance or
restore the quality,
quantity and diversity
of forest habitats
across the BCR
1.1 Site/area
protection
Protect, restore and/or manage large
intact mixed forest tracts; mature and old
growth forests for priority forest birds.
1.2 Resource
and habitat
protection
At a watershed scale, maintain in
decreasing order of risk and increasing
order of preference: a minimum of 30%
forest cover; 40% forest cover; or 50%
forest cover or more. The 30% minimum
represents a high risk that less than half
the potential species will be represented,
while the 50% forest cover equates to a
low-risk approach that is likely to support
most of the potential species
(Environment Canada 2013a).
2.3 Habitat and
natural process
restoration
Retain important habitat features such as
wildlife trees (e.g., stick nests, cavity
trees), snags and downed woody debris
(see A land manager's guide to conserving
habitat for forest birds in southern
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Acadian Flycatcher,
Common Nighthawk,
Eastern Whip-poor-will,
Hooded Warbler,
Louisiana Waterthrush,
Olive-sided Flycatcher
American Woodcock,
2
Canada Warbler,
2
Common Nighthawk,
2
Eastern Whip-poor-will,
Northern Flicker, Olive2
sided Flycatcher, Redshouldered Hawk
American Woodcock,
2
Canada Warbler,
2
Common Nighthawk,
2
Eastern Whip-poor-will,
Northern Flicker, OliveJuly 2014
P a g e | 52
Table 9 continued
Threat Subcategory
Threat Addressed
Objective
Category
Objectives
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species
1
Affected
Ontario, Ontario Ministry of Natural
Resources 2011).
sided Flycatcher, Redshouldered Hawk
2
The proportion of a watershed that is
forest cover and 100 m or further from
the forest edge should be greater than
10% (Environment Canada 2013a).
Watershed forest cover should be
representative of the full diversity of
naturally occurring forest communities
found within the ecoregion. This should
include components of mature and old
growth forest (Environment Canada
2013a).
4.3 Awareness
and
communications
5.2 Policies and
regulations
Promote the development and
management of woodlots according to
recognized silvicultural practices (e.g., A
land manager's guide to conserving
habitat for forest birds, Ontario Ministry
of Natural Resources, 2011).
Encourage municipalities to protect or
restore significant woodlots (e.g., mature,
old-growth), including having at least one,
and preferably several, 200-hectare forest
patches (Environment Canada 2013a).
Forest patches should be within two
kilometres of one another or other
supporting habitat features. “Big Woods”
areas, representing concentrations of
smaller forest patches as well as larger
forest patches, should be a cornerstone of
protection and enhancement within each
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
American Woodcock,
2
Canada Warbler,
2
Common Nighthawk,
2
Eastern Whip-poor-will,
Northern Flicker, Olive2
sided Flycatcher, Redshouldered Hawk
July 2014
P a g e | 53
Table 9 continued
Threat Subcategory
Threat Addressed
Objective
Category
Objectives
Action Category
8.1 Research
Recommended Actions
watershed or land unit (Environment
Canada 2013a).
Conduct research to increase
understanding of the effects of forest
condition, management practices, and
landscape variables (proximity for forests,
regional forest cover) on the abundance,
distribution and demographics of priority
forest birds.
Develop and/or implement species at risk
recovery strategies or management plans.
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements for
federal/provincial
Species at Risk
legislation.
3.2 Species
recovery
Reduce/eliminate
habitat loss,
fragmentation,
degradation and
disturbance from the
construction and
maintenance of road
networks and
associated
infrastructure.
Maintain or restore
the quality, quantity
and diversity of forest
habitats across the
BCR
5.2 Policies and
regulations
Develop and/or implement existing BMPs
or mitigation guidelines to avoid habitat
loss, fragmentation and/or degradation
from road construction and maintenance.
1.1 Site/area
protection
Protect, restore and/or manage large
intact mixed forest tracts; mature and old
growth forests for priority forest birds.
1.2 Resource
and habitat
protection
At a watershed scale, maintain in
decreasing order of risk and increasing
order of preference: a minimum of 30%
forest cover; 40% forest cover; or 50%
4.1 Roads &
railroads
Habitat loss,
fragmentation, and
degradation from
the construction
and maintenance of
transportation
networks
1.1 Ensure land
and resourceuse policies and
practices
maintain or
improve bird
habitat
5.3 Logging &
wood harvesting
Loss of forest
habitat due to
logging practices.
1.1 Ensure land
and resourceuse policies and
practices
maintain or
improve bird
habitat
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Priority Species
1
Affected
Acadian Flycatcher,
Common Nighthawk,
Eastern Whip-poor-will,
Hooded Warbler,
Louisiana Waterthrush,
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Eastern Wood-Pewee,
Red-shouldered Hawk,
Wood Thrush
2
Common Nighthawk,
2
Eastern Whip-poor-will,
Northern Flicker, Olive2
sided Flycatcher, Redshouldered Hawk
July 2014
P a g e | 54
Table 9 continued
Threat Subcategory
Threat Addressed
Objective
Category
Objectives
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species
1
Affected
forest cover or more. The 30% minimum
represents a high risk that less than half
the potential species will be represented,
while the 50% forest cover equates to a
low-risk approach that is likely to support
most of the potential species
(Environment Canada 2013a).
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
2.3 Habitat and
natural resource
protection
Retain important habitat features such as
wildlife trees (e.g., stick nests, cavity
trees) and downed woody debris (see A
land manager's guide to conserving
habitat for forest bird in southern Ontario,
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources,
2011).
4.3 Awareness
and
communications
Promote the development and
management of woodlots according to
recognized silvicultural practices (e.g., A
land manager's guide to conserving
habitat for forest birds in southern
Ontario, Ontario Ministry of Natural
Resources, 2011).
5.2 Policies and
regulations
Encourage municipalities to protect or
restore significant woodlots (e.g., mature,
old-growth), including having at least one,
and preferably several, 200-hectare forest
patches (Environment Canada, 2013a).
8.1 Research
Conduct research to increase
understanding of the effects of forest
condition, management practices, and
landscape variables (proximity for forests,
regional forest cover) on the abundance,
distribution and demography of priority
2
Common Nighthawk,
2
Eastern Whip-poor-will,
Northern Flicker, Olive2
sided Flycatcher, Redshouldered Hawk
July 2014
P a g e | 55
Table 9 continued
Threat Subcategory
Threat Addressed
Objective
Category
Objectives
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species
1
Affected
forest birds.
8.1 Invasive nonnative/alien
species
9.3 Agricultural
& forestry
effluents
Outbreaks of
invasive, non-native
forest insects and
tree diseases are an
ongoing concern for
forest habitats (e.g.,
Emerald Ash Borer,
Butternut canker)
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements for
federal/provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
3.2 Species
recovery
Develop and/or implement species at risk
recovery strategies or management plans.
3.5. Prevent and
control the
spread of
invasive and
exotic species
Prevent and control
the spread of invasive
and invasive nonnative species
2.1 Site/area
management
Follow guidance provided in provincial
forest management guides (e.g., Forest
Health Landowner's Guide: When Invasive
Species Threaten Your Woodlot, Ontario
Ministry of Natural Resources, 2008a).
4.3 Awareness
and
communications
Support public awareness efforts to deter
unauthorized or accidental releases of
invasive non-native species.
5.2 Policies and
regulations
Develop and/or strengthen policies or
regulatory measures geared to preventing
the introduction and spread of invasive
non-native species (e.g., Emerald ash
borer) and diseases.
Develop and/or implement species at risk
recovery strategies or management plans.
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
5.1 Maintain
natural food
webs and prey
sources
Loss of food source
due to non-selective
pesticide use (e.g.,
reduction in prey
insects, leaching to
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Meet the legal
requirements for a
federal/provincial
Species at Risk.
Maintain/improve
forest habitat quality
by reducing pesticide
use
3.2 Species
recovery
5.3 Private
sector standards
and codes
Develop or implement existing BMPs to
reduce potential risks to birds and their
habitats resulting from pesticide use in
forestry/agriculture.
Acadian Flycatcher,
Common Nighthawk,
Eastern Whip-poor-will,
Hooded Warbler,
Louisiana Waterthrush,
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Red-shouldered Hawk,
Wood Thrush
Acadian Flycatcher,
Hooded Warbler
2
Common Nighthawk,
2
Eastern Whip-poor-will
July 2014
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Table 9 continued
Threat Subcategory
Threat Addressed
Objective
Category
Objectives
Action Category
Recommended Actions
5.4 Compliance
and
enforcement
3.2 Species
recovery
Continue to monitor and enforce
compliance with laws, policies and
regulations at all levels.
Develop and/or implement species at risk
recovery strategies or management plans.
8.2 Monitoring
Improve monitoring efforts to increase
reliability of population status/trend for
crepuscular species not well sampled by
the Breeding Bird Survey.
8.2 Monitoring
Encourage submissions of current and
historic nest record data to the Ontario
Nest Records Scheme/Project NestWatch
to improve understanding of changes in
productivity.
Identify factors causing population decline
and/or limiting population growth of
aerial-foraging insectivores.
Priority Species
1
Affected
adjacent habitats)
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
12.1 Information
lacking
Lack of knowledge
(trend, population
size, and/or
distribution range)
7.1 Improve
population/
demographic
monitoring
Lack of information
on factors causing
population declines
7.1 Improve
population/
demographic
monitoring
7.4 Improve
understanding
of causes of
population
declines
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Meet the legal
requirements for
federal/provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
Improve monitoring
efforts to increase
reliability of
population
status/trend
Improve
population/demograp
hic monitoring of
aerial insectivores
Determine sources of
mortality or
population decline(s)
8.1 Research
Determine cause(s) of
population decline
8.1 Research
Determine cause(s) of
population decline
8.1 Research
Conduct research to better determine
cause of general population decline
including effects of forest management
treatments on breeding density,
productivity and survivorship
Investigate potential causes of population
decline including studying population
demographics across a range of nesting
sites and management regimes.
2
Common Nighthawk,
2
Eastern Whip-poor-will
2
Common Nighthawk,
2
Eastern Whip-poor-will
Canada Warbler
2
Olive-sided Flycatcher
July 2014
2
P a g e | 57
Table 9 continued
Threat Subcategory
Threat Addressed
Objective
Category
Objectives
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Meet the legal
requirements for
federal/provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
Action Category
3.2 Species
recovery
Recommended Actions
Priority Species
1
Affected
Develop and/or implement species at risk
recovery strategies or management plans.
2
Canada Warbler,
2
Common Nighthawk,
2
Eastern Whip-poor-will,
2
Olive-sided Flycatcher
July 2014
P a g e | 58
Shrub and Early Successional
Shrub and early successional habitat as defined primarily by SOLRIS include tallgrass woodland,
treed sand barrens and dunes, and vegetated shoreline (Table 1). Shrub and early successional
habitats are generally transient, occurring where disturbance has removed the tree cover and
the vegetation is dominated by shrubby, early seral 8 forms. The current extent of these habitats
in southern Ontario is difficult to measure given the inherently unstable nature of successional
habitats. They are difficult to differentiate from other classes in satellite imagery and are likely
underrepresented in SOLRIS accounting for only 0.02% of the land cover/land use (Table 1;
Fig. 14). Some estimates suggest that the actual amount of shrub and early successional habitat
within a forest matrix in BCR 13 ON might be 7.5% or greater (Larson et al. 1999).
Figure 14. Map of shrub and early successional habitat in BCR 13 ON.
Eleven priority species use shrub and early successional habitats extensively in BCR 13 ON
(Table 10). All are landbirds, except the American Woodcock, a shorebird. Included in this list
are four species at risk: the Golden-winged Warbler, the Kirtland’s Warbler, the Loggerhead
Shrike (migrans subspecies) and the Yellow-breasted Chat (virens subspecies).
8
An intermediate stage found in ecological succession in an ecosystem advancing towards its climax community.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
P a g e | 59
American
Woodcock
Black-billed
Cuckoo
Blue-winged
Warbler
Brown Thrasher
Eastern Towhee
Field Sparrow
Golden-winged
Warbler
Kirtland's
Warbler
Loggerhead
Shrike (migrans)
Prairie Warbler
Yellow-breasted
Chat (virens)
Shrubby old fields and forest openings
Shrubby old fields and thickets; forest
edges and openings
Dense early to mid-successional
shrubland
Shrubby overgrown pastures; shrubby
thickets, hedgerows
Shrubby old fields and early successional
habitat
Shrubby old fields, forest edges,
roadsides, brushy sand dunes
Shrubby old fields, forest edges and
openings
Thickets; fire-dependant habitat
specialist
Early successional shrubby fields
Shrubby early to mid-successional
habitats on sand plains; shrubby old
fields with common juniper.
Thickets, shrubby old fields, young
coniferous reforestations.
Regional/Sub-regional
5
Concern
Regional/Sub-regional
6
Stewardship
National/Continental
Concern
National/Continental
Stewardship
4
Population
Objective
SARO
1
3
Habitat Description
SARA
Priority Species
COSEWIC
2
Table 10. Priority species associated with shrub and early successional habitats in BCR 13 ON, habitat
descriptions, population objectives and reasons for priority status.
Increase
Y
Increase
Y
Maintain current
Y
Increase
Y
Increase
Y
Increase
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
7
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Recovery objective
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Recovery objective
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Recovery objective
Assess/Maintain
Recovery objective
Y
Y
Y
The trend towards reforestation in Southern Ontario has had positive effects for priority bird
species in forest habitats, but this reforestation may have come at the expense of shrub and
early successional habitats. These habitats depend on natural or anthropogenic disturbances to
1
Habitat descriptions are based on information found in the Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario, 2001–2005;
Ontario Partners in Flight, 2008 and the Land Cover Classification System (LCCS; see Kennedy et al. 2012).
2
Assessed by COSEWIC as E, Endangered; T, Threatened; SC, Special Concern.
3
Species listed on Schedule 1 of SARA as E, Endangered; T, Threatened; SC, Special Concern.
4
Species listed as Endangered, Threatened or Special Concern on the SARO List.
5
Regional refers to BCR-wide (i.e., all jurisdictional data were used for the entire BCR) while sub-regional refers to
the Ontario portion of the BCR only (i.e., Ontario BCR data were used).
6
Only the landbird pillar distinguishes stewardship species from other priority species (see Panjabi et al. 2005).
7
Species listed on Schedule 1 of SARA and/or SARO, but for which there are no finalized recovery documents.
Official documents related to SARA or SARO will prevail when they are published; however, the interim population
objective for the Golden-winged Warbler in BCR 13 ON is: Maintain current.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
Y
P a g e | 60
remain in an early successional state, and suppression of these disturbances may have led to a
reduction in the amount and quality of shrub and early successional habitats in the region. In
particular, suppression of fire, allowing shrub habitat to revert to forest, was noted as a
significant threat to priority birds in this habitat class (threat sub-category 7.1; very high overall
magnitude). Associated conservation actions encourage management practices that inhibit and
reduce encroachment of woody vegetation (e.g., prescribed burns, grazing, strategic periodic
cutting to prevent tree growth).
Habitat availability is an important factor for all shrub and early successional priority species
given the inherently short-lived or dynamic nature of successional habitats. Habitat loss as a
result of development (sub-category 1.1; Fig 15) and agricultural intensification (sub-category
2.1), including loss of hedgerows and cultivation of fallow fields, were identified as high overall
magnitude threats to priority species in this habitat. A range of conservation actions are
presented to address these threats, many of which relate to landscape-level planning to ensure
an adequate quantity of shrub and early successional habitats, as well as the development of
educational material for rural landowners and land managers to raise public awareness of the
conservation value of "scrubby" lands (Table 11). Relatively little is known about the specific
habitat requirements of the priority species, and given that the trend in availability of shrub
habitat in BCR 13 ON is unknown, additional conservation actions focus on improving our
understanding of trends in the availability and quality of shrub habitats, and the effects of
management techniques on species’ productivity.
Problematic native species (sub-category 8.2) were assessed as a high overall magnitude threat
to two species: namely, Kirtland’s Warbler and the Golden-winged Warbler, both of which are
federally and provincially listed species at risk (Fig. 15). Brood parasitism by Brown-headed
Cowbirds is considered a threat to the survival of Kirtland’s Warbler (Environment Canada
2006). According to national Breeding Bird Survey data (Environment Canada 2014), the
Golden-winged Warbler has declined by 79% over the last 10 years. The main threat appears to
be competition and genetic swamping (hybridization) from the closely-related Blue-winged
Warbler, which is spreading north because of habitat change and perhaps climate change
(COSEWIC 2006). Conservation actions for Golden-winged Warbler include research to assess
the effects of habitat management techniques on the abundance, productivity, recruitment and
site fidelity of both species as well as to study habitat partitioning and hybridization between
the two (Table 11).
Mortality from collisions with buildings, communication towers or windows (sub-category 1.2)
was assessed as a high-magnitude threat for priority species in early successional habitats.
Given that the effects of this threat are widespread, conservation objectives and actions are
presented in the Widespread Issues section of this strategy, instead of in Table 11 below.
The full list of threats to and information needs for priority species in shrub and early
successional habitats of BCR 13 ON as well as the conservation objectives and recommended
actions are presented in Table 11.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
P a g e | 61
H
1.1 Housing & urban areas
1.2 Commercial & industrial areas
H
2.1 Annual & perennial non-timber crops
H
2.3 Livestock farming & ranching
Low
Threat Sub-category
3.2 Mining & quarrying
Medium
4.1 Roads & railroads
High
4.3 Shipping lanes
Very High
5.3 Logging & wood harvesting
Not Ranked
5.4 Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources
L
6.1 Recreational activities
6.3 Work & other activities
7.1 Fire & fire suppression
VH
7.2 Dams & water management/use
7.3 Other ecosystem modifications
8.1 Invasive non-native/alien species
L
8.2 Problematic native species
H
8.3 Introduced genetic material
9.2 Industrial & military effluents
L
9.3 Agricultural & forestry effluents
12.1 Information lacking
0
5
10
15
20
25
Percent of Identified Threats
Figure 15. Percent of identified threats to priority species in shrub and early successional habitats in
each threat sub-category by magnitude.
Each bar represents the percent of the total number of threats identified in each threat sub-category in shrub and
early successional habitat (for example, if 100 threats were identified in total for all priority species in shrub and
early successional habitat, and 10 of those threats were in the category 1.1 Housing & urban areas, the bar on the
graph would represent this as 10%). Threat sub-category 12.1 Information lacking was not ranked. The bars are
divided to show the distribution of Low (L), Medium (M), High (H) and Very High (VH) rankings of individual threats
within each threat sub-category. For example, the same threat may have been ranked H for one species and L for
another; the shading illustrates the proportion of L, M, H and VH rankings in the sub-category. The overall
magnitude of the threat in shrub and early successional habitat is shown at the end of each bar (also presented in
Table 5). Only threats with a magnitude of medium or higher are typically assigned habitat-specific conservation
objectives.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
P a g e | 62
Table 11. Threats addressed, conservation objectives, recommended actions, and list of priority species affected in shrub and early
successional habitats in BCR 13 ON.
Note: Issues such as collisions with human-made structures and climate change are not addressed in this table; instead, they are addressed in the Widespread
Issues section.
Table 11 continued
Threat
Sub-category
Threat Addressed
Objective
Category
Objective
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species
1
Affected
1.1 Housing &
urban areas
Loss of shrub/early
successional
habitat due to
development
1.1. Ensure land
and resourceuse policies and
practices
maintain or
improve bird
habitat
Maintain, restore or
enhance the
quantity, quality and
diversity of shrub and
early successional
habitats across the
BCR
1.2 Resource and
habitat protection
Conserve and manage
shrubland habitats in areas of
importance to priority
shrub/early successional
species.
Develop landscape-level
management plans for rightsof-way, transmission corridors,
and other managed
shrub/early successional
habitats to ensure an adequate
and diverse supply of
shrub/early successional
habitat
Promote the development of
educational material for rural
landowners and land managers
to raise public awareness of
the conservation value of
"scrubby" lands (e.g., Birds on
the Farm: A Stewardship
Guide. McGauley 2004)
American Woodcock,
Black-billed Cuckoo,
Blue-winged Warbler,
Brown Thrasher,
Eastern Towhee,
Field Sparrow,
Golden-winged
2
Warbler, Prairie
Warbler
2.1 Site/area
management
4.3 Awareness
and
communications
1
While many priority species may benefit from proposed conservation actions, priority species not mentioned in this table are absent because 1) identified threats in this habitat
are of low magnitude, or 2) they are migrants with no threats identified in this habitat.
2
Species listed on Schedule 1 of SARA and/or on the SARO List, but for which there are no finalized recovery documents. Official documents related to SARA or SARO will prevail
when they are published; however, interim conservation objectives and recommended actions are presented here.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
P a g e | 63
Table 11 continued
Threat
Sub-category
Threat Addressed
Objective
Category
Objective
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species
1
Affected
8.1 Research
Determine an appropriate
guideline for the minimum
threshold area needed to
maintain shrubland bird
biodiversity throughout this
region (Ontario Partners in
Flight 2008).
American Woodcock,
Black-billed Cuckoo,
Blue-winged Warbler,
Brown Thrasher,
Eastern Towhee,
Field Sparrow,
Golden-winged
2
Warbler, Prairie
Warbler
Evaluate the effects of
increasing the amount of
shrub/early successional
habitat and/or using various
habitat management
techniques at demonstration
sites on the abundance,
productivity and site fidelity of
priority shrub/early
successional species.
8.2 Monitoring
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Meet the legal
requirements for
federal/provincial
Species at Risk
legislation.
3.2 Species
recovery
Maintain or improve
successional forest habitat
mapping across BCR 13 ON
(Ontario Partners in Flight
2008).
Develop and/or implement
species at risk recovery
strategies or management
plans.
Golden-winged
Warbler, Loggerhead
Shrike (migrans),
Yellow-breasted Chat
(virens)
July 2014
P a g e | 64
Table 11 continued
Threat
Sub-category
Threat Addressed
Objective
Category
Objective
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species
1
Affected
2.1 Annual &
perennial nontimber crops
Loss of shrub/early
successional
habitat due to
agricultural
intensification (e.g.,
loss of fallow fields
and hedgerows)
1.1. Ensure land
and resourceuse policies and
practices
maintain or
improve bird
habitat
Maintain, restore or
enhance the
quantity, quality and
diversity of shrub and
early successional
habitats across the
BCR
1.2 Resource and
habitat protection
Conserve and manage
shrubland habitats in areas of
importance to priority
shrub/early successional
species.
Promote the development of
educational material for rural
landowners and land managers
to raise public awareness of
the conservation value of
"scrubby" lands (e.g., Birds on
the Farm booklet by McGauley
2004)
Determine an appropriate
guideline for the minimum
threshold area needed to
maintain shrubland bird
biodiversity throughout this
region (Ontario Partners in
Flight 2008).
American Woodcock,
Black-billed Cuckoo,
Blue-winged Warbler,
Brown Thrasher,
Eastern Towhee,
Field Sparrow,
Golden-winged
2
Warbler, Prairie
Warbler
4.3 Awareness
and
communications
8.1 Research
Evaluate the effects of
increasing the amount of
shrub/early successional
habitat and/or using various
habitat management
techniques at demonstration
sites on the abundance,
productivity and site fidelity of
priority shrub/early
successional species.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
P a g e | 65
Table 11 continued
Threat
Sub-category
7.1 Fire & fire
suppression
Threat Addressed
Absence of fire or
natural periodic
disturbance allows
natural succession
and decline of
habitat
quality/quantity
Objective
Category
Objective
Action Category
Recommended Actions
8.2 Monitoring
Maintain or improve
successional forest habitat
mapping across BCR 13 ON
(Ontario Partners in Flight
2008).
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements for
federal/provincial
Species at Risk
legislation.
3.2 Species
recovery
Develop and/or implement
species at risk recovery
strategies or management
plans.
Loggerhead Shrike
(migrans), Yellowbreasted Chat
(virens)
1.3. Ensure the
continuation of
natural
processes that
maintain bird
habitat
Maintain, restore or
enhance the
quantity, quality and
diversity of shrub and
successional habitats
across the BCR
2.1 Site/area
management
Encourage management
practices that inhibit and
reduce encroachment of
woody vegetation (e.g.,
grazing, strategic periodic
cutting to prevent tree
growth).
Implement prescribed burn
management activities as
required for management of
shrubland communities on
public lands. Avoid burns
during nesting and broodrearing periods.
Blue-winged Warbler,
Brown Thrasher,
Eastern Towhee,
Field Sparrow,
Loggerhead Shrike
(migrans), Prairie
Warbler, Yellowbreasted Chat
(virens)
2.3 Habitat and
natural process
restoration
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Priority Species
1
Affected
July 2014
P a g e | 66
Table 11 continued
Threat
Sub-category
8.2
Problematic
native species
Threat Addressed
Golden-winged
Warblers are
threatened by
hybridization with
Blue-winged
Warbler.
Objective
Category
Objective
Action Category
Recommended Actions
8.1 Research
Evaluate the effects of
increasing the amount of
shrub/early successional
habitat and/or using various
habitat management
techniques at demonstration
sites on the abundance,
productivity and site fidelity of
priority shrub/early
successional landbirds.
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements for
federal/provincial
Species at Risk
legislation.
3.2 Species
recovery
7.4 Improve
understanding
of causes of
population
declines
Improve
understanding of
basic ecology and
potential limiting
factors
8.1 Research
Priority Species
1
Affected
Determine an appropriate
guideline for the minimum
threshold needed to maintain
shrubland bird biodiversity
throughout this region.
Develop and/or implement
species at risk recovery
strategies or management
plans.
Assess the effects of habitat
management techniques on
the abundance, productivity,
recruitment and site fidelity of
Blue-winged and Goldenwinged Warblers.
Loggerhead Shrike
(migrans), Yellowbreasted Chat
(virens)
Golden-winged
2
Warbler
Study habitat partitioning and
hybridization between Bluewinged and Golden-winged
Warblers in Ontario.
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July 2014
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Table 11 continued
Threat
Sub-category
12.1
Information
lacking
Threat Addressed
Objective
Category
Objective
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species
1
Affected
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements for
federal/provincial
Species at Risk
legislation.
3.2 Species
recovery
Develop and/or implement
species at risk recovery
strategies or management
plans.
Golden-winged
Warbler
Brood Parasitism by
Brown-headed
Cowbird (reduces
both hatchling and
fledgling success)
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements for
federal/provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
3.2 Species
recovery
Develop and/or implement
species at risk recovery
strategies or management
plans.
Kirtland’s Warbler
Lack of knowledge
(trend, population
size, and/or
distribution range)
7.1 Improve
population/
demographic
monitoring
Improve monitoring
efforts to increase
reliability of
population
status/trend
8.2 Monitoring
Improve monitoring efforts to
increase reliability of
population status/trend for
species not well sampled by
the Breeding Bird Survey (small
population occurring in areas
away from roads).
Prairie Warbler
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Herbaceous
Less than 1% of the land cover/land use classes in BCR 13 ON are attributed to herbaceous
habitat and include naturally open habitats such as tallgrass prairie, tallgrass savannah and
alvar (Table 1; Fig. 16). While vegetation varies in each alvar type, many in southern Ontario
share grassland characteristics, and as such are being considered in this native grassland
discussion (Environment Canada, 2013a). Prior to European settlement, forests dominated the
landscape, but open alvar habitats, grasslands and savannahs (i.e., part forest, part prairie)
covered at least 1.3% of the landscape and perhaps as much as 10% (Rodger 1998). In addition,
small, often ephemeral, open habitat patches such as forest meadows, floodplain meadows and
beaver meadows were embedded throughout the historic forests of BCR 13 ON. These habitats
remain rare in Ontario. Up to 97% of the original prairie and savannah has been lost (Rodger
1998). Alvar habitats are rare globally (Bronwell and Riley 2000) and were likely always rare
within BCR 13 ON.
Figure 16. Map of herbaceous habitat in BCR 13 ON.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
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Twenty-two priority species use herbaceous habitats in BCR 13 ON, including 9 species at risk
(Table 12). Included in this list are birds that nest in native grasslands such as the Bobolink (a
provincially threatened species), the Green-winged Teal and the Upland Sandpiper. Also
included are birds that forage in these open areas, such as the American Kestrel, and aerial
insectivores that forage on the wing over these open habitats, such as the Purple Martin and
the provincially threatened Barn Swallow.
Table 12. Priority species associated with herbaceous habitats in BCR 13 ON, habitat descriptions,
population objectives and reasons for priority status.
American Kestrel
Native grasslands (foraging)
Bank Swallow
Native grasslands (foraging)
near nesting sites; banks along
shorelines; sand and gravel pits
Barn Owl
Maintain current
Y
Increase
Y
Native grasslands (foraging)
Recovery objective
Y
Barn Swallow
Native grasslands (foraging)
Recovery objective
Y
Blue-winged Teal
Dense, short to medium- tall
native grasslands adjacent to
wetlands
Increase
Bobolink
Native tall grasslands
Recovery objective
Y
Common
Nighthawk
Alvars; sparsely vegetated rock
outcrops
Recovery objective
7
Y
Eastern Kingbird
Native grasslands; savannah
Increase
Regional/Sub-regional
5
Concern
Regional/Sub-regional
6
Stewardship
National/Continental
Concern
National/Continental
Stewardship
4
Population
Objective
SARO
1
3
Habitat Description
SARA
Priority Species
COSEWIC
2
Table 12 continued
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
1
Habitat descriptions are based on information found in the Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario (2001–2005),
Neave and Baldwin (2011), and Birds of North America Online.
2
Assessed by COSEWIC as E, Endangered; T, Threatened; SC, Special Concern.
3
Species listed on Schedule 1 of SARA as E, Endangered; T, Threatened; SC, Special Concern.
4
Species listed as Endangered, Threatened or Special Concern on the SARO List.
5
Regional refers to BCR-wide (i.e., all jurisdictional data were used for the entire BCR) while sub-regional refers to
the Ontario portion of the BCR only (i.e., Ontario BCR data were used).
6
Only the landbird group distinguishes stewardship species from other priority species (see Panjabi et al. 2005).
7
Species listed on Schedule 1 of SARA and/or SARO, but for which there are no finalized recovery documents.
Official documents related to SARA or SARO will prevail when they are published; however, the interim population
objectives for these species in BCR 13 ON are: Common Nighthawk: Increase; Northern Bobwhite: Maintain
Current; Short-eared Owl: Assess/Maintain.
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Eastern
Meadowlark
Grasshopper
Sparrow
Green-winged
Teal
Henslow's
Sparrow
Native grasslands; prairie; short,
moderately dense grasslands
with few forbs
Dry, sparsely- vegetated, native
short-grass areas
Native grasslands adjacent to
wetlands
Tall, dense native grasslands;
high percentage standing, dead,
residual plant cover
Y
Increase
Y
Y
Regional/Sub-regional
5
Concern
Regional/Sub-regional
6
Stewardship
National/Continental
Concern
National/Continental
Stewardship
Recovery objective
4
Population
Objective
SARO
1
3
Habitat Description
SARA
Priority Species
COSEWIC
2
Table 12 continued
Y
Y
Maintain current
Y
Recovery objective
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Recovery objective
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Loggerhead
Shrike (migrans)
Alvar
Mallard
Native grasslands adjacent to
wetlands
Northern
Bobwhite
Native grasslands; oak savannah
Northern Harrier
Native tall grasslands; prairie
Maintain current
Y
Northern Roughwinged Swallow
Native grasslands (foraging)
Increase
Y
Purple Martin
Native grasslands (foraging)
Increase
Y
Savannah
Sparrow
Native grasslands with forbs
Increase
Y
Short-eared Owl
Tall native grasslands
Upland Sandpiper
Vesper Sparrow
Dry, short to medium native
grasslands
Dry, native short-grass habitats
with scattered perches
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Y
Increase
Recovery objective
7
7
Recovery objective
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Increase
Y
Increase
Y
July 2014
Y
Y
P a g e | 71
These herbaceous habitats were among the few open habitats available prior to European
settlement, and continue to play a role in the conservation of grassland and open-country birds
in BCR 13 ON. The most significant threats (i.e., very high and high overall magnitude) to
priority birds identified in herbaceous habitats are those related to habitat loss and degradation
from a variety of sources including urban development (threat sub-category 1.1; Fig. 17),
conversion to agriculture (sub-category 2.1), sustained overgrazing (sub-category 2.3), and lack
of fire or active native grassland management causing natural succession and decline in habitat
quantity and/or quality (sub-category 7.1).
Among the priority species using native tallgrass prairie is the Northern Bobwhite, a species
listed as endangered both provincially and federally. A majority, perhaps all, of Canada’s
remaining native breeding population of this species is on Walpole Island in southwestern
Ontario (COSEWIC 2003). Elsewhere in the species’ restricted range, interbreeding with nonnative captive-reared birds (with lower survival rates) may have served to dilute the native gene
pool. The potential for ongoing interbreeding between captive-reared and native birds is
considered a significant, very high-magnitude threat to this species (sub-category 8.3).
Recommended conservation actions are diverse and aim to maintain and restore quality,
quantity and diversity of native grassland habitats across the BCR. As is the case for all habitats
important to aerial insectivores, research and monitoring actions focus on improving our
understanding of sources of mortality and changes in productivity to inform future
conservation actions aimed at reversing population declines (Table 13). For these rare and
restricted natural habitats, protection is also an important conservation action. Recent activities
by the Nature Conservancy of Canada and partners have succeeded in protecting significant
alvar habitats in the Carden Plain (2500 ha), and ongoing work by the Ontario Ministry of
Natural Resources, Tallgrass Ontario, naturalist clubs and ENGOs seeks to protect other
remnant native grassland habitats in areas such as the Bruce Peninsula, Manitoulin Island and
the Napanee Plain.
The full list of threats to and information needs (sub-category 12.1) for priority species in
herbaceous habitats of BCR 13 ON as well as the conservation objectives and recommended
actions are presented in Table 13. Note that although mortality related to collisions with
buildings (sub-category 1.2 Commercial and industrial areas) and collisions with vehicles (subcategory 4.1 Roads and railroads) are high overall magnitude threats to priority species in this
habitat, they are not examined in Table 13, given that the effects of these threats are
widespread. They are instead addressed in the Widespread Issues section of this strategy.
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H
1.1 Housing & urban areas
1.2 Commercial & industrial areas
H
H
Threat Sub-category
2.1 Annual & perennial non-timber crops
2.3 Livestock farming & ranching
H
3.2 Mining & quarrying
M
4.1 Roads & railroads
Low
Medium
H
High
4.3 Shipping lanes
Very High
5.3 Logging & wood harvesting
Not Ranked
5.4 Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources
6.1 Recreational activities
M
6.3 Work & other activities
VH
7.1 Fire & fire suppression
7.2 Dams & water management/use
7.3 Other ecosystem modifications
8.1 Invasive non-native/alien species
M
8.2 Problematic native species
L
8.3 Introduced genetic material
H
9.2 Industrial & military effluents
9.3 Agricultural & forestry effluents
12.1 Information lacking
0
5
10
20
15
Percent of Identified Threats
Figure 17. Percent of identified threats to priority species in herbaceous habitats in each threat
sub-category.
Each bar represents the percent of the total number of threats identified in each threat sub-category in
herbaceous habitat (for example, if 100 threats were identified in total for all priority species in herbaceous
habitat, and 10 of those threats were in the category 1.1 Housing & urban areas, the bar on the graph would
represent this as 10%). Threat sub-category 12.1 Information lacking was not ranked. The bars are divided to show
the distribution of Low (L), Medium (M), High (H) and Very High (VH) rankings of individual threats within each
threat sub-category. For example, the same threat may have been ranked H for one species and L for another; the
shading illustrates the proportion of L, M, H and VH rankings in the sub-category. The overall magnitude of the
threat in herbaceous habitat is shown at the end of each bar (also presented in Table 5). Only threats with a
magnitude of medium or higher are typically assigned habitat-specific conservation objectives.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
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Table 13. Threats addressed, conservation objectives, recommended actions and list of priority species affected in herbaceous habitats in BCR
13 ON.
Note: Issues such as collisions with human-made structures and vehicles, and climate change and pollution, are not addressed in this table; instead, they are
addressed in the Widespread Issues section.
Table 13 continued
1
Threat
Sub-category
Threat Addressed
Objective
Category
Objective
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species Affected
1.1 Housing
& urban
areas
Loss of native
grassland habitat
due to
development
1.1. Ensure land
and resourceuse policies and
practices
maintain or
improve bird
habitat
Maintain/restore
quality, quantity
and diversity of
native grassland
habitats across
the BCR
1.1 Site/area
protection
Expand a network of protected
native grassland communities
(e.g., alvar, tallgrass prairie,
tallgrass savannah).
2.1 Site/area
management
Some grassland habitat should
be located adjacent to
hedgerows, riparian and
wetland habitats for species
that require different habitat
types in close proximity
(Environment Canada 2013a).
American Kestrel, Bank
Swallow, Barn Owl, Bluewinged Teal, Common
2
Nighthawk, Eastern
Kingbird, Grasshopper
Sparrow, Green-winged Teal,
Northern Bobwhite,
Northern Harrier, Northern
Rough-winged Swallow,
Purple Martin, Savannah
Sparrow, Short-eared Owl,
Upland Sandpiper, Vesper
Sparrow
Retain large snags and mature
trees in open native grassland
settings for nesting cavities and
hunting perches; install nest
boxes where natural cavities
are limiting.
1
While many priority species may benefit from proposed conservation actions, priority species not mentioned in this table are absent because 1) identified threats in this habitat
are of low magnitude, or 2) they are migrants with no threats identified in this habitat.
2
Species listed on Schedule 1 of SARA and/or on the SARO List, but for which there are no finalized recovery documents. Official documents related to SARA or SARO will prevail
when they are published; however, interim conservation objectives and recommended actions are presented here.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
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Table 13 continued
Threat
Sub-category
Threat Addressed
Objective
Category
Objective
Recommended Actions
Priority Species Affected
2.3 Habitat and
natural process
restoration
Maintain, restore and create
native grassland patches to
their historic extent and type at
a county, municipal and/or
watershed scale considering
past presence and current
conditions.
American Kestrel, Bank
Swallow, Barn Owl, Bluewinged Teal, Common
2
Nighthawk, Eastern
Kingbird, Grasshopper
Sparrow, Green-winged Teal,
Northern Bobwhite,
Northern Harrier, Northern
Rough-winged Swallow,
Purple Martin, Savannah
Sparrow, Short-eared Owl,
Upland Sandpiper, Vesper
Sparrow
4.3 Awareness
and
communications
5.2 Policies and
regulations
8.1 Research
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
1
Action Category
Grassland habitat patches
should be clustered or
aggregated, and any
intervening land cover should
be open or semi-open in order
to be permeable to species
movement (Environment
Canada 2013a).
Raise public awareness and
appreciation of native grassland
communities.
Encourage public land
managers to include native
grassland conservation in their
regional land-use policies and
planning efforts.
Evaluate the effect of various
land management practices on
the abundance, distribution and
demographics of priority
grassland birds.
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Table 13 continued
Threat
Sub-category
2.1 Annual &
perennial
non-timber
crops
Threat Addressed
Loss of native
grassland habitat
to agricultural
conversion
1
Objective
Category
Objective
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species Affected
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements for
federal/provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
3.2 Species
recovery
Develop and/or implement
species at risk recovery
strategies or management
plans.
Barn Owl, Barn Swallow,
Bobolink, Common
Nighthawk, Eastern
Meadowlark, Henslow’s
Sparrow, Loggerhead Shrike
(migrans), Northern
2
Bobwhite, Short-eared Owl
1.1. Ensure land
and resourceuse policies and
practices
maintain or
improve bird
habitat
Maintain/restore
quality, quantity
and diversity of
native grassland
habitats across
the BCR
1.1 Site/area
protection
Expand a network of protected
native grassland communities
(e.g., alvar, tallgrass prairie,
tallgrass savannah).
Retain large snags and mature
trees in open native grassland
settings for nesting cavities and
hunting perches; install nest
boxes where natural cavities
are limiting.
Maintain, restore and create
native grassland patches to
their historic extent and type at
a county, municipal and/or
watershed scale considering
past presence and current
conditions.
American Kestrel, Bank
Swallow, Barn Owl, Bluewinged Teal, Common
2
Nighthawk, Eastern
Kingbird, Grasshopper
Sparrow, Green-winged Teal,
2
Northern Bobwhite,
Northern Harrier, Northern
Rough-winged Swallow,
Purple Martin, Savannah
2
Sparrow, Short-eared Owl,
Upland Sandpiper, Vesper
Sparrow
2.1 Site/area
management
2.3 Habitat and
natural process
restoration
Grassland habitat patches
should be clustered or
aggregated, and any
intervening land cover should
be open or semi-open in order
to be permeable to species
movement (Environment
Canada 2013a).
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
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Table 13 continued
Threat
Sub-category
Threat Addressed
Objective
Category
Objective
Action Category
Recommended Actions
4.3 Awareness
and
communications
5.2 Policies and
regulations
Raise public awareness and
appreciation of native grassland
communities.
Encourage public land
managers to include native
grassland conservation in their
regional land-use policies and
planning efforts.
Evaluate the effect of various
land management practices on
the abundance, distribution and
demographics of priority
grassland birds.
Develop and/or implement
species at risk recovery
strategies or management
plans.
8.1 Research
2.3 Livestock
farming &
ranching
Sustained
overgrazing can
significantly
degrade or
destroy
tallgrasses
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements for
federal/provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
3.2 Species
recovery
1.2 Maintain
the size, shape
and
configuration of
habitat within
the natural
range of
variation
Maintain/foster
complex,
heterogeneous
vegetation
structure
2.1 Site/area
management
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Plan livestock grazing to
maintain the desired structure
and density of the plant
community for priority species.
Grazing levels may not be the
same for each of these species.
Priority Species Affected
1
Barn Owl, Barn Swallow,
Bobolink, Common
Nighthawk, Eastern
Meadowlark, Henslow’s
Sparrow, Loggerhead Shrike
(migrans), Northern
Bobwhite, Short-eared Owl
American Kestrel, Eastern
Kingbird, Grasshopper
Sparrow, Northern
2
Bobwhite, Northern Harrier,
Savannah Sparrow, Short2
eared Owl, Upland
Sandpiper, Vesper Sparrow
July 2014
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Table 13 continued
Threat
Sub-category
3.2 Mining &
quarrying
Threat Addressed
Loss of alvar
habitat due to the
expansion of rock
quarries
Objective
Category
Objective
Action Category
Priority Species Affected
Use grazing systems that
contain rest, rotation,
deferment and prescribed
burning to produce a mosaic of
habitat patches on the
landscape which benefit a
variety of grassland species.
Where necessary, use fencing
to control livestock access.
Develop and/or implement
species at risk recovery
strategies or management
plans.
Bobolink, Bobwhite, Eastern
Meadowlark, Henslow’s
Sparrow, Northern Shorteared Owl
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements for
federal/provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
3.2 Species
recovery
1.1 Ensure land
and resourceuse policies and
practices
maintain or
improve bird
habitat
Maintain/restore
quality, quantity
and diversity of
alvar habitats
across the BCR
1.2 Site/area
protection
Expand a network of protected
native grassland communities
(e.g., alvar, tallgrass prairie,
tallgrass savannah).
5.2 Policies and
regulations
Include habitat restoration for
priority species into postmining remediation or closure
plans.
Encourage public land
managers to include native
grassland conservation in their
regional land-use policies and
planning efforts.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
1
Recommended Actions
American Kestrel, Bank
Swallow, Common
2
Nighthawk, Eastern
Kingbird, Purple Martin,
Northern Harrier, Northern
Rough-winged Swallow,
Savannah Sparrow, Upland
Sandpiper
American Kestrel, Bank
Swallow, Common
2
Nighthawk, Eastern
Kingbird, Purple Martin,
Northern Harrier, Northern
Rough-winged Swallow,
Savannah Sparrow, Upland
Sandpiper
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Table 13 continued
Threat
Sub-category
6.1
Recreational
activities
Threat Addressed
Disturbance from
human recreation
(e.g., vehicles
such as ATVs
make excessive
amounts of noise)
Objective
Category
Objective
1
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species Affected
8.1 Research
Evaluate the effect of various
land management practices on
the abundance, distribution and
demographics of priority
grassland birds.
5.3 Private sector
standards and
codes
Include guidelines for the
protection and management of
bank-nesting species such as
Bank Swallow, in BMPs for
municipalities and operators of
sand and gravel pits (e.g.,
Ontario Stone, Sand and Gravel
Association 2013).
Develop and/or implement
species at risk recovery
strategies or management
plans.
American Kestrel, Bank
Swallow, Common
2
Nighthawk, Eastern
Kingbird, Purple Martin,
Northern Harrier, Northern
Rough-winged Swallow,
Savannah Sparrow, Upland
Sandpiper
Bank Swallow
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements for
federal/provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
3.2 Species
recovery
4.1. Reduce
disturbance
from human
recreation
Reduce/eliminate
disturbance from
recreational
activities in
native grasslands
Meet the legal
requirements for
federal/provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
4.3 Awareness
and
communications
Raise public awareness of the
vulnerability of priority species
to human disturbance.
Northern Harrier, Savannah
Sparrow, Upland Sandpiper,
Vesper Sparrow
3.2 Species
recovery
Develop and/or implement
species at risk recovery
strategies or management
plans.
Bobolink
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Bobolink, Common
Nighthawk, Eastern
Meadowlark, Loggerhead
Shrike (migrans)
July 2014
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Table 13 continued
1
Threat
Sub-category
Threat Addressed
Objective
Category
Objective
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species Affected
7.1 Fire & fire
suppression
Absence of fire or
active
management
allows natural
succession and
decline of habitat
quality/quantity
1.3. Ensure the
continuation of
natural
processes that
maintain bird
habitat
Maintain and
enhance firedependent
ecosystems in
native grassland
habitats
2.3 Habitat and
natural process
restoration
Implement prescribed burn
management activities as
required for management of
native grassland communities
on public lands. Avoid burns
during nesting and broodrearing periods.
Blue-winged Teal,
Grasshopper Sparrow,
Green-winged Teal,
2
Northern Bobwhite,
Northern Harrier, Northern
Rough-winged Swallow,
Purple Martin, Savannah
2
Sparrow, Short-eared Owl,
Upland Sandpiper
2.1 Site/area
management
Encourage grazing practices
that inhibit and reduce woody
vegetation encroachment into
native grasslands.
Blue-winged Teal,
Grasshopper Sparrow,
Green-winged Teal,
2
Northern Bobwhite,
Northern Harrier, Northern
Rough-winged Swallow,
Purple Martin, Savannah
2
Sparrow, Short-eared Owl,
Upland Sandpiper
3.2 Species
recovery
Develop and/or implement
species at risk recovery
strategies or management
plans.
Barn Owl, Bobolink,
Bobwhite, Eastern
Meadowlark, Henslow’s
Sparrow, Loggerhead Shrike
(migrans), Northern Shorteared Owl
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Meet the legal
requirements for
federal/provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
July 2014
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Table 13 continued
1
Threat
Sub-category
Threat Addressed
Objective
Category
Objective
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species Affected
8.1 Invasive
nonnative/alien
species
Invasive species
in native
grassland habitats
outcompete
native species
and change
habitat
composition
3.5 Prevent and
control the
spread of
invasive and
exotic species
Prevent and
control the
spread of
invasive and
exotic species
2.2 Invasive/
problematic
species control
Eliminate or control non-native
weeds through mechanical
control or through grazing. In
some sites, prescribed burning
may enhance native plant
growth and reduce non-native,
invasive weeds.
American Kestrel, Bank
Swallow, Eastern Kingbird,
2
Northern Bobwhite,
Northern Harrier, Northern
Rough-winged Swallow,
Purple Martin, Vesper
Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow,
2
Short-eared Owl, Upland
Sandpiper
4.3 Awareness
and
communications
Raise public awareness of
invasive plant species and
measures to control their
spread.
Develop and/or implement
species at risk recovery
strategies or management
plans.
8.3
Introduced
genetic
material
Dilution of the
native gene pool
due to
interbreeding
with non-native
captive-reared
birds
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements for
federal/provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
3.2 Species
recovery
7.4. Improve
understanding
of causes of
population
declines
Develop an
understanding of
reasons for
population
decline
8.1 Research
Determine whether
interbreeding with non-native,
pen reared birds has
population-level effects
Northern Bobwhite
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements for
federal/provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
3.2 Species
recovery
Develop and/or implement
species at risk recovery
strategies or management
plans.
Northern Bobwhite
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Bobolink, Barn Swallow,
Eastern Meadowlark,
Northern Bobwhite, Shorteared Owl
2
July 2014
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Table 13 continued
1
Threat
Sub-category
Threat Addressed
Objective
Category
Objective
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species Affected
12.1
Information
Lacking
Lack of
information on
factors causing
population
declines
7.4 Improve
understanding
of causes of
population
declines
Determine
sources of
mortality or
population
decline(s)
8.1 Research
Determine factors (nest
cavities, habitat availability,
food supply) limiting population
abundance and productivity.
American Kestrel
7.4 Improve
understanding
of causes of
population
declines
Determine
sources of
mortality or
population
decline(s)
8.1 Research
Identify factors causing
population decline and/or
limiting population growth of
aerial-foraging insectivores.
Bank Swallow, Common
2
Nighthawk, Eastern
Kingbird, Northern Roughwinged Swallow, Purple
Martin
7.1 Improve
population/
demographic
monitoring
Improve
population/
demographic
monitoring of
aerial
insectivores
8.2 Monitoring
Bank Swallow, Common
2
Nighthawk, Purple Martin
7.1 Improve
population/
demographic
monitoring
Improve
monitoring
efforts to
increase
reliability of
population
status/trend
8.2 Monitoring
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements for
federal/
provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
3.2 Species
recovery
Encourage submissions of
current and historic nest record
data to the Ontario Nest
Records Scheme/Project
NestWatch to improve
understanding of changes in
productivity.
Improve monitoring efforts to
increase reliability of
population status/trend for
colonial nesters (Bank Swallow)
and crepuscular species
(Common Nighthawk) not well
sampled by the Breeding Bird
Survey.
Implement species at risk
recovery strategies or
management plans.
Lack of
knowledge
(trend,
population size,
and/or
distribution
range)
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Bank Swallow, Common
2
Nighthawk
Barn Swallow, Common
Nighthawk
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Cultivated and Managed Areas
Cultivated and managed areas that include fields and forage crops, hedgerows and other
undifferentiated, anthropogenic managed habitats are the dominant land cover/land use class
in BCR 13 ON, accounting for nearly 60% of the land base (Table 1; Fig. 18). Many of the bird
species using native herbaceous habitats also occur in cultivated and managed habitats such as
agricultural fields.
Today, cultivated and managed grasslands are largely agriculturally derived and include
pastures and hayfields that have been seeded with non-native forage plants that are
maintained as a permanent land cover. Fallow and “old” fields are cultivated and managed
areas that are agriculturally derived and often represent a mix of native and non-native plants
and features. Agricultural grasslands are by far the most common and widespread form of
grassland habitat in BCR 13 ON. Consequently, agricultural habitats are the most important
driver for grassland breeding bird richness and abundance today and likely into the future
(Environment Canada 2013a).
Figure 18. Map of cultivated and managed areas BCR 13 ON.
In BCR 13 ON, the 31 priority species using this habitat class are varied including 18 landbirds,
7 waterfowl, 5 shorebirds and a waterbird. The diversity of landbirds in agricultural habitats is
lower than in forests, but a high proportion of these are priority species. Seventeen priority
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July 2014
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landbirds, including 8 species at risk, use cultivated and managed areas (Table 14), especially
hay fields and other areas of lower-intensity agricultural use.
Table 14. Priority species associated with cultivated and managed habitats in BCR 13 ON, habitat
descriptions, population objectives and reasons for priority status.
4
SARO
Regional/Sub-regional
5
Concern
Regional/Sub-regional
6
Stewardship
National/Continental
Concern
National/Continental
Stewardship
3
Population
Objective
SARA
1
COSEWIC
2
Table 14 continued
Priority Species
Habitat Description
American Black Duck
Agricultural fields; cropland
Maintain current
Y
Y
American GoldenPlover
Short-grass pastures, cropland,
sod farms
Migrant (no BCR
13-ON population
objective)
Y
Y
Maintain current
Y
American Kestrel
Bank Swallow
Barn Owl
Barn Swallow
Black-bellied Plover
Blue-winged Teal
Bobolink
Buff-breasted
Sandpiper
Graminoid crops; grasslands,
short to medium height
groundcover
Graminoid crops; old fields,
hayfields, fallow fields
Pastures, hayfields, and other
grassy habitats
Graminoid crops; old fields,
hayfields, pastures, fallow fields
Flooded pastures and fields
Hayfields (nesting); short-grass
fields (foraging)
Tall graminoid crops; hayfields
(prefers > 50 ha); large open
grasslands, older hayfields,
meadows and fallow fields
Short-grass pastures, grain
stubble, sod farms, onion fields
Increase
Y
Recovery objective
Y
Recovery objective
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Migrant (no BCR
13-ON population
objective)
Y
Y
Increase
Y
Y
Recovery objective
Migrant (no BCR
13-ON population
objective)
Y
Y
Y
Y
1
Y
Y
Y
Habitat descriptions are based on information found in the Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario (2001–2005),
Neave and Baldwin (2011), and Sandilands (2005; 2010).
2
Assessed by COSEWIC as E, Endangered; T, Threatened; SC, Special Concern.
3
Species listed on Schedule 1 of SARA as E, Endangered; T, Threatened; SC, Special Concern.
4
Species listed as Endangered, Threatened or Special Concern on the SARO List.
5
Regional refers to BCR-wide (i.e., all jurisdictional data were used for the entire BCR) while sub-regional refers to
the Ontario portion of the BCR only (i.e., Ontario BCR data were used).
6
Only the landbird group distinguishes stewardship species from other priority species (see Panjabi et al. 2005).
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Canada Goose
(Eastern Temperatebreeding population)
Common Nighthawk
Eastern Kingbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Grasshopper Sparrow
Green-winged Teal
Agricultural fields; cropland;
short graminoid crops, managed
landscapes, parks, lawns, golf
courses
Graminoid crops; agricultural
fields, pastures
Pastures, old fields, hedgerows,
orchards
Pastures, hayfields, old fields and
meadows
Short graminoid crops; rough or
improved pastures
Agricultural fields; cropland
Loggerhead Shrike
(migrans)
Regenerating old fields, lightly
used pastures, hay fields, wet
meadows
Short graminoid crops; heavily
grazed fields, cultivated fields,
airports, golf courses
Heavily grazed pastures with
scattered low trees and shrubs
Mallard
Agricultural fields; cropland
Henslow’s Sparrow
Killdeer
Northern Bobwhite
Northern Harrier
Northern Roughwinged Swallow
Purple Martin
Sandhill Crane
Old fields, pastures, hayfields
with nearby woody cover
Large meadows, pastures and
hayfields
Graminoid crops; agricultural
fields (foraging)
Graminoid crops; agricultural
fields (foraging)
Harvested fields with waste grain
(foraging)
Regional/Sub-regional
5
Concern
Regional/Sub-regional
6
Stewardship
National/Continental
Concern
National/Continental
Stewardship
4
Agricultural fields; cropland
SARO
Canada Goose
(Southern James Bay)
Population
Objective
3
Habitat Description
SARA
1
Priority Species
COSEWIC
2
Table 14 continued
Migrant (no BCR
13-ON population
objective)
Y
Decrease
Y
Recovery objective
7
Y
Y
Y
Increase
Y
Y
Recovery objective
Y
Increase
Y
Y
Y
Y
Maintain current
Y
Y
Recovery objective
Y
Y
Y
Increase
Recovery objective
Y
Y
Y
Increase
Recovery objective
Y
Y
7
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Maintain current
Y
Increase
Y
Increase
Y
Assess/Maintain
Y
7
Species listed on Schedule 1 of SARA and/or SARO, but for which there are no finalized recovery documents.
Official documents related to SARA or SARO will prevail when they are published; however, the interim population
objectives for these species in BCR 13 ON are: Common Nighthawk: Increase; Northern Bobwhite: Maintain
current; Short-eared Owl: Assess/Maintain.
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July 2014
Y
P a g e | 85
Savannah Sparrow
Short-eared Owl
Tundra Swan
Upland Sandpiper
Vesper Sparrow
Lightly grazed pastures, grassy
meadows, cultivated fields
Agricultural lands (large open
areas; > 100 ha); grain fields,
stubble, hay and low perennial
crops
Agricultural fields (corn, soybean,
grain; foraging)
Hayfields, pastures, hawthorn
meadows
Short graminoid crops; dry short
grass fields; heavily grazed
pastures interspersed with shrubs
and small trees
Increase
Recovery
7
Objective
Regional/Sub-regional
5
Concern
Regional/Sub-regional
6
Stewardship
National/Continental
Concern
National/Continental
Stewardship
4
Population
Objective
SARO
1
3
Habitat Description
SARA
Priority Species
COSEWIC
2
Table 14 continued
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Maintain current
Y
Increase
Y
Increase
Y
Y
Prior to the arrival of European settlers, cultivation by First Nations along with beaver or
floodplain meadows, and scattered prairie, savannah and alvar landscapes provided the
region’s only open terrestrial habitats. Between the 1700s and 1900s, the clearing of land for
conversion to agriculture was widespread and nearly complete (Ontario Partners In Flight
2008). By some estimates, nearly 90% of the landscape was converted to agricultural
production, with forest cover estimated at only 10.6% in 1920 (Larson et al. 1999). These
profound changes in habitat availability resulted in correspondingly profound changes in the
avifauna of the region, with grassland birds adapting to these managed habitats and increasing
in abundance and distribution. Recent decades have seen further changes, with marginal
agricultural lands being abandoned and reverting to shrubland or forest (threat sub-category
7.3; Table 15; Fig. 19), and agricultural activity in the remaining productive lands being
intensified and shifting from uses such as pasture and hay to row crops (sub-category 2.1).
These threats are believed to be major factors contributing to recent decreases in many
grassland bird populations.
Among the priority species occurring in this habitat type are a number of aerial insectivores,
which are species of high conservation concern owing to pronounced recent declines in
abundance (North American Bird Conservation Initiative 2012). Insectivorous birds in
agricultural areas can encounter harmful levels of pesticides (e.g., Mora et al. 2006), and this
exposure is recognized as a very high overall magnitude threat (sub-category 9.3) to these and
other priority species in cultivated and managed habitats. For example, there has been growing
concern as to potential biological impacts of neonicotinoid insecticides, a new class of
insecticide that was first used in Canada in the 1990s. Recent studies have indicated that
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neonicotinoid pesticides, which are the most widely used insecticide in the world, are highly
toxic to birds and aquatic systems (Mineau and Palmer 2013). They have been implicated in the
decline of honeybee colonies and other insect pollinators in Europe and North America and to
global wildlife declines (Mason et al. 2013). There is growing evidence that these insecticides
could be impacting bird populations directly due to toxicity and also indirectly as a result of the
overall reduction in insect biomass (Mineau and Palmer 2013). A range of recommended
actions are presented in Table 15, including the need to assess whether population declines of
aerial insectivores can be linked to the use of pesticides and for changes to the regulation of
agricultural pesticides in Canada to reduce bird mortality and sub-lethal effects.
In addition to pesticides, the loss of nesting habitat due to the replacement of older-style
wooden farm structures (sub-category 2.3) by modern buildings that lack easy access to
suitable nesting sites has been cited as a principal reason for recent Barn Swallow declines in
North America (COSEWIC 2011) and may also be contributing to Barn Owl declines in southern
Ontario (Ontario Barn Owl Recovery Team 2010).
Aerial insectivores use the habitat primarily for foraging, but other priority landbirds nest in the
vegetation of managed grasslands and croplands, including the Bobolink and Eastern
Meadowlark. These species, both listed provincially as Threatened, breed in hayfields and have
suffered as a result of the succession of marginal farmland to shrub and forest habitats (subcategory 7.3), as well as a trend towards more intensive agriculture on remaining lands (subcategory 2.1). Agricultural practices such as mowing of hay during the breeding season may
inadvertently kill and disturb nesting adults and young birds and destroy eggs and nests (subcategory 6.3). Cutting hay often coincides with the time that young birds are in the nest and are
not able to fly. In addition, the quality of nesting habitat has likely declined over time due to the
availability of earlier maturing seed mixtures and shorter cropping cycles. A variety of changes
in land management and the implementation of BMPs could benefit this and other priority
species (Table 15).
In southern Ontario, the number of farms and farmers has declined with growing efficiency and
specialization, while the non-farming rural population has grown significantly (sub-category
1.1). According to Statistics Canada, Ontario has over half (52%) of the nation’s Class I
agricultural land and by 1996 had lost over 18% of the province’s Class I land to urban
encroachment and non-agricultural interests (Statistics Canada 2001). While land-use planning
has been used to restrict activities in order to conserve forests and wetlands, it has not
traditionally been used to conserve agricultural grasslands. Developing and supporting policies,
programs and land-use planning to protect or encourage agricultural land use in near-urban
areas (e.g., the provincial Greenbelt Act, 2005), developing and implementing grassland
conservation incentive programs, creating or restoring grassland habitat patches in existing and
potential grassland landscapes and at a site level, managing agricultural grasslands to include a
mosaic of management prescriptions, including both recently disturbed (i.e., burned, grazed,
mowed) and undisturbed (retained woody vegetation) are some of the recommended
approaches to mitigate threats related to habitat loss (Table 15).
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Several waterfowl species use cultivated or managed habitats for breeding or foraging during
migration, including the Green-winged Teal and the two priority populations of Canada Goose.
The Southern James Bay population of the Canada Goose migrates through this BCR, stopping
briefly in agricultural fields to forage before continuing on to their wintering grounds. The
Eastern Temperate-breeding population of the Canada Goose, unlike most populations of geese
that nest in arctic or sub-arctic areas, nests in temperate climates associated with more
southerly latitudes. Temperate-breeding Canada Geese have benefited greatly from adapting to
the human-modified landscape present today, primarily because there is an abundance of food
in the form of agricultural crops and manicured lawns (residential lawns, parks, golf courses,
etc.). Since the early 1970s, the population in southern Ontario has increased from about 2,000
breeding pairs to an average of about 80,000 by 2005 (Environment Canada, in prep.). They use
food and other resources present in urban and agricultural landscapes for nesting, raising
young, molting, feeding and resting. This has led to increasing conflict between geese and
people (e.g., depredation and damage to agricultural crops), especially in BCR 13 ON. Given the
very high abundance of this species in southern Ontario, it is a species of management interest
with respect to preventing and reducing human-goose conflicts (see Management of Nuisance
Species in Table 15).
Other species using cultivated and managed grasslands include breeding or migrant shorebirds
such as the Upland Sandpiper or American Golden-Plover, waterfowl such as the American
Black Duck and Blue-winged Teal, and waterbirds including the Sandhill Crane. Due to the wide
diversity of species using this habitat type, no one management prescription can eliminate all
threats and benefit all species. For example, birds of prey benefit from shorter grass and the
presence of woody vegetation for perching and hunting, while nesting waterfowl require dense
vegetative cover ideally situated adjacent to wetlands. Also, row crops that have low breeding
bird value have high post-harvest stopover value for some foraging waterfowl and shorebirds.
Accordingly, the recommended conservation actions for priority species in cultivated and
managed areas include management at a large spatial scale to ensure a suitable mosaic and
supply of habitats, especially given the ephemeral nature of open habitats in BCR 13 ON. Areas
of intensive row-crop agriculture are almost universally less valuable as habitat for priority
species, and these intensive activities also expose birds to a variety of threats including
pesticides, destruction of nests or disturbance of breeding birds (Fig. 19, Table 15). The
recommended conservation actions focus on promotion of less intensive agriculture, adoption
of BMPs such as delayed haying and Integrated Pest Management, and other activities that
allow priority birds to coexist with agriculture.
Maintaining an adequate supply of grassland habitat over the entire BCR is required to maintain
grassland bird populations at present or historic levels. Within the agricultural landscape,
maintaining an overall supply of managed grassland rather than specific place-based sites
better reflects the ephemeral nature of this habitat and will accommodate practices such as
crop rotation. However, this must be balanced with the need to protect and restore native
grasslands such as prairies and savannahs. Such native grasslands are not only habitat for birds
but required and essential habitat for many non-bird species. Moreover, native grasslands are
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an imperilled habitat in themselves, with only 3% of their historic coverage remaining. A
possible overall approach is to maintain managed grassland across the BCR and also to focus on
restoring and creating native grassland habitat in areas with existing or potential grassland
landscapes. In these existing and potential grassland areas, lower intensity managed habitat
could be located in a complementary fashion adjacent to more permanent native or naturalized
patches. This provides complementary patches, creates a permeable open landscape that
allows birds to move between grassland patches, and helps create a diverse and dynamic
mosaic of native and managed grasslands that allows for redundancy and resilience and a
stable supply of habitat.
Research and monitoring objectives (sub-category 12.1) were also identified that focus on
gathering ecological and demographic information for specific priority species in the region. For
example, migrating shorebirds in southern Ontario tend to be widely dispersed and seem adept
at finding and using a variety of agricultural habitats. There is a need to more clearly identify
the use and significance of these and other habitat types across the BCR in order to determine
appropriate conservation actions (e.g., broad-based or site-specific) for these species.
The full list of threats to and information needs (sub-category 12.1) for priority species in
cultivated and managed habitats of BCR 13 ON as well as the conservation objectives and
recommended actions are presented in Table 15. Note that although mortality from collisions
with vehicles (sub-category 4.1 Roads and railroads) is a high overall magnitude threat to
priority species in this habitat, it is not examined in Table 15, given that the effects of this threat
are widespread. It is instead addressed in the Widespread Issues section of this strategy.
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1.1 Housing & urban areas
H
1.2 Commercial & industrial areas
VH
2.1 Annual & perennial non-timber crops
VH
2.3 Livestock farming & ranching
Low
Threat Sub-category
3.2 Mining & quarrying
4.1 Roads & railroads
Medium
H
High
4.3 Shipping lanes
Very High
5.3 Logging & wood harvesting
Not Ranked
5.4 Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources
6.1 Recreational activities
L
6.3 Work & other activities
VH
7.1 Fire & fire suppression
7.2 Dams & water management/use
7.3 Other ecosystem modifications
VH
8.1 Invasive non-native/alien species
L
8.2 Problematic native species
8.3 Introduced genetic material
H
9.2 Industrial & military effluents
L
9.3 Agricultural & forestry effluents
VH
12.1 Information lacking
0
5
10
15
20
Percent of Identified Threats
Figure 19. Percent of identified threats to priority species in cultivated and managed habitats in each
threat sub-category.
Each bar represents the percent of the total number of threats identified in each threat sub-category in cultivated
and managed habitats (for example, if 100 threats were identified in total for all priority species in cultivated and
managed habitats, and 10 of those threats were in the category 1.1 Housing & urban areas, the bar on the graph
would represent this as 10%). Threat sub-category 12.1 Information lacking was not ranked. The bars are divided
to show the distribution of Low (L), Medium (M), High (H) and Very High (VH) rankings of individual threats within
each threat sub-category. For example, the same threat may have been ranked H for one species and L for
another; the shading illustrates the proportion of L, M, H and VH rankings in the sub-category. The overall
magnitude of the threat in cultivated and managed habitats is shown at the end of each bar (also presented in
Table 5). Only threats with a magnitude of medium or higher are typically assigned habitat-specific conservation
objectives.
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Table 15. Threats addressed, conservation objectives, recommended actions, and list of priority species affected in cultivated and managed areas in BCR 13
ON.
Note: Issues such as collisions with vehicles and climate change are not addressed in this table; instead they are addressed in the Widespread Issues section.
Table 15 continued
Threat
Threat
Objective
Objectives
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species
1
Sub-category
Addressed
Category
Affected
1.1 Housing &
urban areas
Loss of
managed
grassland
habitats due
to
development
1.1. Ensure land
and resource-use
policies and
practices
maintain or
improve bird
habitat
Conserve and restore
the quality, quantity
and diversity of
managed grassland
habitats across the
BCR
1.2 Resource and
habitat
protection
Develop and support policies, programs and
land-use planning that protects or encourages
agricultural land-use in near-urban areas (e.g.,
the provincial Greenbelt Act, 2005).
2.3 Habitat and
natural process
restoration
Create and/or restore small and large grassland
habitat (e.g., meadow, pasture) patches in
existing and potential grassland landscapes, with
an average grassland patch area of greater than
or equal to 50 hectares and at least one 100hectare patch (Environment Canada, 2013a).
Develop and/or implement incentive programs
geared to conserving grasslands for priority
species.
6.4 Conservation
payments
3.4. Implement
recovery plans
for species at risk
1
Meet the legal
requirements for
federal/provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
3.2 Species
recovery
Develop and/or implement species at risk
recovery strategies or management plans.
American Kestrel,
Bank Swallow, Bluewinged Teal,
Eastern Kingbird,
Grasshopper
Sparrow, Greenwinged Teal,
Northern
2
Bobwhite,
Northern Harrier,
Northern Roughwinged Swallow,
Purple Martin,
Savannah Sparrow,
2
Short-eared Owl,
Upland Sandpiper,
Vesper Sparrow
Barn Owl, Barn
Swallow, Bobolink,
Eastern
Meadowlark,
Henslow's Sparrow,
Loggerhead Shrike
(migrans), Northern
Bobwhite, Shorteared Owl
While many priority species may benefit from proposed conservation actions, priority species not mentioned in this table are absent because 1) identified threats in this habitat
are of low magnitude, or 2) they are migrants with no threats identified in this habitat.
2
Species listed on Schedule 1 of SARA and/or on the SARO List, but for which there are no finalized recovery documents. Official documents related to SARA or SARO will prevail
when they are published; however, interim conservation objectives and recommended actions are presented here.
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Table 15 continued
Threat
Threat
Sub-category
Addressed
2.1 Annual &
perennial nontimber crops
Loss of
managed
grassland
habitats due
to
intensification
(e.g.. removal
of hedgerows,
monocultures,
conversion of
pasture to
row crops,
wetland
Objective
Category
Objectives
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species
1
Affected
1.1. Ensure land
and resource-use
policies and
practices
maintain or
improve bird
habitat
Conserve and restore
the quality, quantity
and diversity of
managed grassland
habitats across the
BCR
1.2 Resource and
habitat
protection
Develop and support policies, programs and
land-use planning that protects or encourages
agricultural land-use in near-urban areas (e.g.,
the provincial Greenbelt Act, 2005).
2.3 Habitat and
natural process
restoration
Create and/or restore small and large grassland
habitat patches in existing and potential
grassland landscapes, with average grassland
patch area of greater than or equal to 50
hectares and at least one 100-hectare patch
(Environment Canada 2013a).
American Kestrel,
Bank Swallow, Bluewinged Teal, Buffbreasted Sandpiper,
Common
2
Nighthawk, Eastern
Kingbird,
Grasshopper
Sparrow, Greenwinged Teal,
Killdeer, Northern
2
Bobwhite,
Northern Harrier,
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Table 15 continued
Threat
Threat
Sub-category
Addressed
Objective
Category
drainage)
Objectives
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species
1
Affected
2.1 Site/area
management
At local levels, grassland sites should be
managed to include a mosaic of management
prescriptions, including both recently disturbed
(i.e., burned, grazed, mowed) and undisturbed
(retained woody vegetation) to benefit a variety
of species.
Northern Roughwinged Swallow,
Purple Martin,
Savannah Sparrow,
2
Short-eared Owl,
Upland Sandpiper,
Vesper Sparrow
Some grassland habitat should be located
adjacent to hedgerows, riparian and wetland
habitats for species that require different habitat
types in close proximity (Environment Canada
2013a).
Retain large cavity trees and mature trees in
open grassland/agricultural settings for nesting
cavities and hunting perches. Install nest boxes
in areas of suitable habitat where natural
cavities are lacking.
6.4 Conservation
payments
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Grassland habitat patches should be clustered or
aggregated, and any intervening land cover
should be open or semi-open in order to be
permeable to species movement (Environment
Canada 2013a).
Develop and/or implement incentive programs
geared to conserving grasslands for priority
species (e.g., Habitat Stewardship Program for
Species at Risk; Species at Risk Farm Incentive
Program).
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Table 15 continued
Threat
Threat
Sub-category
Addressed
Objective
Category
Objectives
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species
1
Affected
3.4. Implement
recovery plans
for species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements for
federal/provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
3.2 Species
recovery
Develop and/or implement species at risk
recovery strategies or management plans.
Barn Owl, Barn
Swallow, Bobolink,
Common
Nighthawk, Eastern
Meadowlark,
Henslow's Sparrow,
Loggerhead Shrike
(migrans), Northern
Bobwhite, Shorteared Owl
2.3 Livestock
farming &
ranching
Reduction in
the availability
of artificial
nesting sites
3.4. Implement
recovery plans
for species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements for
federal/provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
3.2 Species
recovery
Develop and/or implement species at risk
recovery strategies or management plans.
Barn Owl, Barn
Swallow
6.3 Work &
other
activities
Reduced or no
productivity if
disturbed
during the
nesting
season.
4.2 Reduce
disturbance from
industrial or work
activity
Reduce or eliminate
human disturbance
from work or other
activities
2.1 Site/area
management
Grassland habitat patches should be clustered or
aggregated and any intervening land cover
should be open or semi-open in order to be
permeable to species movement (Environment
Canada 2013a).
Promote bird-friendly grassland management
practices to farmers and land managers (see
Solymar 2005; McGauley 2004).
Short-eared Owl
4.3 Awareness
and
communications
5.3 Private sector
standards and
codes
3.4. Implement
recovery plans
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Meet the legal
requirements for
3.2 Species
recovery
Raise awareness about the impact of human
disturbance on priority bird species.
Develop and/or implement BMPs for agricultural
grasslands such as delayed haying as appropriate
for the protection of priority grassland birds
(e.g., Birds on the Farm: A Stewardship Guide,
McGauley 2004).
Develop and/or implement species at risk
recovery strategies or management plans.
2
Barn Owl, Barn
Swallow, Bobolink,
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Table 15 continued
Threat
Threat
Sub-category
Addressed
7.3 Other
ecosystem
modifications
Lack of
grazing or
active
management
results in
natural
succession of
idle or
abandoned
agricultural
land
Objective
Category
Objectives
for species at risk
federal/provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
1.1 Ensure land
and resource-use
policies and
practices
maintain or
improve bird
habitat
Maintain or restore
the quality, quantity
and diversity of
managed grassland
habitats across the
BCR
Action Category
Priority Species
1
Affected
Eastern
Meadowlark,
Henslow's Sparrow,
Short-eared Owl
2.1 Site/area
management
4.3 Awareness
and
communications
5.3 Private sector
standards and
codes
8.1 Research
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Recommended Actions
At local levels, grassland sites should be
managed to include a mosaic of management
prescriptions, including both recently disturbed
(i.e., burned, grazed, mowed) and undisturbed
(retained woody vegetation) to benefit a variety
of priority species (Vickery et al. 2000).
Some grassland habitat should be located
adjacent to hedgerows, riparian and wetland
habitats for species that require different habitat
types in close proximity (Environment Canada
2013a).
Educate landowners on the importance of
grassland habitats and the need for active
management (mowing, controlled burns) to
maintain ecological integrity (see A Stewardship
Guide to Grasslands in Southern Ontario: An
introduction for Farmers and Rural Landowners,
Solymar 2005).
Develop and implement a suite of regionally
appropriate BMPs (e.g., guidelines for the
amount, type, size and configuration,
distribution and management of grassland
habitats) to benefit priority species in this BCR.
Evaluate the effect of various land management
practices on the abundance, distribution and
demographics of priority grassland birds.
American Kestrel,
Bank Swallow, Bluewinged Teal,
Common
2
Nighthawk,
Grasshopper
Sparrow, Greenwinged Teal,
Northern
2
Bobwhite,
Northern Harrier,
2
Short-eared Owl,
Upland Sandpiper,
Vesper Sparrow
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Table 15 continued
Threat
Threat
Sub-category
Addressed
8.3 Introduced
genetic
material
9.3
Agricultural &
forestry
effluents
Objective
Category
Objectives
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species
1
Affected
3.4. Implement
recovery plans
for species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements for
federal/provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
3.2 Species
recovery
Develop and/or implement species at risk
recovery strategies or management plans.
Barn Owl, Barn
Swallow, Bobolink,
Common
Nighthawk, Eastern
Meadowlark,
Henslow's Sparrow,
Northern Bobwhite,
Short-eared Owl
Dilution of the
native gene
pool due to
interbreeding
with nonnative
captive-reared
birds
7.4. Improve
understanding of
causes of
population
declines
3.4. Implement
recovery plans
for species at risk
Develop an
understanding of
reasons for
population decline
8.1 Research
Determine whether interbreeding with nonnative, pen-reared birds has population-level
effects.
Northern Bobwhite
Meet the legal
requirements for
federal/provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
3.2 Species
recovery
Develop and/or implement species at risk
recovery strategies or management plans.
Mortality,
sub-lethal
effects,
reductions in
prey
populations,
and habitat
alteration
caused by
2.1. Reduce
mortality and/or
sub-lethal effects
from pesticide
use
Reduce use/impact
of pesticides
4.3 Awareness
and
communications
Undertake education and awareness activities
regarding the impact of environmental
contaminants on birds and their habitats.
5.2 Policies and
regulations
Make changes to the regulation of agricultural
pesticides in Canada to reduce bird mortality and
sub-lethal effects.
Promote the use of IPM programs to reduce
pesticide use.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
5.3 Private sector
standards and
codes
2
American Kestrel,
Bank Swallow, Buffbreasted Sandpiper,
Common
2
Nighthawk, Eastern
Kingbird,
Grasshopper
Sparrow, Killdeer,
Northern
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Table 15 continued
Threat
Threat
Sub-category
Addressed
Objective
Category
Objectives
exposure to or
use of
pesticides
12.1
Information
Lacking
Lack of
knowledge of
the
importance of
various
habitat types
used by
migrating
shorebirds in
southern
Ontario
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species
1
Affected
5.4 Compliance
and enforcement
Continue to monitor and enforce compliance
with laws, policies and regulations at all levels.
Bobwhite,
Northern Harrier,
Northern Roughwinged Swallow,
Purple Martin,
Savannah Sparrow,
2
Short-eared Owl,
Upland Sandpiper,
Vesper Sparrow
Barn Swallow,
Bobolink, Common
Nighthawk, Eastern
Meadowlark,
Loggerhead Shrike
(migrans), Northern
Bobwhite, Shorteared Owl
3.4. Implement
recovery plans
for species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements for
federal/provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
3.2 Species
recovery
Develop and/or implement species at risk
recovery strategies or management plans.
7.1 Improve
population/
demographic
monitoring
Improve
understanding of
habitat use and/or
impacts of changes
to habitats to guide
conservation and
management
8.1 Research
Assess importance of BCR 13 ON to migrating
shorebirds by determining shorebird use of
appropriate habitats throughout the area during
peak migration, and applying these usage levels
to estimates of the total amounts of the various
habitat types.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
2
American GoldenPlover, Black-bellied
Plover, Buffbreasted Sandpiper
Determine the degree of repeat use by
shorebirds of particular areas in southern
Ontario to establish whether they are traditional
stop-over sites used by specific individuals, or
are used on a more random and opportunistic
basis by migrants.
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Table 15 continued
Threat
Threat
Sub-category
Addressed
Lack of
information
on factors
causing
population
declines
Lack of
knowledge
(trend,
population
size, and/or
distribution
range)
Objective
Category
Objectives
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species
1
Affected
7.4 Improve
understanding of
causes of
population
declines
Determine cause(s)
of population decline
8.1 Research
Identify factors causing population decline
and/or limiting population growth of aerialforaging insectivores.
Bank Swallow,
Common
2
Nighthawk, Eastern
Kingbird, Northern
Rough-winged
Swallow, Purple
Martin
7.1 Improve
population/
demographic
monitoring
3.4. Implement
recovery plans
for species at risk
Improve population/
demographic
monitoring of aerial
insectivores
Meet the legal
requirements for
federal/provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
Improve monitoring
efforts to increase
reliability of
population
status/trend
7.1 Improve
population/
demographic
monitoring
3.4. Implement
recovery plans
for species at risk
Management of Nuisance Species
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Expand monitoring
effort to inform
population
management
Meet the legal
requirements for
federal/provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
8.2 Monitoring
3.2 Species
recovery
8.2 Monitoring
3.2 Species
recovery
Assess whether population declines of aerial
insectivores is linked to the use of pesticides
(e.g., neonicotinoids).
Encourage submissions of current and historic
nest record data to the Ontario Nest Records
Scheme/Project NestWatch to improve
understanding of changes in productivity.
Develop and/or implement species at risk
recovery strategies or management plans.
Barn Swallow,
Common Nighthawk
Improve monitoring efforts to increase reliability
of population status/trend for species not well
sampled by the Breeding Bird Survey.
Bank Swallow,
Common
2
Nighthawk
Assess population status and distribution to
inform population management.
Sandhill Crane
Develop and/or implement species at risk
recovery strategies or management plans.
Common Nighthawk
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Table 15 continued
Threat
Threat
Sub-category
Addressed
Conservation Issue: Increasing
conflicts between geese and
human activities (e.g.,
agriculture) due to very
abundant Eastern temperatebreeding Canada Geese
Objective
Category
Objectives
Action Category
Recommended Actions
3.6 Manage
nuisance species
Reduce HumanGoose Conflicts
3.1 Species
management
Implement strategies within Handbook – Canada
and Cackling Geese: management and population
control in southern Canada (Environment Canada
2010).
5.4 Compliance
and enforcement
Undertake compliance promotion of federal
Migratory Birds Regulations and provide advice
for stakeholders and the public.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Priority Species
1
Affected
Canada Goose
(Temperatebreeding in Eastern
Canada)
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Bare Areas
In BCR 13 ON, habitats classified as bare include open shorelines such as beaches, mudflats,
exposed earthen banks; sand and gravel pits; exposed aggregate from current or past
extraction operations, cliffs, talus and bare rock (e.g., unvegetated islands). For several species
using this habitat type, preferred habitat is concentrated along the shorelines of the Great
Lakes. The region includes more than 8,400 km of this shoreline, along with innumerable bare
areas along the shorelines of smaller lakes and rivers. However, because these habitats are
typically restricted in area, they account for <1% of the land cover/ land use 9 (Table 1; Fig. 20).
Figure 20. Map of bare areas in BCR 13 ON.
The 17 priority species using these habitats (Table 16) can be divided into several groups, and
each faces a suite of unique threats which are described below. Among these, 4 are species at
risk: Common Nighthawk, Peregrine Falcon (anatum/tundrius), Piping Plover (circumcinctus)
and Red Knot (rufa).
9
Less than 1% bare areas does not include the area of bare islands in the Great Lakes, which is captured within the
Undifferentiated category of SOLRIS)
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July 2014
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Table 16. Priority species associated with bare areas in BCR 13 ON, habitat descriptions, population
objectives and reasons for priority status.
American GoldenPlover
Bank Swallow
Belted Kingfisher
Beaches, mudflats
Exposed earthen banks, sand
and gravel pits
Earthen banks near water,
coastal bare areas
Black-bellied Plover
Beaches, mudflats
Buff-breasted
Sandpiper
Beaches, mudflats
Caspian Tern
Coastal bare areas; islands
Common
Nighthawk
Common Tern
Great Black-backed
Gull
Alvars; rock outcrops, sand
barrens
Coastal bare areas; islands
Beaches; islands; offshore
rocks
Open shorelines, beaches,
mudflats
Exposed earthen banks, sand
and gravel pits, open
shorelines
Killdeer
Northern Roughwinged Swallow
Migrant (no BCR 13ON population
objective)
Increase
Y
Y
Y
Y
Increase
Y
Migrant (no BCR 13ON population
objective)
Migrant (no BCR 13ON population
objective)
Maintain current
Recovery objective
Regional/Sub-regional
5
Concern
Regional/Sub-regional
6
Stewardship
National/Continental
Concern
National/Continental
Stewardship
4
Population
Objective
SARO
1
3
Habitat Description
SARA
Priority Species
COSEWIC
2
Table 16 continued
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
7
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Increase
Y
Y
Maintain current
Y
Increase
Y
Increase
Y
1
Y
Habitat descriptions, in most cases, follow definitions under the Land Cover Classification System (LCCS; see
Kennedy et al. 2012).
2
Assessed by COSEWIC as E, Endangered; T, Threatened; SC, Special Concern.
3
Species listed on Schedule 1 of SARA as E, Endangered; T, Threatened; SC, Special Concern.
4
Species listed as Endangered, Threatened or Special Concern on the SARO List.
5
Regional refers to BCR-wide (i.e., all jurisdictional data were used for the entire BCR) while sub-regional refers to
the Ontario portion of the BCR only (i.e., Ontario BCR data were used).
6
Only the landbird group distinguishes stewardship species from other priority species (see Panjabi et al. 2005).
7
Species listed on Schedule 1 of SARA and/or SARO, but for which there are no finalized recovery documents.
Official documents related to SARA or SARO will prevail when they are published; however, the interim population
objectives for these species in BCR 13 ON are: Common Nighthawk: Increase.
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July 2014
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3
4
SARA
SARO
Regional/Sub-regional
5
Concern
Regional/Sub-regional
6
Stewardship
National/Continental
Concern
National/Continental
Stewardship
Population
Objective
COSEWIC
2
Table 16 continued
Beaches; open shoreline; cliff
ledges or crevices
Recovery objective
Y
Y
Y
Y
Gravelly beaches
Recovery objective
Y
Y
Y
Y
Open shorelines for foraging
Increase
Migrant (no BCR 13ON population
objective)
Migrant (no BCR 13ON population
objective)
1
Priority Species
Habitat Description
Peregrine Falcon
(anatum/tundrius)
Piping Plover
(circumcinctus)
Purple Martin
Red Knot (rufa)
Beaches; mudflats
Semipalmated
Sandpiper
Beaches; mudflats
Spotted Sandpiper
River banks; open shoreline;
islands; sand and gravel pits
Increase
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
The Spotted Sandpiper, Piping Plover (circumcinctus), Common and Caspian Terns, Peregrine
Falcon (anatum/tundrius), and Great Black-backed Gull are all priority species that nest along
open shorelines (coastal bare areas) and/or on cliffs and bare islands. The loss and degradation
of shoreline habitats owing to urban development (threat sub-category 1.1) was assessed as a
very high-magnitude threat in part due to the number of species at risk using these habitats
(Fig. 21). Piping Plovers are endangered provincially and federally and are extremely rare and
localised breeders in Ontario. Recent known breeding locations in BCR 13 ON include one site
on Manitoulin Island where a male and four fledglings were found in July 2009 (Environment
Canada 2011b). Actions to conserve this species and the Peregrine Falcon (anatum/tundrius),
listed as Special Concern, appear in federal and provincial recovery documents. However,
recommended actions that seek to protect important nesting and/or stopover habitats for
priority species will also benefit species at risk (Table 17).
Bank Swallows, Belted Kingfishers and Northern Rough-winged Swallows nest in exposed
earthen banks, and these species are susceptible to loss of these habitats to development and
sand and gravel extraction (sub-categories 1.1 and 3.2, very high and high overall magnitude
threats, respectively). Recommended actions to mitigate these threats focus primarily on the
implementation of BMP guidelines for the protection of bank-nesting species by municipalities
and the private sector (Table 17).
Caspian and Common Terns nest colonially on islands. Competition for nesting sites with more
numerous waterbirds, such as Ring-billed Gulls or Double-crested Cormorants, were considered
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
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to be threats of high overall magnitude to these terns (sub-category 8.2). Threats associated
with disturbance from recreational activities (sub-category 6.1) were also determined to be of
high overall magnitude to several colonial species due to the potential for abandonment of
nests or tern colonies and, as a result, lower nesting success. Management of abundant species
such as cormorants for the benefit of less abundant waterbirds is recommended, as is
increasing the awareness of the effects of human activities on priority species.
Migrant shorebirds such as the rufa subspecies of the Red Knot or the Black-bellied Plover use
primarily beach and mudflat habitats, especially along the shoreline of the Great Lakes. These
long-distance migrants, many of which breed in the Arctic and winter in Central and South
America, use shoreline habitats to forage and gain mass prior to continuing on their migrations
(Ross et al. 2003). Recent analyses suggest that counts of shorebirds migrating through Ontario
may have declined by more than 75% (Ross et al. 2012), making these species the subject of
significant conservation concern in the region. The loss of shoreline habitat is particularly
severe on the Great Lakes, where encroaching development (sub-category 1.1) and shoreline
stabilization activities continue (Ross et al. 2003). Water-level regulation practices (subcategory 7.2; high overall magnitude), for example in Lake Ontario and the Upper St. Lawrence
River, can dampen yearly water cycles, effectively reducing periodic shoreline exposure and the
availability of invertebrate prey for some priority species (e.g., Killdeer; Bain et al. 2008). Also,
because coastal beaches are often heavily used for recreation, human disturbance (subcategory 6.1) was identified as a threat of high overall magnitude. Studies at other coastal sites
have demonstrated that human disturbance can reduce shorebirds’ use of staging sites by up to
50% (e.g., Pfister et al. 1992). Recommended actions to mitigate these threats are presented in
Table 17.
The full extent to which the Red Knot and other migrant shorebirds use bare areas in BCR 13
ON, however, is unknown, as are the severity of threats they might face. To address this and
other information gaps (sub-category 12.1), research and monitoring objectives were identified
that focus on gathering ecological and demographic information for specific priority species or
groups of species in the region (Table 17).
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1.1 Housing & urban areas
VH
1.2 Commercial & industrial areas
2.1 Annual & perennial non-timber crops
2.3 Livestock farming & ranching
Threat Sub-category
3.2 Mining & quarrying
Low
H
Medium
4.1 Roads & railroads
High
4.3 Shipping lanes
L
Very High
5.3 Logging & wood harvesting
Not Ranked
5.4 Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources
6.1 Recreational activities
H
6.3 Work & other activities
7.1 Fire & fire suppression
7.2 Dams & water management/use
H
7.3 Other ecosystem modifications
8.1 Invasive non-native/alien species
8.2 Problematic native species
H
8.3 Introduced genetic material
9.2 Industrial & military effluents
M
9.3 Agricultural & forestry effluents
L
12.1 Information lacking
0
5
10
15
20
25
Percent of Identified Threats
Figure 21. Percent of identified threats to priority species in bare areas in each threat sub-category.
Each bar represents the percent of the total number of threats identified in each threat sub-category in bare areas
(for example, if 100 threats were identified in total for all priority species in bare areas, and 10 of those threats
were in the category 1.1 Housing & urban areas, the bar on the graph would represent this as 10%). Threat subcategory 12.1 Information lacking was not ranked. The bars are divided to show the distribution of Low (L),
Medium (M), High (H) and Very High (VH) rankings of individual threats within each threat sub-category. For
example, the same threat may have been ranked H for one species and L for another; the shading illustrates the
proportion of L, M, H and VH rankings in the sub-category. The overall magnitude of the threat in bare areas is
shown at the end of each bar (also presented in Table 5). Only threats with a magnitude of medium or higher are
typically assigned habitat-specific conservation objectives.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
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Table 17. Threats addressed, conservation objectives, recommended actions and list of priority species affected in bare areas in BCR 13 ON.
Note: Issues such as climate change are not addressed in this table; instead, they are addressed in the Widespread Issues section.
Table 17 continued
Threat
Threat Addressed Objective Category
Objectives
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Sub-category
1.1 Housing & Loss and/or
1.1. Ensure land and
Identify, protect and
1.1 Site/area
Protect important
urban areas
degradation of
resource-use policies maintain important
protection
nesting/stopover habitats for
bare areas due to and practices
nesting and/or
priority birds.
development
maintain or improve
foraging sites and
5.2 Policies and
Include BMP guidelines for
bird habitat
important migration
regulations
the protection of coastal bare
stopover areas
areas for breeding and
migrating birds in municipal
planning; establish
guidelines/rules for visitors to
protected areas.
8.1 Research
Assess importance of BCR 13
ON to migrating shorebirds by
determining shorebird use of
appropriate habitats
throughout the area during
peak migration, and applying
these usage levels to
estimates of the total
amounts of the various
habitat types (Ontario
Shorebird Conservation Plan
2003).
Priority Species
1
Affected
American GoldenPlover, Bank
Swallow, Belted
Kingfisher, Buffbreasted
Sandpiper,
Common Tern,
Killdeer, Northern
Rough-winged
Swallow, Red Knot
(rufa),
Semipalmated
Sandpiper, Spotted
Sandpiper
American GoldenPlover, Buffbreasted
Sandpiper, Killdeer,
Red Knot (rufa),
Semipalmated
Sandpiper
Determine the degree of
1
While many priority species may benefit from proposed conservation actions, priority species not mentioned in this table are absent because 1) identified
threats in this habitat are of low magnitude, or 2) they are migrants with no threats identified in this habitat.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
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Table 17 continued
Threat
Threat Addressed
Sub-category
Objective Category
Objectives
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species
1
Affected
repeat use by shorebirds of
particular areas in southern
Ontario to establish whether
they are traditional stop-over
sites used by specific
individuals, or are used on a
more random and
opportunistic basis by
migrants (Ross 2003; Ontario
Shorebird Conservation Plan
2003).
3.2 Mining &
quarrying
Habitat loss
and/or
degradation from
the extraction of
sand and gravel
3.4. Implement
recovery plans for
species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements for
federal/provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
3.2 Species
recovery
Develop and/or implement
species at risk recovery
strategies or management
plans.
Piping Plover
(circumcinctus),
Red Knot (rufa)
1.1. Ensure land and
resource-use policies
and practices
maintain or improve
bird habitat
Protect, manage and
maintain important
nesting sites.
5.2 Policies and
regulations
Include habitat restoration for
priority species into postmining remediation or closure
plans.
Include guidelines for the
protection and management
of bank-nesting species such
as Belted Kingfisher and Bank
Swallow, in BMPs for
municipalities and operators
of sand and gravel pits (e.g.,
see Ontario Stone, Sand and
Gravel Association Bank
Swallow Fact Sheet, 2013).
Bank Swallow,
Belted Kingfisher,
Northern Roughwinged Swallow
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
5.3 Private sector
standards and
codes
July 2014
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Table 17 continued
Threat
Threat Addressed
Sub-category
Vulnerable to
disturbance by
active mines and
quarries during
the breeding
season
6.1
Recreational
activities
Decrease in
habitat quality
due to human
activity and
recreation
Objective Category
Objectives
Action Category
Recommended Actions
3.4 Implement
recovery strategies
for species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements for
federal/provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
3.2 Species
recovery
Develop and/or implement
species at risk recovery
strategies or management
plans.
4.1. Reduce
disturbance from
human recreation
Minimize human
disturbance of
priority species in
bare areas.
4.3 Awareness
and
communications
Develop education and
outreach initiatives to
increase public awareness
(e.g., signage) of shorebirds
and the potential influences
of human activities on
shorebirds and their habitats.
Investigate the effects of
recreational activities on
breeding and staging birds.
8.1 Research
7.2 Dams &
water
management/
use
Habitat loss due
to water level
stabilization,
dampening yearly
water cycles and
reducing periodic
3.4 Implement
recovery strategies
for species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements for a
federal/provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
3.2 Species
recovery
Develop and/or implement
species at risk recovery
strategies or management
plans.
1.3. Ensure the
continuation of
natural processes
that maintain bird
habitat
Maintain natural
hydrologic cycles to
ensure a variety of
coastal bare areas
5.2 Policies and
regulations
Develop recommendations
for international water-level
regulation criteria for Lake
Ontario which include
maintaining coastal habitat
diversity and health.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Priority Species
1
Affected
Peregrine Falcon
(anatum/tundrius)
American GoldenPlover, Bank
Swallow, Blackbellied Plover, Buffbreasted
Sandpiper,
Common Tern,
Killdeer, Red Knot
(rufa),
Semipalmated
Sandpiper, Spotted
Sandpiper
Peregrine Falcon
(anatum/tundrius),
Piping Plover
(circumcintus), Red
Knot (rufa)
American GoldenPlover, Belted
Kingfisher, Blackbellied Plover, Buffbreasted
Sandpiper, Killdeer,
July 2014
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Table 17 continued
Threat
Threat Addressed
Sub-category
shoreline
exposure.
Objective Category
Objectives
Action Category
Recommended Actions
8.1 Research
Determine the impact of
erosion and flood control on
the availability of nest and/or
foraging sites.
Priority Species
1
Affected
Red Knot (rufa),
Semipalmated
Sandpiper, Spotted
Sandpiper
3.4 Implement
recovery strategies
for species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements for
federal/provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
3.2 Species
recovery
Develop and/or implement
species at risk recovery
strategies or management
plans.
Piping Plover
(circumcintus), Red
Knot (rufa)
8.2
Problematic
native species
Competition with
other colonial
waterbirds for
nesting habitat
(such as large
Ring-billed Gull
and Cormorant
colonies)
3.2. Reduce
competition with
problematic native
species
Reduce competition
with Ring-billed Gulls
and Double-crested
Cormorants
2.2 Invasive/
problematic
species control
Implement population
management procedures
(e.g., egg-oiling, substrate
modification) under approved
permits as required (Quinn et
al. 1996; Morris et al. 2011).
Caspian Tern,
Common Tern
9.2 Industrial
& military
effluents
Mortality, sublethal effects
and/or habitat
degradation from
heavy metals and
other
environmental
contaminants
2.2 Reduce mortality
and/or sub-lethal
effects from
exposure to
contaminants
Reduce exposure to
environmental
contaminants
4.3 Awareness
and
communications
Undertake education and
awareness activities regarding
the impact of environmental
contaminants on birds and
their habitats.
Work with industry and policy
makers to reduce the quantity
of toxic chemicals released
into the environment.
American GoldenPlover, Blackbellied Plover, Buffbreasted
Sandpiper,
Common Tern,
Great Black-backed
Gull, Killdeer, Red
Knot (rufa), Spotted
Sandpiper
5.2 Policies and
regulations
Encourage the inclusion of
effective protection and
emergency response
measures within
environmental policies and
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July 2014
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Table 17 continued
Threat
Threat Addressed
Sub-category
Objective Category
Objectives
Action Category
5.4 Compliance
and enforcement
12.1
Information
Lacking
Lack of
information on
factors causing
population
declines
7.1 Improve
population/
demographic
monitoring
Monitor and assess
the effects of
contaminants on
birds
8.1 Research
3.4 Implement
recovery strategies
for species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements for
federal/provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
3.2 Species
recovery
7.4 Improve
understanding of
causes of population
declines
Determine sources of
mortality or
population decline(s)
8.1 Research
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Recommended Actions
regulations to prevent or
mitigate oil spills, industry
outfalls and other chemical
spills.
Continue to monitor and
enforce compliance with laws,
policies and regulations at all
levels.
Determine population-level
effects of environmental
contaminants and pesticides
on the vital rates of priority
species.
Develop and/or implement
species at risk recovery
strategies or management
plans.
Priority Species
1
Affected
Piping Plover
(circumcinctus),
Red Knot (rufa)
Implement research and
monitoring priorities
described within the Ontario
Shorebird Conservation Plan
(Ross et al. 2003).
American GoldenPlover, Blackbellied Plover, Buffbreasted Plover,
Killdeer, Red Knot
(rufa), Spotted
Sandpiper
Identify factors causing
population decline and/or
limiting population growth of
aerial-foraging insectivores.
Bank Swallow,
Northern Roughwinged Swallow,
Purple Martin
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Table 17 continued
Threat
Threat Addressed
Sub-category
Lack of
knowledge of the
importance of
various habitat
types used by
migrating
shorebirds in
southern Ontario
Objective Category
Objectives
Action Category
Recommended Actions
7.1 Improve
population/
demographic
monitoring
Improve population/
demographic
monitoring of aerial
insectivores
8.2 Monitoring
3.4 Implement
recovery strategies
for species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements for
federal/provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
Improve
understanding of
habitat use and/or
impacts of changes
to habitats to guide
conservation and
management
3.2 Species
recovery
Encourage submissions of
current and historic nest
record data to the Ontario
Nest Records Scheme/Project
NestWatch to improve
understanding of changes in
productivity.
Develop and/or implement
species at risk recovery
strategies or management
plans.
7.1 Improve
population/
demographic
monitoring
8.1 Research
Assess importance of BCR 13
ON to migrating shorebirds by
determining shorebird use of
appropriate habitats
throughout the area during
peak migration, and applying
these usage levels to
estimates of the total
amounts of the various
habitat types.
Priority Species
1
Affected
Common
2
Nighthawk
Bank Swallow,
Common
2
Nighthawk,
Northern Roughwinged Swallow,
Purple Martin
Common
Nighthawk, Red
Knot (rufa)
American GoldenPlover, Blackbellied Plover, Buffbreasted Plover,
Red Knot (rufa),
Semipalmated
Sandpiper
Determine the degree of
repeat use by shorebirds of
particular areas in southern
Ontario to establish whether
they are traditional stop-over
sites used by specific
2
Species listed on Schedule 1 of SARA and/or on the SARO List, but for which there are no finalized recovery documents. Official documents related to SARA or
SARO will prevail when they are published; however, interim conservation objectives and recommended actions are presented here.
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July 2014
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Table 17 continued
Threat
Threat Addressed
Sub-category
Objective Category
Objectives
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species
1
Affected
individuals, or are used on a
more random and
opportunistic basis by
migrants.
3.4 Implement
recovery strategies
for species at risk
Lack of
knowledge
(trend,
population size,
and/or
distribution
range)
7.1 Improve
population/
demographic
monitoring
3.4 Implement
recovery strategies
for species at risk
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Meet the legal
requirements for
federal/provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
Improve monitoring
efforts to increase
reliability of
population
status/trend
3.2 Species
recovery
Develop and/or implement
species at risk recovery
strategies or management
plans.
Red Knot (rufa)
8.2 Monitoring
Bank Swallow,
Common
2
Nighthawk
Meet the legal
requirements for
federal/provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
3.2 Species
recovery
Improve monitoring efforts to
increase reliability of
population status/trend for
colonial nesters (Bank
Swallow) and crepuscular
species (Common Nighthawk)
not well sampled by the
Breeding Bird Survey.
Develop and/or implement
species at risk recovery
strategies or management
plans.
Common
Nighthawk
July 2014
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Urban
BCR 13 ON is the most heavily populated BCR in Canada. Urban areas are far more extensive
here than in many other parts of the country, accounting for 8% of the land cover/land use,
which is defined as “settlement, built-up areas and infrastructure” (Table 1; Fig. 22). Rooftops,
roadsides, human-built structures (e.g., bridges) and other urban habitats are used by
numerous species of birds to some extent, but relatively few priority species use these areas
extensively or preferentially, especially during the breeding season (Table 18).
Figure 22. Map of urban areas in BCR 13 ON.
There are six priority species that use urban habitats in BCR 13 ON. Among these are five
species that have adapted to nest on or in artificial structures: the Chimney Swift, the Common
Nighthawk, the Barn Swallow, the Killdeer and the Peregrine Falcon (anatum/tundrius), which,
except for the Killdeer, are species at risk.
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July 2014
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Canada Goose
(Eastern
Temperatebreeding)
Chimney Swift
Common
Nighthawk
Killdeer
Peregrine Falcon
(anatum/tundrius)
Managed green spaces; lawns,
parks, golf courses, rooftops,
industrial sites, adjacent to water
Artificial surfaces (chimneys,
walls, rafters, building gables)
Artificial surfaces (gravel areas
including rooftops, occasionally
railways)
Artificial surfaces (gravel areas
including rooftops, road edges)
Bare areas; artificial surfaces
(ledges of tall building or bridges)
Y
Y
Regional/Sub-regional
5
Concern
Regional/Sub-regional
6
Stewardship
National/Continental
Concern
National/Continental
Stewardship
Recovery objective
4
Rural and settled landscapes;
barns, buildings and bridges
SARO
Barn Swallow
Population
Objective
3
Habitat Description
SARA
1
Priority Species
COSEWIC
2
Table 18. Priority species associated with urban habitats in BCR 13 ON, habitat descriptions,
population objectives and reasons for priority status.
Y
Y
Decrease
Recovery objective
7
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Recovery objective
7
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Increase
Recovery objective
Y
Y
Y
Y
For the Common Nighthawk, a species of Special Concern in Ontario and Threatened federally,
a trend towards fewer gravelled roofs in urban settings has reduced the availability of suitable
nesting habitat (threat sub-category 1.1; Fig. 23; Table 19; see also COSEWIC 2007a). Chimney
Swifts (threatened provincially and assessed by COSEWIC as threatened nationally) once
roosted and nested in large, hollow trees. The disappearance of these snags as land was cleared
through the 19th and early 20th century coincided with the widespread appearance of brick
chimneys. The species adapted to nest and roost in these and other human-built structures, but
the disappearance of many brick chimneys and the capping off of others has reduced the
availability of these structures to the species (sub-category 1.1; COSEWIC 2007b). Actions to
address these threats include identifying and protecting key urban roosting and nesting sites
(e.g., through conservation payments) and enhanced monitoring and research to better
1
Habitat descriptions are based on information found in the Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario, 2001–2005
and, in most cases, follow definitions under the Land Cover Classification System (LCCS; see Kennedy et al. 2012).
2
Assessed by COSEWIC as E, Endangered; T, Threatened; SC, Special Concern.
3
Species listed on Schedule 1 of SARA as E, Endangered; T, Threatened; SC, Special Concern.
4
Species listed as Endangered, Threatened or Special Concern on the SARO List.
5
Regional refers to BCR-wide (i.e., all jurisdictional data were used for the entire BCR) while sub-regional refers to
the Ontario portion of the BCR only (i.e., Ontario BCR data were used).
6
Only the landbird group distinguishes stewardship species from other priority species (see Panjabi et al. 2005).
7
Species listed on Schedule 1 of SARA and/or SARO, but for which there are no finalized recovery documents.
Official documents related to SARA or SARO will prevail when they are published; however, the interim population
objectives for these species in BCR 13 ON are: Chimney Swift: Increase; Common Nighthawk: Increase.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
Y
P a g e | 113
understand the reason(s) for population declines, as well as the distribution and trends of this
and other priority aerial insectivore species (sub-category 12.1; Table 19).
Killdeer, one of the most common and familiar North American shorebirds, has declined in
parts of the province (Cadman et al. 2007). This priority species has also adapted to breeding in
anthropogenic habitats such as gravel rooftops, roadsides, parks, lawns and building sites. As a
result of their close association with humans, Killdeer are particularly vulnerable to disturbance
and the adverse impacts of human activities (medium-magnitude threat sub-categories 6.1 and
6.3; Fig. 23). Raising public awareness regarding the vulnerability of this species to human
disturbance at nesting sites is among the recommended actions to mitigate these threats
(Table 19).
The Canada Goose is also a familiar bird in urban settings, inhabiting parks and other urban
green spaces near water. The Eastern Temperate-breeding population of the Canada Goose has
been so successful at adapting to this environment that its population size now brings it into
frequent conflict with humans. Management strategies to reduce these conflicts are being
defined in a Management Plan for Temperate-breeding Canada Geese in Ontario (Environment
Canada, in prep.), and implementing the recommendations of this plan was identified as a key
management action for this species (Table 19).
The use of pesticides in urban landscapes such as parks, golf courses, sports fields and lawns
(medium-magnitude threat sub-category 9.3) can pose a direct (e.g., poisoning) or indirect
threat (e.g., reduction in prey availability) to some priority species such as Killdeer and Common
Nighthawk. Conservation actions focus on increasing awareness of the responsible use of
chemical pesticides as well as promoting IPM programs to reduce pesticide use, coupled with
monitoring and enforcing compliance with laws, policies and regulations at all levels (Table 19).
The full list of threats to and information needs (sub-category 12.1) for priority species in urban
habitats of BCR 13 ON as well as the conservation objectives and recommended actions are
presented in Table 19. Note that although mortality from collisions with vehicles (sub-category
4.1 Roads and railroads) is a medium overall magnitude to priority species in this habitat, it is
not examined in Table 19, given that the effects of this threat are widespread. It is instead
addressed in the Widespread Issues section of this strategy.
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1.1 Housing & urban areas
H
1.2 Commercial & industrial areas
2.1 Annual & perennial non-timber crops
2.3 Livestock farming & ranching
Low
Threat Sub-category
3.2 Mining & quarrying
4.1 Roads & railroads
Medium
M
High
4.3 Shipping lanes
Very High
5.3 Logging & wood harvesting
Not Ranked
5.4 Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources
M
6.1 Recreational activities
6.3 Work & other activities
M
7.1 Fire & fire suppression
7.2 Dams & water management/use
7.3 Other ecosystem modifications
8.1 Invasive non-native/alien species
8.2 Problematic native species
L
8.3 Introduced genetic material
9.2 Industrial & military effluents
9.3 Agricultural & forestry effluents
M
12.1 Information lacking
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
Percent of Identified Threats
Figure 23. Percent of identified threats to priority species in urban habitats in each threat
sub-category.
Each bar represents the percent of the total number of threats identified in each threat sub-category in urban
habitat (for example, if 100 threats were identified in total for all priority species in urban habitat, and 10 of those
threats were in the category 1.1 Housing & urban areas, the bar on the graph would represent this as 10%). Threat
sub-category 12.1 Information lacking was not ranked. The bars are divided to show the distribution of Low (L),
Medium (M), High (H) and Very High (VH) rankings of individual threats within each threat sub-category. For
example, the same threat may have been ranked H for one species and L for another; the shading illustrates the
proportion of L, M, H and VH rankings in the sub-category. The overall magnitude of the threat in urban habitat is
shown at the end of each bar (also presented in Table 5). Only threats with a magnitude of medium or higher are
typically assigned habitat-specific conservation objectives.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
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Table 19. Threats addressed, conservation objectives, recommended actions and list of priority species affected in urban habitats in
BCR 13 ON.
Note: Issues such as collisions with human-made structures and collisions with vehicles, and climate change, are not addressed in this table; instead, they are
addressed in the Widespread Issues section.
Table 19 continued
Threat
Threat
Sub-category Addressed
1.1 Housing
and urban
areas
Reduction in
the number of
gravelled
roofs reduces
urban
population of
Common
Nighthawk
Loss of nesting
and roosting
sites due to
the demolition
of chimneys or
installation of
screening/loss
Objective
Category
Objectives
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority
Species
1
Affected
1.4. Maintain
important bird
features on the
landscape
Protect nesting
areas in urban
landscapes
2.1 Site/area
management
Common
2
Nighthawk
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements for
federal/provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
Protect nesting
and roosting sites
in urban
landscapes.
3.2 Species recovery
Identify, protect and monitor nesting
sites in urban areas (Ontario Partners in
Flight 2008).
Property owners may be eligible for
stewardship programs that support the
protection and recovery of species at
risk and their habitats (see Ontario
Ministry of Natural Resources Common
Nighthawk Fact Sheet, 2009).
Develop and/or implement species at
risk recovery strategies or management
plans.
Identify, monitor and protect nesting
and roosting sites in urban areas
(Ontario Partners in Flight 2008).
Research and develop effective artificial
nesting towers for use on building
rooftops where existing chimneys are
capped.
Chimney
2
Swift
1.4. Maintain
important bird
features on the
landscape
6.4 Conservation
Payments
2.1 Site/area
management
2.1 Site/area
management
Common
Nighthawk
1
While many priority species may benefit from proposed conservation actions, priority species not mentioned in this table are absent because 1) identified
threats in this habitat are of low magnitude, or 2) they are migrants with no threats identified in this habitat.
2
Species listed on Schedule 1 of SARA and/or on the SARO List, but for which there are no finalized recovery documents. Official documents related to SARA or
SARO will prevail when they are published; however, interim conservation objectives and recommended actions are presented here.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
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Table 19 continued
Threat
Threat
Sub-category Addressed
Objective
Category
Objectives
of hollow
trees.
Action Category
Recommended Actions
4.3 Awareness and
communications
Increase awareness of the importance of
chimneys as nesting and roosting sites
for Chimney Swifts.
Develop and/or implement species at
risk recovery strategies or management
plans.
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements for
federal/provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
3.2 Species recovery
Priority
Species
1
Affected
Chimney
Swift
6.1
Recreational
activities
Disturbance at
nest sites
from
recreational
activity/
human
presence
4.1 Reduce
disturbance from
human
recreation
Reduce
disturbance at
nesting sites
2.1 Site/area
management
4.3 Awareness and
communications
Establish buffer zones around known
nesting sites.
Raise public awareness of the
vulnerability of this species to human
disturbance at nesting sites.
Killdeer
6.3 Work &
other
activities
Disturbance at
nest sites
from urban
development
4.2. Reduce
disturbance from
industrial or work
activity
Reduce
disturbance at
nesting sites
2.1 Site/area
management
4.3 Awareness and
communications
Establish buffer zones around known
nesting sites.
Raise public awareness of the
vulnerability of this species to human
disturbance at nesting sites.
Develop BMPs as a means to reduce
disturbance (e.g., to prevent birds from
initiating nesting on artificial structures
scheduled for construction or
maintenance).
Chimney
2
Swift,
Killdeer
5.3 Private sector
standards and codes
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July 2014
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Table 19 continued
Threat
Threat
Sub-category Addressed
9.3
Agricultural &
forestry
effluents
12.1
Information
Lacking
Objective
Category
Objectives
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority
Species
1
Affected
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements for
federal/provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
3.2 Species recovery
Develop and/or implement species at
risk recovery strategies or management
plans.
Barn
Swallow,
Chimney
Swift,
Peregrine
Falcon
(anatum/
tundrius)
Pesticide use
in urban
landscapes
(e.g., golf
courses,
lawns, parks)
has direct
(toxic) and
indirect
effects (e.g.,
decreased
prey
abundance)
2.1. Reduce
mortality and/or
sub-lethal effects
from pesticide
use
Reduce use of
pesticides
4.3 Awareness and
communications
Killdeer,
Common
2
Nighthawk
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements for
federal/provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
3.2 Species recovery
Increase awareness of the responsible
use of chemical pesticides on golf
courses and in urban landscapes.
Promote the use of IPM programs to
reduce pesticide use in urban
landscapes.
Continue to monitor and enforce
compliance with laws, policies and
regulations at all levels.
Develop and/or implement species at
risk recovery strategies or management
plans.
Lack of
information
on factors
causing
population
7.4. Improve
understanding of
causes of
population
declines
Determine
source(s) of
mortality or
population
decline(s)
8.1 Research
Identify factors causing population
decline and/or limiting population
growth of aerial-foraging insectivores.
Common
2
Nighthawk,
Chimney
2
Swift
5.3 Private sector
standards and codes
5.4 Compliance and
enforcement
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Common
Nighthawk
July 2014
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Table 19 continued
Threat
Threat
Sub-category Addressed
declines
Lack of
knowledge
(trend,
population
size, and/or
distribution
range)
Objective
Category
Objectives
Action Category
Recommended Actions
7.1. Improve
population/demo
graphic
monitoring
Improve
population/demog
raphic monitoring
of aerial
insectivores
8.2 Monitoring
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements for
federal/provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
3.2 Species recovery
Encourage submissions of current and
historic nest record data to the Ontario
Nest Records Scheme/Project
NestWatch to improve understanding of
changes in productivity (Ontario
Partners in Flight 2008).
Develop and/or implement species at
risk recovery strategies or management
plans.
7.1. Improve
population/demo
graphic
monitoring
Improve
monitoring efforts
to increase
reliability of
population
status/trend
Meet the legal
requirements for
federal/provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
8.2 Monitoring
Improve monitoring efforts to increase
reliability of population status/trend for
crepuscular species not well sampled by
the Breeding Bird Survey.
3.2 Species recovery
Develop and/or implement species at
risk recovery strategies or management
plans.
Reduce humangoose conflicts
3.1 Species
management
Implement strategies within A
Management Plan for Temperate
Breeding Canada Geese in Ontario
(Environment Canada, in prep.).
5.4 Compliance and
enforcement
Undertake compliance promotion of the
federal Migratory Birds Regulations and
provide advice for stakeholders and the
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Management of Nuisance Species
Conservation Issue: Increasing
3.6 Manage
conflicts between geese and
nuisance species
human activities (e.g.,
agriculture) due to very
abundant Eastern temperatebreeding Canada Geese
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Priority
Species
1
Affected
Barn
Swallow,
Chimney
Swift,
Common
Nighthawk
Common
2
Nighthawk
Canada
Goose
(Temperatebreeding in
Eastern
Canada)
July 2014
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Table 19 continued
Threat
Threat
Sub-category Addressed
Objective
Category
Objectives
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority
Species
1
Affected
public.
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Wetlands
Wetlands include vegetated habitats that are aquatic or regularly flooded such as bogs, fens,
swamps, and marshes and account for approximately 13% of the land cover/land use of BCR 13
ON (Table 1, Fig. 24). Loss of wetland habitats to agriculture, development, water diversion and
other land use change is a common issue across much of the country. However, the proportion
lost has been especially high in southern Ontario. Prior to European settlement, vast swamps
and marshes covered perhaps 25% or more of the region. Wetlands remain common in the
northern portion of the BCR in areas where agricultural potential is poor, but more than 90% of
original pre-settlement wetlands have been lost from the fertile southwestern portion of
Ontario along with 80% of those in eastern Ontario, on the Niagara peninsula and along
western Lake Ontario (Snell 1987).
Figure 24. Map of wetlands in BCR 13 ON.
There are 39 priority species that use wetlands in BCR 13 ON, 8 of which are listed as species at
risk at the federal and/or provincial level. Wetland habitats are used extensively by 40% of
priority species (Table 20).
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Table 20. Priority species associated with wetland habitats in BCR 13 ON, habitat descriptions,
population objectives and reasons for priority status.
4
SARO
Regional/Sub-regional
5
Concern
Regional/Sub-regional
6
Stewardship
National/Continental
Concern
National/Continental
Stewardship
3
Population
Objective
SARA
1
COSEWIC
2
Table 20 continued
Priority Species
Habitat Description
American Bittern
Marshes
Assess/Maintain
Y
Y
American Black Duck
Riverine marshes, bogs,
wooded swamps, beaver
ponds
Maintain current
Y
Y
American Coot
Large cattail marshes
Increase
Y
Belted Kingfisher
Swamps and riparian
wetlands
Increase
Y
Black Tern
Marshes; coastal marshes
Black-bellied Plover
Shallow, muddy wetlands;
coastal wetlands
Black-crowned NightHeron
Marshes; swamps
Assess/Maintain
Y
Blue-winged Teal
Marshes
Y
Y
Bonaparte's Gull
Marshes; coastal marshes
Y
Y
Canada Goose
(Southern James Bay)
Marshes; coastal wetlands
Increase
Migrant (no BCR
13-ON
population
objective)
Migrant (no BCR
13-ON
population
objective)
Y
Y
Canada Goose
(Eastern Temperatebreeding population)
Marshes; coastal wetlands
Decrease
Y
Recovery
objective
Migrant (no BCR
13-ON
population
objective)
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
1
Habitat descriptions, in most cases, follow definitions under the Land Cover Classification System (LCCS; see
Kennedy et al. 2012).
2
Assessed by COSEWIC as E, Endangered; T, Threatened; SC, Special Concern.
3
Species listed on Schedule 1 of SARA as E, Endangered; T, Threatened; SC, Special Concern.
4
Species listed as Endangered, Threatened or Special Concern on the SARO List.
5
Regional refers to BCR-wide (i.e., all jurisdictional data were used for the entire BCR) while sub-regional refers to
the Ontario portion of the BCR only (i.e., Ontario BCR data were used).
6
Only the landbird group distinguishes stewardship species from other priority species (see Panjabi et al. 2005).
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4
SARO
Regional/Sub-regional
5
Concern
Regional/Sub-regional
6
Stewardship
National/Continental
Concern
National/Continental
Stewardship
3
Population
Objective
SARA
1
COSEWIC
2
Table 20 continued
Priority Species
Habitat Description
Canvasback
Coastal marshes
Maintain current
Y
Common Gallinule
Large permanent marshes
with open water and tall
emergent vegetation
Assess/Maintain
Y
Forster's Tern
Coastal marshes
Assess/Maintain
Y
Great Blue Heron
Marshes; swamps
Maintain current
Y
Great Egret
Green Heron
Marshes; swamps
Marshes; shrub swamps;
Marshes, bogs, fens, beaver
meadows
Increase
Increase
Y
Y
Maintain current
Y
Green-winged Teal
Horned Grebe
(western population)
Marshes and shallow bays
King Rail
Marshes
Least Bittern
Marshes dominated by
emergent vegetation with
open water
Lesser Scaup
Coastal marshes
Coastal marshes
Little Gull
Louisiana
Waterthrush
Mallard
Mute Swan
Northern Harrier
Clear headwater streams
and associated wetlands;
heavily wooded swamps
Marshes, beaver ponds,
swamps
Coastal and inland marshes
with dense emergent
vegetation
Bogs; fens; marshes
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Migrant (no BCR
13-ON
population
objective)
Recovery
objective
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Assess/Maintain
Y
Y
Migrant (no BCR
13-ON
population
objective)
Y
Y
Y
Y
Increase
Y
Y
Decrease
Y
Maintain current
Y
Recovery
objective
Recovery
objective
Y
Y
Y
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Marshes
Prothonotary Warbler
Deciduous swamps
Redhead
Large marshes
Red-necked Grebe
Y
Y
Y
Maintain current
Recovery
objective
Regional/Sub-regional
5
Concern
Regional/Sub-regional
6
Stewardship
National/Continental
Concern
National/Continental
Stewardship
Pied-billed Grebe
Recovery
7
objective
4
Bogs; fens; tall trees in
expansive bogs
SARO
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Population
Objective
3
Habitat Description
SARA
1
Priority Species
COSEWIC
2
Table 20 continued
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Maintain current
Y
Y
Coastal marshes
Assess/Maintain
Y
Ring-necked Duck
Coastal marshes for staging;
swamps; fens; bogs; beaver
ponds
Maintain current
Y
Sandhill Crane
Marshes and wet sedge fens
Assess/Maintain
Y
Sora
Marshes
Assess/Maintain
Y
Y
Virginia Rail
Marshes
Maintain current
Y
Y
Assess/Maintain
Y
Increase
Y
Wilson's Snipe
Wood Duck
Yellow Rail
Bogs; fens; willow swamps;
wet meadows; coastal
marshes
Deciduous swamps; beaver
ponds
Marshes dominated by
sedges
Recovery
objective
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
The loss of both inland and coastal wetland habitat poses the highest-level threat to priority
species in BCR 13 ON. Wetlands along the Great Lakes coast are of particular importance as
staging habitat for migratory waterfowl, swallows, shorebirds and breeding habitat for many
waterbirds including the endangered King Rail and the threatened Least Bittern. Like inland
wetlands, a substantial fraction of these coastal wetlands have been lost to development
(threat sub-category 1.1, Fig. 25), which has been identified as a threat of very high overall
magnitude for priority species in this habitat. For example, estimates suggest losses of 43%
along the shore of Lake Ontario west of the Bay of Quinte (Whillans 1982).
7
Species listed on Schedule 1 of SARA and/or SARO, but for which there are no finalized recovery documents.
Official documents related to SARA or SARO will prevail when they are published; however, the interim population
objective for the Olive-sided Flycatcher in BCR 13 ON is: Increase.
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Away from the shores of the Great Lakes, the threat of wetland loss to development is ongoing.
Draining and filling of wetlands to make room for urban development and agricultural uses
(sub-categories 1.1 and 2.1; very high overall magnitude threat) as well as removing natural
features such as nesting cavities (sub-category 5.3; high overall magnitude threat) were all
identified as significant threats to priority species. Actions to restore wetlands at a local and
landscape scale seek to regain the valuable ecosystem services they provide. Wetlands function
as natural flood-control mechanisms, and the aggregate value of this and other services
provided by wetlands was recently estimated at nearly $52 billion annually for BCR 13 ON alone
(Troy and Bagstad 2009). Planning land uses to maintain a target quantity of wetland habitat at
a watershed scale is both beneficial for birds and other elements of biodiversity, and also
sensible from the perspective of infrastructure protection.
For wetlands in BCR 13 ON, invasive species also posed an overall threat of very high magnitude
(sub-category 8.1). Exotic or non-native invasives such as Phragmites and Purple Loosestrife
thrive in wetlands, outcompeting native vegetation, reducing plant diversity and reducing the
quality of wetlands for many birds and other wildlife. Direct management of invasive species is
sometimes necessary, and actions to restore hydrologic cycles and other natural ecosystem
functions allow native species to recolonize (Table 21). In addition, the Mute Swan is a nonnative invasive species that was brought here by European settlers during the late 1800s to
adorn parks, gardens and estates. Since then, feral populations have established and flourished
in some areas due to escapes or intentional releases from captive flocks (Environment Canada
2013b; Cadman et al. 2007). Between 1986 and 2011, the abundance of Mute Swans along the
Ontario side of the lower Great Lakes had grown from 615 to over 3,000 swans (Meyer et al.
2012). The Mute Swan is a highly territorial and aggressive species that can pose risks to native
wildlife and people. Its aggressive nature can disrupt the nesting of native waterfowl, and they
are capable of causing serious injury to people and pets. Attacks can occur on land and water
when attempting to feed swans or entering their territories. Furthermore, feeding activities of
large numbers of Mute Swans over time can damage or drastically alter wetland ecosystems
(Environment Canada 2013b). Given the increasing abundance and distribution of this species in
southern Ontario, it is a species of management interest (see Management of Nuisance Species
in Table 21).
Furthermore, human activities to enhance commercial shipping and curb shoreline erosion
have altered hydrologic processes in Lake Ontario (Wires et al. 2010). Research has shown that
water-level regulation practices (sub-category 7.2), identified as a threat of high magnitude,
have compressed the range of water levels to the point of causing widespread degradation of
the coastal wetlands on Lake Ontario and the upper St. Lawrence River (International Joint
Commission 2013; Wilcox et al. 1992). However, despite significant losses, nearly 64,000 ha of
coastal wetlands remain (Zeran et. al. unpubl.; Ontario Eastern Habitat Joint Venture 2007).
Their protection, management and restoration are among the most critical conservation needs
for priority birds in wetland habitats. Suggested actions for key coastal wetlands include direct
protection of important nesting and stopover sites (e.g., through protected areas, land
acquisition and conservation easements), and conservation-related initiatives geared to
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
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ensuring no net loss of wetland area, as well as maintaining wetland functions and natural
hydrologic cycles (Table 21).
Degradation of aquatic habitats by direct and indirect sources of pollutants from industry and
agriculture poses a significant threat to priority birds across the region. Degradation of aquatic
habitats from nutrient inputs (e.g., chemical fertilizers and manure), agricultural pesticides
(sub-category 9.3) and industrial chemicals (sub-category 9.2) were identified as high and
medium overall magnitude threats to priority birds in wetlands, respectively (Table 21).
Conservation actions focus on implementing BMPs to reduce potential risks to aquatic birds and
their habitats resulting from agricultural production (e.g., nutrient management), improving
habitat quality through maintaining naturally vegetated riparian areas, promoting the inclusion
of effective protection and emergency response measures within environmental policies and
regulations to prevent or mitigate oil spills, industry outfalls and other chemical spills,
promoting the use of IPM programs to reduce pesticide use in upland agricultural areas as well
as monitoring and enforcing compliance with laws, policies and regulations at all levels.
In BCR 13 ON, habitat loss and degradation from the construction and maintenance of
transportation networks was assessed as a high overall threat to priority species in wetland
habitats (sub-category 4.1). Southern Ontario has the highest density of roads of any region in
Canada (Ontario Biodiversity Council 2010), and the construction, maintenance and use by
vehicles of these networks pose risks to bird populations and the habitats upon which they rely
(Kociolek 2011). The effects of roads on wildlife depend on their location, density of road
corridors and their level of use. Few natural areas in southwestern and central Ontario are
more than 1.5 km from existing roads (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources 2009). In
southeastern Ontario, the species richness of wetland plants, amphibians, reptiles and birds
each correlated negatively with road density within 1–2 km of a wetland (Ontario Biodiversity
Council 2010). Roads between and within urban centres can have both direct and indirect
effects on birds and other wildlife, including individual species disturbance attributed to noise
and dust, habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation (loss of suitable nest sites, destruction of
nest sites, decline of prey species), indirect mortality from increased predator/prey contact,
and increased exposure to invasive species. Recommended wetland habitat conservation
actions seek to mitigate the effects of roads through the implementation of BMPs or mitigation
guidelines to avoid habitat loss and degradation. The Widespread Issues section of this strategy
addresses mortality caused by collisions with vehicles.
Finally, human disturbance of breeding, staging and wintering birds in BCR 13 ON wetlands by a
variety of recreational activities (e.g., boating) was assessed as a high overall magnitude threat
to a number of priority species (sub-category 6.1). Excessive disturbance of birds can increase
flight time, decrease feeding time, force birds to forage in less preferred habitats and
potentially influence their ability to acquire the fat reserves necessary for migration.
Recommended actions include establishing protection zones to buffer wetlands from
disturbance, restricting access to known stopover areas and increasing public awareness of the
important role of stopover sites and the detrimental effects of disturbance on breeding, staging
and foraging birds (Table 21).
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The full list of threats to and information needs (sub-category 12.1) for priority species in
wetland habitats of BCR 13 ON as well as the conservation objectives and recommended
actions are presented in Table 21. Note that although mortality from collisions with structures
and buildings (sub-category 1.2) is a threat of medium magnitude in this habitat, given that the
effects of this threat are widespread, it is discussed in the Widespread Issues section of this
strategy.
1.1 Housing & urban areas
VH
1.2 Commercial & industrial areas
M
2.1 Annual & perennial non-timber crops
VH
2.3 Livestock farming & ranching
M
Threat Sub-category
3.2 Mining & quarrying
Low
L
4.1 Roads & railroads
Medium
H
4.3 Shipping lanes
High
L
5.3 Logging & wood harvesting
Very High
H
Not Ranked
5.4 Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources
6.1 Recreational activities
H
6.3 Work & other activities
7.1 Fire & fire suppression
H
7.2 Dams & water management/use
7.3 Other ecosystem modifications
VH
8.1 Invasive non-native/alien species
8.2 Problematic native species
L
8.3 Introduced genetic material
M
9.2 Industrial & military effluents
9.3 Agricultural & forestry effluents
H
12.1 Information lacking
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
Percent of Identified Threats
Figure 25. Percent of identified threats to priority species in wetland habitats in each threat
sub-category.
Each bar represents the percent of the total number of threats identified in each threat sub-category in wetland
habitat (for example, if 100 threats were identified in total for all priority species in wetland habitat, and 10 of
those threats were in the category 1.1 Housing & urban areas, the bar on the graph would represent this as 10%).
Threat sub-category 12.1 Information lacking was not ranked. The bars are divided to show the distribution of Low
(L), Medium (M), High (H) and Very High (VH) rankings of individual threats within each threat sub-category. For
example, the same threat may have been ranked H for one species and L for another; the shading illustrates the
proportion of L, M, H and VH rankings in the sub-category. The overall magnitude of the threat in wetland habitat
is shown at the end of each bar (also presented in Table 5). Only threats with a magnitude of medium or higher are
typically assigned habitat-specific conservation objectives.
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July 2014
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Table 21. Threats addressed, conservation objectives, recommended actions, and list of priority species affected in wetland habitats
in BCR 13 ON.
Note: Issues such as collisions with human-made structures and vehicles, and climate change, are not addressed in this table; instead, they are addressed in
the widespread issues section.
Table 21 continued
Threat
Threat
Sub-category
Addressed
1.1 Housing &
urban areas
Loss of
wetland
habitat due to
development
Objective
Category
Objectives
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species
1
Affected
1.1. Ensure
land and
resource-use
policies and
practices
maintain or
improve bird
habitat
Maintain,
enhance or
restore
quantity,
quality and
diversity of
wetlands
across the
landscape
1.1 Site/area
protection
Identify and protect important nesting/stopover
wetland habitats for priority birds.
1.2 Resource and
habitat protection
Protect wetlands of a variety of sizes,
configuration and habitat conditions (e.g.,
emergent cover, water level, hydroperiods) in
order to ensure a diversity of sub-habitat types
and species across the landscape.
Ensure no net loss of wetland area, and focus on
maintaining and restoring wetland functions at a
watershed and sub-watershed scale based on
historic reference conditions. At a minimum, the
greater of (a) 10% of each major watershed and
6% of each sub-watershed, or (b) 40% of the
historic watershed wetland coverage, should be
protected and restored (Environment Canada
2013a).
American Bittern,
American Black Duck,
American Coot,
Belted Kingfisher,
Black-crowned NightHeron, Blue-winged
Teal, Canvasback,
Common Gallinule,
Forster's Tern, Great
Blue Heron, Great
Egret, Green Heron,
Green-winged Teal,
Horned Grebe
(western
2
population), Lesser
Scaup, Little Gull,
Northern Harrier,
Olive-sided
2
Flycatcher, Piedbilled Grebe, Ringnecked Duck, Sora,
Virginia Rail, Wilson's
Snipe, Wood Duck
2.3 Habitat and
natural process
restoration
Restore wetlands in key locations. Headwater
areas, flood plains, and coastal areas should be
prioritized. Special attention should be paid to
historic wetland locations or the site and soil
conditions (Environment Canada 2013a).
1
While many priority species may benefit from proposed conservation actions, priority species not mentioned in this table are absent because 1) identified
threats in this habitat are of low magnitude, or 2) they are migrants with no threats identified in this habitat.
2
Species listed on Schedule 1 of SARA and/or on the SARO List, but for which there are no finalized recovery documents. Official documents related to SARA or
SARO will prevail when they are published; however, interim conservation objectives and recommended actions are presented here.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
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Table 21 continued
Threat
Threat
Sub-category
Addressed
Objective
Category
Objectives
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species
1
Affected
Ensure presence of important bird features such
as cavity nesting trees, natural vegetation cover
as appropriate to the priority species.
4.3 Awareness
and
communications
5.3 Private sector
standards and
codes
7.2 Alliance and
partnership
development
2.1 Annual &
perennial nontimber crops
Loss of
wetland
habitat due to
agricultural
development/
intensification
(e.g., drainage
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements
for federal/
provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
3.2 Species
recovery
1.1. Ensure
land and
resource-use
policies and
practices
maintain or
improve bird
Maintain,
enhance or
restore
quantity,
quality and
diversity of
wetlands
1.1 Site/area
protection
1.2 Resource and
habitat protection
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Promote wetland conservation and ecosystem
services as a means to maintaining a healthy
environment.
Develop land-use policies and BMPs that
support wetland habitat protection/restoration
by all sectors (e.g., construction, agriculture,
forestry, mining, wind power, and aggregate
extraction).
Improve coordination of existing private land
stewardship incentive programs and encourage
governments to develop/expand incentive
programs for specific conservation needs.
Develop and/or implement species at risk
recovery strategies or management plans.
Identify and protect important nesting/stopover
wetland habitats for priority birds.
Protect wetlands of a variety of sizes,
configuration and habitat conditions (e.g.,
emergent cover, water level, hydroperiods) in
order to ensure a diversity of sub-habitat types
and species across the landscape.
Black Tern, Horned
Grebe (western
population), King
Rail, Least Bittern,
Louisiana
Waterthrush, Olivesided Flycatcher,
Prothonotary
Warbler, Yellow Rail
American Bittern,
American Black Duck,
American Coot,
Black-bellied Plover,
Black-crowned NightHeron, Blue-winged
Teal, Common
July 2014
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Table 21 continued
Threat
Threat
Sub-category
Addressed
and filling of
wetlands)
Objective
Category
Objectives
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species
1
Affected
habitat
across the
landscape
2.3 Habitat and
natural process
restoration
Ensure no net loss of wetland area, and focus on
maintaining and restoring wetland functions at a
watershed and sub-watershed scale based on
historic reference conditions.
Gallinule, Forster's
Tern, Great Blue
Heron, Great Egret,
Green Heron, Greenwinged Teal, Horned
Grebe (western
2
population), Lesser
Scaup, Northern
Harrier, Olive-sided
2
Flycatcher, Piedbilled Grebe, Ringnecked Duck, Sora,
Virginia Rail, Wilson's
Snipe, Wood Duck
At a minimum, the greater of (a) 10% of each
major watershed and 6% of each subwatershed, or (b) 40% of the historic watershed
wetland coverage, should be protected and
restored (Environment Canada 2013a).
Restore wetlands in key locations. Headwater
areas, flood plains, and coastal areas should be
prioritized. Special attention should be paid to
historic wetland locations or the site and soil
conditions.
4.3 Awareness
and
communications
5.2 Policies and
regulations
5.3 Private sector
standards and
codes
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Ensure presence of important bird features such
as cavity nesting trees, natural vegetation cover
as appropriate to the priority species.
Promote wetland conservation and ecosystem
services as a means to maintaining a healthy
environment.
Policies pertaining to wetland conservation and
restoration, water quality, water drainage, and
agricultural practices should include
conservation guidelines for small wetlands
currently not viewed as provincially significant.
Develop land-use policies and BMPs that
support wetland habitat protection/restoration
by all sectors (e.g., construction, agriculture,
forestry, mining, wind power, and aggregate
extraction).
July 2014
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Table 21 continued
Threat
Threat
Sub-category
Addressed
2.3 Livestock
farming &
ranching
Degradation
of wetland
habitats from
livestock
access (e.g.,
reduced
vegetative
cover,
bacterial,
sediment and
nutrient
loading)
Objective
Category
Objectives
Action Category
Recommended Actions
7.2 Alliance and
partnership
development
Improve coordination of existing private land
stewardship incentive programs and encourage
governments to develop/expand incentive
programs for specific conservation needs.
Develop and/or implement species at risk
recovery strategies or management plans.
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements
for federal/
provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
3.2 Species
recovery
1.1 Ensure
land and
resource-use
policies and
practices
maintain or
improve bird
habitat
Maintain,
enhance or
restore
quantity,
quality and
diversity of
wetlands
across the
landscape
2.1 Site/area
management
2.3 Habitat and
natural process
restoration
5.2 Policies and
regulations
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Meet the legal
requirements
for federal/
provincial
5.3 Private sector
standards and
codes
3.2 Species
recovery
Priority Species
1
Affected
Black Tern, Horned
Grebe (western
population, King Rail,
Least Bittern,
Louisiana
Waterthrush, Olivesided Flycatcher,
Yellow Rail
Maintain/restore suitable riparian buffers
around wetlands to reduce erosion and runoff,
and provide foraging and nesting habitat for
birds.
Where wetlands have been degraded by
livestock activity, restore and enhance wetland
habitat through fencing, grazing management,
and planting of native wetland and riparian
vegetation.
Policies pertaining to wetland conservation and
restoration, water quality, water drainage, and
agricultural practices should include
conservation guidelines for small wetlands
currently not viewed as provincially significant.
Restrict livestock access to surface water and
provide alternate water sources.
Great Blue Heron,
Belted Kingfisher
Develop and/or implement species at risk
recovery strategies or management plans.
Least Bittern
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Table 21 continued
Threat
Threat
Sub-category
Addressed
Objective
Category
Objectives
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species
1
Affected
Develop and/or implement existing BMPs or
mitigation guidelines to avoid habitat loss,
fragmentation or degradation from road
construction and maintenance.
American Bittern,
American Black Duck,
American Coot, Bluewinged Teal,
Common Gallinule,
Great Blue Heron,
Green Heron, Greenwinged Teal,
Northern Harrier,
Pied-billed Grebe,
Red-necked Grebe,
Sora, Virginia Rail,
Wilson’s Snipe,
Wood Duck
Black Tern
Species at Risk
legislation
4.1 Roads &
railroads
5.3 Logging &
wood
harvesting
Habitat loss
and
degradation
from the
construction
and
maintenance
of
transportation
networks
Loss of nesting
cavities
1.1 Ensure
land and
resource-use
policies and
practices
maintain or
improve bird
habitat
Reduce/
eliminate
habitat loss,
fragmentation
and/or
degradation
from the
construction
and
maintenance
of road
networks
5.2 Policies and
regulations
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements
for federal/
provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
3.2 Species
recovery
Develop and/or implement species at risk
recovery strategies or management plans.
1.4 Maintain
important bird
features on
the landscape
Maintain or
restore
important bird
features in
wetland
2.3 Habitat and
natural process
restoration
Ensure presence of important bird features
(e.g., cavity nesting trees, natural vegetation
cover) as appropriate to the priority species (see
Extension Note: “Cavity Trees are Refuges for
Wildlife” Landowner Resource Centre 2011).
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
5.3 Private sector
standards and
codes
Wood Duck
July 2014
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Table 21 continued
Threat
Threat
Sub-category
Addressed
Objective
Category
Objectives
Action Category
Recommended Actions
habitat
2.1 Site/area
management
Critical Function Zones should be established
around wetlands based on knowledge of species
present and their use of habitat types.
Priority Species
1
Affected
Protection Zones (PZ) should protect or buffer
the wetland attributes from stressors.
Recommended widths should consider
sensitivities of the wetland and the species that
depend upon it, as well as local environmental
conditions (e.g., slopes, soils and drainage),
vegetative structure of the PZ, and nature of the
changes in adjacent land uses. Stressors need to
be identified and mitigated through PZ design
(Environment Canada 2013a).
Install nest boxes to enhance breeding success.
6.1
Recreational
activities
Human
activities
causing
disturbance to
breeding,
foraging
and/or staging
birds
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements
for federal/
provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
3.2 Species
recovery
Develop and/or implement species at risk
recovery strategies or management plans.
Prothonotary
Warbler
4.1 Reduce
disturbance
from human
activities
Minimize
human
disturbance of
priority
species
2.1 Site/area
management
Critical Function Zones should be established
around wetlands based on knowledge of species
present and their use of habitat types.
American Bittern,
Black-crowned NightHeron, Canvasback,
Forster's Tern, Great
Blue Heron, Great
Egret, Green Heron,
Northern Harrier,
Pied-billed Grebe,
Ring-necked Duck,
Sora, Virginia Rail,
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Protection Zones (PZ) should protect or buffer
the wetland attributes from stressors.
Recommended widths should consider
sensitivities of the wetland and the species that
depend upon it, as well as local environmental
conditions (e.g., slopes, soils and drainage),
July 2014
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Table 21 continued
Threat
Threat
Sub-category
Addressed
Objective
Category
Objectives
Action Category
4.3 Awareness
and
communications
7.2 Dams &
water
management/
use
Loss and
degradation of
coastal
wetland
habitat by
Great Lakes
Recommended Actions
Priority Species
1
Affected
vegetative structure of the PZ, and nature of the
changes in adjacent land uses. Stressors need to
be identified and mitigated through PZ design
(Environment Canada 2013a).
Restrict access to important stopover areas
during migration (e.g., limit recreational boating
and recommend unobtrusive distances for
observing waterbirds).
Increase public awareness of the crucial role of
stopover sites, and detrimental effects of
disturbance on breeding, staging and/or
foraging birds.
Wilson's Snipe, Wood
Duck
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements
for federal/
provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
3.2 Species
recovery
Develop and/or implement species at risk
recovery strategies or management plans.
1.1. Ensure
land and
resource-use
policies and
practices
maintain or
Maintain
natural
hydrologic
cycles to
ensure coastal
wetland
5.2 Policies and
regulations
Develop recommendations for international
water-level regulation criteria for Lake Ontario
which include maintaining coastal habitat
diversity and health.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Canvasback, Ringnecked Duck
American Bittern,
Black-crowned NightHeron, Canvasback,
Forster's Tern, Great
Blue Heron, Great
Egret, Green Heron,
Northern Harrier,
Pied-billed Grebe,
Ring-necked Duck,
Sora, Virginia Rail,
Wilson's Snipe, Wood
Duck
Black Tern, King Rail,
Least Bittern, Yellow
Rail
American Bittern,
American Coot,
Black-crowned NightHeron, Pied-billed
Grebe, Redhead,
Sora, Virginia Rail
July 2014
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Table 21 continued
Threat
Threat
Sub-category
Addressed
water level
management
(stabilization).
Objective
Category
Objectives
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species
1
Affected
improve bird
habitat
habitat
diversity and
integrity.
8.1 Research
Investigate the impact of water level
stabilization on Great Lakes coastal wetlands
and determine if management is necessary to
protect and improve habitat (Zeran et al.
unpubl.).
Support the bi-national Great Lakes Coastal
Wetland Inventory Program, which aims to
provide a standard reference for the Great
Lakes wetland community.
Pied-billed Grebe,
Sora, Virginia Rail
8.2 Monitoring
8.1 Invasive
nonnative/alien
species
Invasive
species in
wetlands
influence
habitat quality
and food
availability
(e.g., carp,
loosestrife,
phragmites,
mute swan)
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements
for federal/
provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
3.2 Species
recovery
Develop and/or implement species at risk
recovery strategies or management plans.
3.5 Prevent
and control
the spread of
invasive nonnative species
Prevent and
control the
spread of
invasive and
exotic species
2.2
Invasive/problem
atic species
control
Prevent the introduction and spread of invasive
non-native species into aquatic ecosystems and
develop eradication protocols for coordinated
management efforts.
2.3 Habitat and
natural process
restoration
Diversify wetland site conditions by using
management techniques such as removal of
invasive species or manage water levels to
encourage a mosaic of marsh vegetation.
Raise public awareness of the need to prevent
the introduction and spread of invasive nonnative species.
Develop and/or strengthen policies or
regulatory measures geared to preventing the
introduction and spread of non-native invasive
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
4.3 Awareness
and
communications
5.2 Policies and
regulations
American Bittern,
American Coot,
Black-crowned NightHeron, Pied-billed
Grebe, Redhead,
Sora, Virginia Rail
Black Tern, King Rail,
Least Bittern, Yellow
Rail
American Bittern,
American Black Duck,
Black-bellied Plover,
Black-crowned NightHeron, Blue-winged
Teal, Common
Gallinule, Forster's
Tern, Great Blue
Heron, Great Egret,
Green Heron, Greenwinged Teal, Horned
Grebe (western
2
population), Piedbilled Grebe,
Redhead, Ringnecked Duck, Sora,
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Table 21 continued
Threat
Threat
Sub-category
Addressed
Objective
Category
Objectives
Action Category
8.2 Monitoring
9.2 Industrial
& military
effluents
Mortality,
sub-lethal
effects and/or
habitat
degradation
from heavy
metals and
other
environmental
contaminants
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements
for federal/
provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
3.2 Species
recovery
1.5 Reduce
habitat
degradation
from
contaminants
Maintain,
restore or
improve
wetland
habitat quality
2.1 Site/area
management
5.2 Policies and
regulations
Recommended Actions
Priority Species
1
Affected
species (e.g., zebra mussels).
Virginia Rail, Wilson's
Snipe
Encourage participation in volunteer monitoring
efforts (e.g., Invading Species Awareness
Program) to help address threats from nonnative invasive species on aquatic habitats.
Develop and/or implement species at risk
recovery strategies or management plans.
Critical Function Zones should be established
around wetlands based on knowledge of species
present and their use of habitat types.
Protection Zones (PZ) should protect or buffer
the wetland attributes from stressors.
Recommended widths should consider
sensitivities of the wetland and the species that
depend upon it, as well as local environmental
conditions (e.g., slopes, soils and drainage),
vegetative structure of the PZ, and nature of the
changes in adjacent land uses. Stressors need to
be identified and mitigated through PZ design
(Environment Canada 2013a).
Work with industry and policy makers to reduce
the quantity of toxic chemicals released into the
environment.
Black Tern, Horned
Grebe (western
population), King
Rail, Least Bittern,
Prothonotary
Warbler, Yellow Rail
American Bittern,
American Black Duck,
Black-crowned NightHeron, Bonaparte's
Gull, Canvasback,
Common Gallinule,
Forster's Tern, Lesser
Scaup, Little Gull,
Ring-necked Duck
Encourage the inclusion of effective protection
and emergency response measures within
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
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Table 21 continued
Threat
Threat
Sub-category
Addressed
Objective
Category
Objectives
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species
1
Affected
environmental policies and regulations to
prevent or mitigate oil spills, industry outfalls
and other chemical spills.
9.3
Agricultural &
forestry
effluents
Mortality,
sub-lethal
effects,
reductions in
prey
populations,
and habitat
alteration
(e.g.,
eutrophicatio
n) caused by
fertilizers and
pesticides
5.4 Compliance
and enforcement
Continue to monitor and enforce compliance
with laws, policies and regulations at all levels.
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements
for federal/
provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
3.2 Species
recovery
Develop and/or implement species at risk
recovery strategies or management plans.
Black Tern, King Rail,
Least Bittern,
Louisiana
Waterthrush, Yellow
Rail
5.1 Maintain
natural food
webs and prey
sources
Maintain,
restore or
improve
wetland
habitat quality
2.1 Site/area
management
Critical Function Zones should be established
around wetlands based on knowledge of species
present and their use of habitat types.
American Bittern,
American Black Duck,
American Coot,
Black-crowned Night
Heron, Blue-winged
Teal, Common
Gallinule, Great Blue
Heron, Great Egret,
Green Heron, Greenwinged Teal,
Northern Harrier,
Pied-pilled Grebe,
Redhead, Sora,
Virginia Rail, Wilson’s
Snipe, Wood Duck
4.3 Awareness
and
communications
5.3 Private sector
standards and
codes
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Protection Zones (PZ) should protect or buffer
the wetland attributes from stressors.
Recommended widths should consider
sensitivities of the wetland and the species that
depend upon it, as well as local environmental
conditions (e.g., slopes, soils and drainage),
vegetative structure of the PZ, and nature of the
changes in adjacent land uses. Stressors need to
be identified and mitigated through PZ design
(Environment Canada 2013a).
Undertake education and awareness activities
regarding the impact of environmental
contaminants on birds and their habitats.
Develop or implement existing BMPs to reduce
potential risks to aquatic birds and their habitats
resulting from agricultural production (e.g.,
July 2014
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Table 21 continued
Threat
Threat
Sub-category
Addressed
Objective
Category
Objectives
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species
1
Affected
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs
Best Management Practices Series at
www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/environment/b
mp/series.htm).
5.4 Compliance
and enforcement
7.1 Improve
population/
demographic
monitoring
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
12.1
Information
lacking
Lack of
knowledge
(trend,
population
size, and/or
distribution
range)
7.1 Improve
population/
demographic
monitoring
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Promote the use of IPM programs to reduce
pesticide use in upland agricultural areas.
Continue to monitor and enforce compliance
with laws, policies and regulations at all levels.
Evaluate the
effects of
pesticides on
birds and their
habitats
Meet the legal
requirements
for federal/
provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
8.1 Research
Determine population-level effects of
environmental contaminants on the vital rates
of priority species.
3.2 Species
recovery
Develop and/or implement species at risk
recovery strategies or management plans.
Black Tern, King Rail,
Least Bittern,
Louisiana
Waterthrush,
Prothonotary
Warbler, Yellow Rail
Improve
monitoring
efforts to
increase
reliability of
population
status/trend
Meet the legal
requirements
for federal/
provincial
8.2 Monitoring
Evaluate alternative monitoring strategies for
filling gaps in coverage for colonial waterbirds.
Little Gull
3.2 Species
recovery
Develop and/or implement species at risk
recovery strategies or management plans.
Black Tern
July 2014
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Table 21 continued
Threat
Threat
Sub-category
Addressed
Objective
Category
Objectives
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species
1
Affected
Determine
cause(s) of
population
decline
8.1 Research
Olive-sided
2
Flycatcher
Meet the legal
requirements
for federal/
provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
Expand
monitoring
effort to
inform
population
management
3.2 Species
recovery
Investigate potential causes of population
decline including studying population
demographics across a range of nesting sites
and management regimes. (Ontario Partners in
Flight 2008).
Develop and/or implement species at risk
recovery strategies or management plans.
8.2 Monitoring
Assess population status and distribution to
inform population management.
Mute Swan, Sandhill
Crane
Reduce
human-goose
conflicts
3.1 Species
management
Canada Goose
(Temperate-breeding
in Eastern Canada)
Objective:
Reduce/
eliminate
Mute Swans
2.1 Site/area
management
2.2
Invasive/problem
Implement strategies within A Management
Plan for Temperate Breeding Canada Geese in
Ontario (Environment Canada, in prep.).
Undertake compliance promotion of federal
Migratory Birds Regulations and provide advice
for stakeholders and the public.
Do not encourage Mute Swans to use an area by
providing them with food or nesting materials.
Do not allow captive-reared Mute Swans to
escape into the wild.
Species at Risk
legislation
Lack of
information
on factors
causing
population
declines
7.4 Improve
understanding
of causes of
population
declines
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Lack of
7.1 Improve
knowledge on population/
demographic
the biological
monitoring
or
demographic
parameters
for proper
management
of populations
Management of Nuisance Species
Conservation Issue: Increasing
3.6 Manage
conflicts between geese and
nuisance
human activities (e.g.,
species
agriculture) due to very
abundant Eastern temperatebreeding Canada Geese
Conservation Issue: Mute
3.5 Prevent
Swans are a problematic nonand control
native invasive species which
the spread of
pose risks to wetland
invasive, nonBird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
5.4 Compliance
and enforcement
Olive-sided
Flycatcher
Mute Swan
July 2014
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Table 21 continued
Threat
Threat
Sub-category
Addressed
ecosystems, to native wildlife
and to people.
Objective
Category
Objectives
Action Category
Recommended Actions
native species
to reduce the
risk to native
wildlife,
wetland
ecosystems
and people.
atic species
control
Landowners can obtain a permit from the
Canadian Wildlife Service to remove Mute
Swans or their eggs.
Develop and/or strengthen policies or regulatory
measures geared to preventing the introduction
and spread of exotic species.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
5.2 Policies and
regulations
Priority Species
1
Affected
July 2014
P a g e | 140
Waterbodies
BCR 13 ON borders three of the Great Lakes, and therefore waterbodies are an important
habitat type in this region. In addition, inland lakes and rivers amount to roughly 3% of the total
land cover of BCR 13 ON exclusive of the Great Lakes (Table 1; Fig. 26).
Figure 26. Map of waterbodies in BCR 13 ON.
This habitat type is used extensively by 20 priority species (21%; Table 22). Lakes and rivers are
foraging habitat for fish-eating species such as the Belted Kingfisher and Common Loon, while
other species such as the Tundra Swan and Southern James Bay Canada Goose seek refuge
from predators by roosting on open water during their migrations through the region. Some
priority species on this list, for example the Long-tailed Duck and Bonaparte’s Gull, winter in the
open water of the Great Lakes and Niagara River.
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July 2014
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Table 22. Priority species associated with waterbodies in BCR 13 ON, habitat descriptions, population
objectives and reasons for priority status.
Lakes and rivers
Bonaparte's Gull
Lakes and rivers
Canada Goose
(Southern James Bay)
Large lakes; rivers for
roosting
Canvasback
Large lakes and rivers
Caspian Tern
7
Y
Increase
Regional/Sub-regional
5
Concern
Regional/Sub-regional
6
Stewardship
National/Continental
Concern
National/Continental
Stewardship
Belted Kingfisher
Recovery objective
4
Large lakes and rivers
SARO
Bald Eagle
Population Objective
3
Habitat Description
SARA
1
Priority Species
COSEWIC
2
Table 22 continued
Y
Y
Y
Migrant (no BCR 13ON population
objective)
Migrant (no BCR 13ON population
objective)
Y
Y
Y
Y
Maintain current
Y
Y
Large lakes
Maintain current
Y
Common Goldeneye
Lakes and rivers (for
staging)
Maintain current
Y
Y
Common Loon
Lakes and rivers
Maintain current
Y
Y
Common Merganser
Lakes and rivers (for
staging)
Maintain current
Y
Common Tern
Large lakes
Increase
Y
Great Black-backed
Gull
Lakes and rivers
Maintain current
Y
Lakes and rivers
Migrant (no BCR 13ON population
objective)
Horned Grebe
(western population)
Y
Y
Y
Y
1
Habitat descriptions, in most cases, follow definitions under the Land Cover Classification System (LCCS; see
Kennedy et al. 2012).
2
Assessed by COSEWIC as E, Endangered; T, Threatened; SC, Special Concern.
3
Species listed on Schedule 1 of SARA as E, Endangered; T, Threatened; SC, Special Concern.
4
Species listed as Endangered, Threatened or Special Concern on the SARO List.
5
Regional refers to BCR-wide (i.e., all jurisdictional data were used for the entire BCR) while sub-regional refers to
the Ontario portion of the BCR only (i.e., Ontario BCR data were used).
6
Only the landbird pillar distinguishes stewardship species from other priority species (see Panjabi et al. 2005).
7
Species listed on Schedule 1 of SARA and/or SARO, but for which there are no finalized recovery documents.
Official documents related to SARA or SARO will prevail when they are published; however, the interim population
objective for the Bald Eagle in BCR 13 ON is: Assess/Maintain.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
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4
SARO
Regional/Sub-regional
5
Concern
Regional/Sub-regional
6
Stewardship
National/Continental
Concern
National/Continental
Stewardship
3
Population Objective
SARA
1
COSEWIC
2
Table 22 continued
Priority Species
Habitat Description
Lesser Scaup
Large lakes for staging
Little Gull
Lakes and rivers
Long-tailed Duck
Large lakes for staging
Peregrine Falcon
(anatum/tundrius)
Lakes and rivers
Pied-billed Grebe
Small lakes and ponds
Maintain current
Y
Redhead
Lakes and rivers
Maintain current
Y
Red-necked Grebe
Large lakes and bays
(>2 ha)
Assess/Maintain
Y
Tundra Swan
Lakes and rivers
Maintain current
Y
Assess/Maintain
Y
Y
Migrant (no BCR 13ON population
objective)
Y
Y
Assess/Maintain
Y
Y
Y
Y
Recovery objective
Y
Y
Y
Y
Waterbodies in this densely populated region are heavily used, and disturbance of breeding,
staging and foraging birds from human recreation (sub-category 6.1) was identified as a threat
of very high magnitude to priority species using lakes and rivers. Excessive disturbance of birds
can increase flight time, decrease feeding time, force birds to forage in less preferred habitats
and potentially influence their ability to acquire the fat reserves necessary for migration.
Furthermore, the disturbance caused by recreational boating can lead to the desertion of nests
or abandonment of roosting sites by staging birds. Minimizing or eliminating this disturbance
requires the cooperation of the public, and accordingly, actions focus on education, guidelines
and other efforts to increase awareness about the effects of disturbance on birds.
Many of these waterbodies have been degraded by urban development, which has been
identified as a high-magnitude threat to priority species (threat sub-category 1.1; Fig. 27). In an
effort to maintain, enhance or restore water quality and habitat value for priority species,
recommended conservation actions range from protecting important aquatic habitats (e.g.,
through National Marine Conservation Areas) to developing BMPs and avoidance guidelines to
minimize aquatic habitat degradation from development (Table 23).
While the Great Lakes can act as a barrier to the spread of terrestrial invasive species, they are
a conduit for aquatic non-native invasive species. Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) and
Round gobies (Neogobius melanostromus), small, bottom-dwelling non-native invasive fish
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
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have been found in all five Great Lakes and have begun to invade inland waters (Ontario
Ministry of Natural Resources 2012). In Ontario, Zebra mussels and Round gobies are believed
to be linked to outbreaks of Type E botulism in Great Lakes fish and at least 22 species of fisheating birds (Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre 2007) and as such have an overall
high threat magnitude to priority species in BCR 13 ON (sub-category 8.1). Recommended
actions to mitigate the threat of invasive non-native species are similar to those proposed in
other habitats and relate to prevention, control, management and monitoring their spread.
Type E botulism toxin is produced by a naturally occurring (native) bacterium (Clostridium
botulinum) found in lake bottom sediment as harmless spores. However, under certain
conditions – a rich nutrient source (such as a dead animal), a complete lack of oxygen and an
optimum temperature – the bacterium begins producing the toxin, which then enters the
aquatic food chain. The toxin is believed to be passed from Zebra mussels, to Round gobies, to
larger predators, resulting in large die-offs of fish and birds (sub-category 8.2). Mussel-feeding
diving ducks may acquire the toxin directly, rather than via a fish “vector”. Scavengers such as
gulls may acquire the toxin through consumption of toxin-containing carcasses, while
shorebirds may do so through consumption of toxic invertebrates (Canadian Cooperative
Wildlife Health Centre 2007). Outbreaks have occurred on Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake
Michigan and Lake Huron affecting fish-eating waterbirds at a significant level (Environment
Canada 2013c). Associated recommended research and monitoring actions are described in
Table 23.
Degradation of aquatic habitats from nutrient inputs and agricultural and industrial chemicals
(Ontario Ministry of the Environment 2009) were also identified as medium overall magnitude
threats to priority birds in waterbodies (Fig. 27). Degradation of aquatic habitats by direct and
indirect sources of pollutants from industry and agriculture (threat sub-categories 9.3 and 9.2
respectively) poses a significant threat to priority birds across the region. Some persistent,
bioaccumulative and toxic substances such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), pesticides and
polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), can pose a significant threat to fish-eating birds, but
the threshold levels and effects are not entirely understood. Research to better understand
these effects in priority species was identified as an important conservation action (Table 23).
Other conservation actions focus on identifying and eliminating sources of persistent,
bioaccumulative and toxic substances (e.g., mercury, PBDEs) from entering aquatic
environments, implementing BMPs to reduce potential risks to aquatic birds and their habitats
resulting from agricultural production (e.g., nutrient management), improving habitat quality
through maintaining naturally-vegetated riparian areas, promoting the inclusion of effective
protection and emergency response measures within environmental policies and regulations to
prevent or mitigate oil spills, industry outfalls and other chemical spills, promoting the use of
IPM programs to reduce pesticide use in upland agricultural areas as well as monitoring and
enforcing compliance with laws, policies and regulations at all levels (Table 23).
Ingestion of toxic lead sinkers and jigs (sub-category 5.4) by waterbirds (e.g., Common Loon)
and waterfowl (e.g., Common Merganser) was also assessed as a medium-magnitude threat to
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
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some priority species using waterbodies in BCR 13 ON. Loons and other fish-eating birds ingest
lead sinkers when consuming lost bait fish with the line still attached, while others mistake
them for food items, such as seeds or shelled invertebrates. The ingestion of a single lead sinker
or lead-headed jig is sufficient to expose a loon or other bird to a lethal dose of lead
(Scheuhammer et al. 2003). In addition to acute and lethal poisoning, birds with lead poisoning
often have physical and behavioural changes that may not be obvious. These changes include
loss of balance, inability to fly, trouble feeding, mating, nesting and caring for its young.
Strengthening regulations concerning the use of lead fishing tackle is suggested in Table 23.
The emerging potential threat to waterbirds and waterfowl on the Great Lakes and other large
waterbodies from the installation of offshore wind power turbines was also considered in
BCR 13 ON. Experience at northern European offshore wind energy developments has shown
a range of effects on birds including changes to movement or migration patterns, potentially
increasing energetic costs; and displacement from important feeding areas (equal to habitat
loss; Petersen 2006; Fox et al. 2006; Guillemette and Larsen 2002). Given the relatively recent
emergence of this threat in Ontario, and the lack of information (sub-category 12.1)
surrounding the delineation of key offshore staging areas for waterfowl in particular, it was not
possible to ascertain the scope and severity of this threat. However, recommended actions
focus on research and monitoring (e.g., conducting periodic staging surveys in the Great Lakes
to identify and monitor important staging areas) in Table 23.
The full list of threats to and information needs (sub-category 12.1) for priority species in the
waterbodies of BCR 13 ON as well as the conservation objectives and recommended actions are
presented in Table 23.
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July 2014
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1.1 Housing & urban areas
H
1.2 Commercial & industrial areas
2.1 Annual & perennial non-timber crops
2.3 Livestock farming & ranching
Threat Sub-category
3.2 Mining & quarrying
Low
L
Medium
4.1 Roads & railroads
High
4.3 Shipping lanes
Very High
5.3 Logging & wood harvesting
Not Ranked
5.4 Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources
M
6.1 Recreational activities
VH
6.3 Work & other activities
7.1 Fire & fire suppression
7.2 Dams & water management/use
L
7.3 Other ecosystem modifications
H
8.1 Invasive non-native/alien species
M
8.2 Problematic native species
8.3 Introduced genetic material
9.2 Industrial & military effluents
M
9.3 Agricultural & forestry effluents
M
12.1 Information lacking
0
5
10
15
20
Percent of Identified Threats
Figure 27. Percent of identified threats to priority species in waterbodies in each threat sub-category.
Each bar represents the percent of the total number of threats identified in each threat sub-category in
waterbodies habitat (for example, if 100 threats were identified in total for all priority species in waterbodies
habitat, and 10 of those threats were in the category 1.1 Housing & urban areas, the bar on the graph would
represent this as 10%). Threat sub-category 12.1 Information lacking was not ranked. The bars are divided to show
the distribution of Low (L), Medium (M), High (H) and Very High (VH) rankings of individual threats within each
threat sub-category. For example, the same threat may have been ranked H for one species and L for another; the
shading illustrates the proportion of L, M, H and VH rankings in the sub-category. The overall magnitude of the
threat in waterbodies habitat is shown at the end of each bar (also presented in Table 5). Only threats with a
magnitude of medium or higher are typically assigned habitat-specific conservation objectives.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
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Table 23. Threats addressed, conservation objectives, recommended actions and list of priority species affected in waterbodies in BCR 13 ON.
Note: Issues such as climate change are not addressed in this table; instead, they are addressed in the Widespread Issues section.
Table 23 continued
Threat
Threat
Objective Category Objective
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Sub-category Addressed
1.1 Housing &
urban areas
Degradation
of
waterbodies
due to
development
1.1 Ensure land and
resource-use
policies and
practices maintain
or improve bird
habitat
3.4 Implement
recovery strategies
for species at risk
Maintain,
enhance or
restore water
quality and
habitat value
Meet the legal
requirements
for federal/
provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
1.1 Site/area
protection
Identify and conserve important aquatic
habitats (e.g., through National Marine
Conservation Areas).
2.1 Site/area
management
Enhance water quality and habitat value by
establishing critical protection or buffer zones
around breeding/foraging/staging areas.
2.3 Habitat and
natural process
restoration
Both sides of streams should have a minimum
30-metre wide naturally vegetated riparian
area to provide and protect aquatic habitat.
The provision of highly functional wildlife
habitat may require total vegetated riparian
widths greater than 30 metres (Environment
Canada 2013a).
5.3 Private sector
standards and
codes
Develop BMPs and avoidance guidelines to
minimize aquatic habitat degradation from
urban development activities.
3.2 Species
recovery
Develop and/or implement species at risk
recovery strategies or management plans.
Priority Species
1
Affected
2
Bald Eagle,
Belted Kingfisher,
Canvasback,
Caspian Tern,
Common
Goldeneye,
Common Loon,
Pied-billed Grebe,
Redhead, Rednecked Grebe,
Tundra Swan
Bald Eagle
1
While many priority species may benefit from proposed conservation actions, priority species not mentioned in this table are absent because 1) identified
threats in this habitat are of low magnitude, or 2) they are migrants with no threats identified in this habitat.
2
Species is listed on Schedule 1 of SARA and/or on the SARO List, but for which there are no finalized recovery documents. Official documents related to SARA
or SARO will prevail when they are published; however, interim conservation objectives and recommended actions are presented here.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
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Table 23 continued
Threat
Threat
Sub-category Addressed
5.4 Fishing &
harvesting
aquatic
resources
6.1
Recreational
activities
Bycatch in
fishing
operations
Objective Category
Objective
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species
1
Affected
2.4 Reduce
incidental mortality
Reduce
mortality from
fisheries bycatch
5.2 Policies and
regulations
Develop BMPs that minimize waterfowl and
waterbird bycatch, such as the modification
of fishing gear.
Common Loon,
Lesser Scaup,
Long-tailed Duck
5.4 Compliance
and enforcement
Continue to monitor and enforce compliance
with laws, policies and regulations related to
fisheries management.
Lead
poisoning
from ingestion
of fishing
tackle (e.g.,
lead sinkers)
2.2 Reduce
mortality and/or
sub-lethal effects
from exposure to
contaminants
Reduce/elimin
ate use of lead
in outdoor
activities
5.2 Policies and
regulations
Strengthen regulations concerning the use of
lead fishing tackle.
Common Loon,
Common
Merganser
Disturbance to
breeding,
staging and/or
foraging birds
due to human
recreation and
human
activity/access
4.1 Reduce
disturbance from
human activity and
recreation
Minimize
human
disturbance of
priority
species
2.1 Site/area
management
Restrict access to important breeding and/or
stopover areas during migration (e.g., limit
recreational boating and recommend
unobtrusive distances for observing
waterbirds).
2.3 Habitat and
natural process
restoration
Both sides of streams should have a minimum
30-metre wide naturally vegetated riparian
area to provide and protect aquatic habitat.
The provision of highly functional wildlife
habitat may require total vegetated riparian
widths greater than 30 metres (Environment
Canada 2013a).
Canvasback,
Caspian Tern,
Common
Goldeneye,
Common Loon,
Common
Merganser,
Common Tern,
Lesser Scaup,
Pied-billed Grebe,
Red-necked Grebe
4.3 Awareness
and
communications
Increase public awareness of the crucial role
of stopover sites, and detrimental effects of
disturbance on breeding, staging and/or
foraging birds.
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Table 23 continued
Threat
Threat
Sub-category Addressed
8.1 Invasive
nonnative/alien
species
Zebra mussels
and round
gobies linked
to outbreaks
of Type E
botulism in
Great Lakes
fish-eating
and musseleating birds.
Objective Category
Objective
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species
1
Affected
3.4 Implement
recovery strategies
for species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements
for federal/
provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
3.2 Species
recovery
Develop and/or implement species at risk
recovery strategies or management plans.
Peregrine Falcon
(anatum/tundrius)
3.5 Prevent and
control the spread
of non-native
invasive species
Prevent and
control the
spread of
invasive nonnative species
2.2
Invasive/problem
atic species
control
Prevent the introduction and spread of nonnative invasive species into aquatic
ecosystems (e.g., via ballast water) and
develop eradication protocols for coordinated
management efforts.
Raise public awareness of the need to
prevent the introduction and spread of nonnative invasive species.
Develop and/or strengthen policies or
regulatory measures geared to preventing the
introduction and spread of non-native
invasive species.
Encourage participation in volunteer
monitoring efforts (e.g., Invading Species
Awareness Program) to help address threats
from non-native invasive species on aquatic
habitats.
Bald Eagle,
Bonaparte’s Gull,
Canvasback,
Caspian Tern,
Common
Goldeneye,
Common Loon,
Common Tern,
Great Blackbacked Gull,
Horned Grebe
(western
2
population),
Lesser Scaup,
Long-tailed Duck,
Pied-billed Grebe,
Redhead, Rednecked Grebe
Bald Eagle,
Horned Grebe
(western
population)
4.3 Awareness
and
communications
5.2 Policies and
regulations
8.2 Monitoring
3.4 Implement
recovery strategies
for species at risk
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Meet the legal
requirements
for federal/
provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
3.2 Species
recovery
Develop and/or implement species at risk
recovery strategies or management plans.
2
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Table 23 continued
Threat
Threat
Sub-category Addressed
8.2
Problematic
native species
9.2 Industrial
& military
effluents
Type E
botulism can
be a major
source of
mortality and
appear
episodically in
lakes where it
is endemic.
Mortality,
sub-lethal
effects and/or
habitat
degradation
from heavy
metals and
other
environmental
contaminants
Objective Category
Objective
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species
1
Affected
7.4. Improve
understanding of
causes of
population declines
(mortality)
Monitor
outbreaks
8.1 Research
Identify the factors that create outbreaks and
evaluate various management procedures
(e.g., early carcass removal) to minimize
impacts of outbreaks on species.
8.2 Monitoring
Monitor botulism outbreaks and determine
the impact of outbreaks on bird populations
(e.g., beached bird surveys).
Bonaparte’s Gull,
Canvasback,
Caspian Tern,
Common
Goldeneye,
Common Loon,
Common Tern,
Great Blackbacked Gull,
Horned Grebe
(western
2
population),
Lesser Scaup,
Long-tailed Duck,
Pied-billed Grebe,
Redhead, Rednecked Grebe
Bald Eagle,
Horned Grebe
(western
population)
3.4 Implement
recovery strategies
for species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements
for federal/
provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
3.2 Species
recovery
Develop and/or implement species at risk
recovery strategies or management plans.
5.1 Maintain
natural food webs
and prey sources
Reduce
exposure to
environmental
contaminants
2.3 Habitat and
natural process
restoration
Both sides of streams should have a minimum
30-metre wide naturally vegetated riparian
area to provide and protect aquatic habitat
(i.e., minimize changes in water quality); 75%
of stream length should be naturally
vegetated (Environment Canada 2013a).
4.3 Awareness
and
communications
Undertake education and awareness activities
regarding the impact of environmental
contaminants on birds and their habitats.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
2
Bald Eagle,
Belted Kingfisher,
Bonaparte's Gull,
Caspian Tern,
Common
Goldeneye,
Common Loon,
Common
Merganser,
Common Tern,
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Table 23 continued
Threat
Threat
Sub-category Addressed
Objective Category
Objective
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species
1
Affected
5.2 Policies and
regulations
Identify and eliminate or reduce sources of
persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic
substances (e.g., mercury, polybromated
diphenyl ether or PBDE) from entering
aquatic environments (Ontario Ministry of the
Environment 2009).
Great Blackbacked Gull,
Horned Grebe
(western
2
population),
Lesser Scaup,
Little Gull, Longtailed Duck, Piedbilled Grebe,
Redhead, Rednecked Grebe,
Tundra Swan
5.4 Compliance
and enforcement
7.1 Improve
population/demogr
aphic monitoring
3.4 Implement
recovery strategies
for species at risk
9.3
Agricultural &
forestry
effluents
Mortality, sublethal effects,
reductions in
prey
populations,
and habitat
alteration
5.1 Maintain
natural food
webs and prey
sources
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Encourage the inclusion of effective
protection and emergency response
measures within environmental policies and
regulations to prevent or mitigate oil spills,
industry outfalls and other chemical spills.
Continue to monitor and enforce compliance
with laws, policies and regulations at all
levels.
Determine population-level effects of
environmental contaminants on the vital
rates of priority species.
Assess the
effects of
contaminants
in birds
Meet the legal
requirements
for federal/
provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
8.1 Research
3.2 Species
recovery
Develop and/or implement species at risk
recovery strategies or management plans.
Bald Eagle,
Horned Grebe
(western
population),
Peregrine Falcon
(anatum/tundrius)
Maintain,
restore or
improve water
quality
2.3 Habitat and
natural process
restoration
Both sides of streams should have a minimum
30-metre wide naturally vegetated riparian
area to provide and protect aquatic habitat
(i.e., minimize changes in water quality); 75%
of stream length should be naturally
vegetated (Environment Canada 2013a).
Bald Eagle,
Belted Kingfisher,
Common
Goldeneye,
Common Loon,
Common
Merganser, Great
2
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Table 23 continued
Threat
Threat
Sub-category Addressed
Objective Category
Objective
(e.g.,
eutrophication)
caused by
fertilizers and
pesticides
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species
1
Affected
5.2 Policies and
regulations
Identify and eliminate or reduce sources of
persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBTs)
substances such as pesticides entering
aquatic environments (Ontario Ministry of the
Environment 2009).
Blacked-backed
Gull, Horned
Grebe (western
2
population),
Lesser Scaup,
Pied-billed Grebe,
Redhead, Rednecked Grebe,
Tundra Swan
5.3 Private sector
standards and
codes
Develop or implement existing BMPs to
reduce potential risks to aquatic birds and
their habitats resulting from agricultural
production (e.g., Ontario Ministry of
Agriculture and Rural Affairs Best
Management Practices Series at
www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/environment
/bmp/series.htm).
5.4 Compliance
and enforcement
7.1 Improve
population/
demographic
monitoring
3.4 Implement
recovery strategies
for species at risk
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Monitor and
assess the
effects of
contaminants
in birds
Meet the legal
requirements
for federal/
provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
8.1 Research
3.2 Species
recovery
Promote the use of IPM programs to reduce
pesticide use in upland agricultural areas.
Continue to monitor and enforce compliance
with laws, policies and regulations at all
levels.
Determine population-level effects of
environmental contaminants on the vital
rates of priority species.
Develop and/or implement species at risk
recovery strategies or management plans.
Bald Eagle,
Horned Grebe
(western
population),
Peregrine Falcon
(anatum/tundrius)
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Table 23 continued
Threat
Threat
Sub-category Addressed
12.1
Information
lacking
Objective Category
Objective
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species
1
Affected
Lack of
knowledge –
effects of
offshore wind
power
operations on
staging
waterfowl
7.1 Improve
population/
demographic
monitoring
8.1 Research
Determine effects of offshore wind farms and
the displacement of birds from staging
habitat.
8.2 Monitoring
Conduct periodic offshore surveys to
determine the distribution and abundance
during staging and wintering periods.
Canada Goose
(Southern James
Bay Population),
Canvasback,
Common
Goldeneye, Lesser
Scaup, Long-tailed
Duck, Redhead,
Tundra Swan
Lack of
knowledge
(trend,
population
size, and/or
distribution
range)
7.1 Improve
population/
demographic
monitoring
Improve
understanding
of the effects
of offshore
wind turbines
on staging
waterfowl
Assess
offshore
population
distribution
and
abundance
Improve
monitoring
efforts to
increase
reliability of
population
status/trend
8.2 Monitoring
Evaluate alternative monitoring strategies for
filling gaps in coverage for colonial
waterbirds.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Bonaparte’s Gull,
Little Gull
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Riparian
Riparian areas occur adjacent to standing or flowing water where the vegetation is influenced
by the presence of water and is distinct from adjacent uplands. Riparian areas may be forested,
shrubby or bare, depending on site conditions. While there are no available provincial land
cover/land use estimates of the total area of riparian habitats in BCR 13 ON, they have been
defined here as habitats within 30 m of water, and a map depicting the extent of derived
riparian areas has been developed for illustrative purposes (Fig. 28).
Riparian areas are the transition zones between upland and aquatic environments, and form
important corridors that link a variety of ecosystems together. These narrow strips along rivers,
streams, lakes, wetlands and other bodies of water help maintain water quality, and provide
shelter, breeding and foraging areas for birds and other wildlife.
Figure 28. Map of riparian habitats in BCR 13 ON.
Riparian habitats are used extensively by nine priority species in BCR 13 ON (Table 24). These
species use the terrestrial habitats for breeding and also forage in or around the aquatic
habitats. Consequently, threats to priority species in riparian habitats share elements with
other terrestrial and aquatic habitats. However, because of the restricted nature of aquatic
habitat types, issues related to habitat loss, degradation and disturbance can be particularly
acute.
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Bank Swallow
Belted Kingfisher
Black-crowned NightHeron
Common Merganser
Louisiana
Waterthrush
Northern Roughwinged Swallow
Riparian slopes, banks and
bluffs
Rivers, riparian banks and
bluffs
Recovery objective
7
Increase
Y
Regional/Sub-regional
5
Concern
Regional/Sub-regional
6
Stewardship
National/Continental
Concern
National/Continental
Stewardship
4
Riparian mixed forest
SARO
Bald Eagle
Population
Objective
3
Habitat Description
SARA
1
Priority Species
COSEWIC
2
Table 24. Priority species associated with riparian habitats in BCR 13 ON, habitat descriptions,
population objectives and reasons for priority status.
Y
Y
Y
Increase
Y
Rivers (foraging)
Assess/Maintain
Y
Riparian mixed forest
Riparian mixed and deciduous
forest
Maintain current
Y
Recovery objective
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Earthen banks
Increase
Y
Y
Spotted Sandpiper
Riparian grasslands, river
banks
Increase
Y
Y
Wood Duck
Forested riparian areas
Increase
Y
Y
Habitat loss from urban development and agricultural intensification (threat sub-categories 1.1,
and 2.1; Fig. 29) as well as the loss of mature riparian forest by logging practices (sub-category
5.3) were determined to be high and medium overall magnitude threats to priority species.
Maintaining naturally vegetated riparian areas to provide and protect aquatic habitat, retaining
important bird features such as cavity nesting trees, and including guidelines for the protection
of riparian nesting species in municipal official plans were identified as important conservation
actions to protect riparian birds (Table 25).
1
Habitat descriptions, in most cases, follow definitions under the Land Cover Classification System (LCCS; see
Kennedy et al. 2012).
2
Assessed by COSEWIC as E, Endangered; T, Threatened; SC, Special Concern.
3
Species listed on Schedule 1 of SARA as E, Endangered; T, Threatened; SC, Special Concern.
4
Species listed as Endangered, Threatened or Special Concern on the SARO List.
5
Regional refers to BCR-wide (i.e., all jurisdictional data were used for the entire BCR) while sub-regional refers to
the Ontario portion of the BCR only (i.e., Ontario BCR data were used).
6
Only the landbird group distinguishes stewardship species from other priority species (see Panjabi et al. 2005).
7
Species listed on Schedule 1 of SARA and/or SARO, but for which there are no finalized recovery documents.
Official documents related to SARA or SARO will prevail when they are published; however, the interim population
objective for the Bald Eagle in BCR 13 ON is: Assess/Maintain.
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Human disturbance (sub-category 6.1) related primarily to recreational activities was identified
as a threat of high overall magnitude to priority birds in BCR 13 ON. Restricting access to and
buffering important riparian nesting areas during the breeding season or stopover areas during
migration could be beneficial for priority species that are particularly sensitive to disturbance or
those that nest in colonies, such as Bank Swallows or Black-crowned Night-Herons.
Degradation of riparian habitats by direct and indirect sources of pollutants from industry and
agriculture poses a significant threat to priority birds in portions of the region where these
activities occur. Degradation of riparian habitats from nutrient inputs (e.g., chemical fertilizers
and manure), and agricultural pesticides (sub-category 9.3) and industrial chemicals (subcategory 9.2), were identified as medium and high overall magnitude threats to priority species,
respectively (Table 25). Conservation actions focus on implementing BMPs to reduce potential
risks to aquatic birds and their habitats resulting from agricultural production (e.g., nutrient
management), improving habitat quality through maintaining naturally vegetated riparian
areas, promoting the inclusion of effective protection and emergency response measures
within environmental policies and regulations to prevent or mitigate oil spills, industry outfalls
and other chemical spills, promoting the use of IPM programs to reduce pesticide use in upland
agricultural areas as well as monitoring and enforcing compliance with laws, policies and
regulations at all levels (Table 25).
Livestock access to riparian zones (sub-category 2.3) was identified as a medium overall
magnitude threat to priority species, as it can adversely affect riparian plant and animal
communities as well as water quality through sediment, bacterial and nutrient loading in rivers
and lakes (Abouguendia 2001). The protection of sensitive riparian habitats through land use
planning, the provision of buffers between developed/agricultural areas and rivers, and the
retention of important bird features such as cavity nesting trees, were identified as important
conservation actions to protect riparian birds (Table 25).
Southern Ontario has the highest density of roads of any region in Canada (Ontario Biodiversity
Council 2010), and the construction, maintenance and use by vehicles of these networks pose
risks to bird populations and the habitats upon which they rely (Kociolek et. al. 2011). In BCR 13
ON, this was assessed as a medium overall threat to priority species in riparian habitats (subcategory 4.1). The effects of roads on wildlife depend on their location, density of road
corridors and their level of use. Few natural areas in southwestern and central Ontario are
more than 1.5 km from existing roads (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources 2009). Roads
between and within urban centres can have both direct and indirect effects on birds and other
wildlife, including individual species disturbance attributed to noise and dust, habitat loss,
fragmentation and degradation (loss of suitable nest sites, destruction of nest sites, decline of
prey species), indirect mortality from increased predator/prey contact, and increased exposure
to invasive species. Recommended riparian habitat conservation actions seek to mitigate the
effects of roads through the implementation of BMPs or mitigation guidelines to avoid habitat
loss and degradation. The Widespread Issues section of this strategy addresses mortality from
collisions with vehicles.
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The full list of threats to and information needs (sub-category 12.1) for priority species in
riparian habitats of BCR 13 ON as well as the conservation objectives and recommended actions
are presented in Table 25.
1.1 Housing & urban areas
H
1.2 Commercial & industrial areas
L
2.1 Annual & perennial non-timber crops
H
2.3 Livestock farming & ranching
M
Threat Sub-category
3.2 Mining & quarrying
L
4.1 Roads & railroads
M
4.3 Shipping lanes
5.3 Logging & wood harvesting
M
5.4 Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources
L
6.1 Recreational activities
H
6.3 Work & other activities
7.1 Fire & fire suppression
Low
7.2 Dams & water management/use
Medium
7.3 Other ecosystem modifications
High
8.1 Invasive non-native/alien species
Very High
8.2 Problematic native species
Not Ranked
L
8.3 Introduced genetic material
9.2 Industrial & military effluents
H
9.3 Agricultural & forestry effluents
M
12.1 Information lacking
0
5
10
15
Percent of Identified Threats
Figure 29. Percent of identified threats to priority species in riparian habitats in each threat
sub-category.
Each bar represents the percent of the total number of threats identified in each threat sub-category in riparian
habitat (for example, if 100 threats were identified in total for all priority species in riparian habitat, and 10 of
those threats were in the category 1.1 Housing & urban areas, the bar on the graph would represent this as 10%).
Threat sub-category 12.1 Information lacking was not ranked. The bars are divided to show the distribution of Low
(L), Medium (M), High (H) and Very High (VH) rankings of individual threats within each threat sub-category. For
example, the same threat may have been ranked H for one species and L for another; the shading illustrates the
proportion of L, M, H and VH rankings in the sub-category. The overall magnitude of the threat in riparian habitat is
shown at the end of each bar (also presented in Table 5). Only threats with a magnitude of medium or higher are
typically assigned habitat-specific conservation objectives.
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Table 25. Threats, conservation objectives, recommended actions and list of priority species affected in riparian habitat in BCR 13 ON.
Note: Issues such as mortality from collisions with human-made structures and vehicles, and climate change, are not addressed in this table; instead, they are
addressed in the Widespread Issues section.
Table 25 continued
Threat
Threat
Objective
Objective
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species
1
Sub-category Addressed
Category
Affected
2
1.1 Housing & Loss of
1.1 Ensure
Maintain,
2.1 Site/area
Ensure presence of important bird features (e.g., Bald Eagle,
urban areas
riparian areas
land and
enhance or
management
cavity nesting trees, natural vegetation cover,
Bank Swallow,
due to
resource-use
restore
earthen banks) as appropriate to the priority
Belted
development
policies and
quantity,
species (e.g., Common Merganser, Wood Duck,
Kingfisher,
practices
quality and
Bank Swallow)
Black-crowned
maintain or
diversity of
Night-Heron,
improve bird
riparian
Common
2.3 Habitat and
Both sides of streams should have a minimum
habitat
habitats
Merganser,
natural process
30-metre wide naturally vegetated riparian area
across the
Northern
restoration
(buffer) to provide and protect aquatic habitat.
landscape
The provision of highly functional wildlife habitat Rough-winged
Swallow,
may require total vegetated riparian widths
Spotted
greater than 30 metres (Environment Canada
Sandpiper,
2013a)
Wood Duck
75% of stream length should be naturally
vegetated (Environment Canada 2013a).
Urbanized watersheds should maintain less than
10% impervious land cover in order to preserve
the abundance and biodiversity of aquatic
species. Significant impairment in stream water
quality and quantity is highly likely above 10%
impervious land cover and can often begin
before this threshold is reached. In urban
systems that are already degraded, a second
1
While many priority species may benefit from proposed conservation actions, priority species not mentioned in this table are absent because 1) identified
threats in this habitat are of low magnitude, or 2) they are migrants with no threats identified in this habitat.
2
Species listed on Schedule 1 of SARA and/or on the SARO List, but for which there are no finalized recovery documents. Official documents related to SARA or
SARO will prevail when they are published; however, interim conservation objectives and recommended actions are presented here.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
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Table 25 continued
Threat
Threat
Sub-category Addressed
Objective
Category
Objective
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species
1
Affected
threshold is likely reached at the 25 to 30% level
(Environment Canada 2013a).
2.1 Annual &
perennial
non-timber
crops
Loss of
riparian areas
due to
agricultural
development/
intensification
(e.g., removal
of hedgerows,
riparian
vegetation)
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements
for federal/
provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
1.1 Ensure
land and
resource-use
policies and
practices
maintain or
improve bird
habitat
Maintain,
enhance or
restore
quantity,
quality and
diversity of
riparian
habitats
across the
landscape
5.2 Policies and
regulations
3.2 Species
recovery
Include guidelines for the protection of riparian
nesting species in BMPs for municipal planning
Develop and/or implement species at risk
recovery strategies or management plans.
2.1 Site/area
management
Ensure presence of important bird features (e.g.,
cavity nesting trees, natural vegetation cover,
earthen banks) as appropriate to the priority
species (e.g., Common Merganser, Wood Duck,
Bank Swallow)
Both sides of streams should have a minimum
30-metre wide naturally vegetated riparian area
(buffer) to provide and protect aquatic habitat.
The provision of highly functional wildlife habitat
may require total vegetated riparian widths
greater than 30 metres (Environment Canada
2013a)
2.3 Habitat and
natural process
restoration
75% of stream length should be naturally
vegetated (Environment Canada 2013a).
Bald Eagle,
Louisiana
Waterthrush
2
Bald Eagle,
Bank Swallow,
Belted
Kingfisher,
Black-crowned
Night-Heron,
Common
Merganser,
Northern
Rough-winged
Swallow,
Spotted
Sandpiper,
Wood Duck
Urbanized watersheds should maintain less than
10% impervious land cover in order to preserve
the abundance and biodiversity of aquatic
species. Significant impairment in stream water
quality and quantity is highly likely above 10%
impervious land cover and can often begin
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Table 25 continued
Threat
Threat
Sub-category Addressed
2.3 Livestock
farming and
ranching
Degradation
of aquatic
riparian
habitats from
livestock
access (e.g.,
reduced
vegetative
cover,
bacterial,
sediment and
nutrient
loading)
Objective
Category
Objective
Action Category
Recommended Actions
5.2 Policies and
regulations
before this threshold is reached. In urban
systems that are already degraded, a second
threshold is likely reached at the 25 to 30 percent
level (Environment Canada 2013a).
Include guidelines for the protection of riparian
nesting species in BMPs for municipal planning
Priority Species
1
Affected
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements
for federal/
provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
3.2 Species
recovery
Develop and/or implement species at risk
recovery strategies or management plans.
Bald Eagle,
Louisiana
Waterthrush
1.1 Ensure
land and
resource-use
policies and
practices
maintain or
improve bird
habitat
Maintain,
enhance or
restore
quantity,
quality and
diversity of
riparian
habitats
across the
landscape
Meet the legal
requirements
for federal/
provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
2.1 Site/area
management
Maintain/restore riparian buffers to reduce
erosion and runoff, and provide foraging and
nesting habitat for birds.
Restore and enhance aquatic riparian habitats
through fencing, grazing management, and
planting of native riparian vegetation.
Restrict livestock access to surface water and
provide alternate water sources
Bank Swallow,
Belted
Kingfisher,
Northern
Rough-winged
Swallow,
Spotted
Sandpiper
Develop and/or implement species at risk
recovery strategies or management plans.
Louisiana
Waterthrush
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
2.3 Habitat and
natural process
restoration
5.3 Private sector
standards and
codes
3.2 Species
recovery
July 2014
P a g e | 160
Table 25 continued
Threat
Threat
Sub-category Addressed
4.1 Roads &
Habitat loss
railroads
and
degradation
from the
construction
and
maintenance
of
transportation
networks
5.3 Logging
and wood
harvesting
Loss of mature
riparian forest
(scarcity of
cavities,
nesting or
perching
trees) due to
logging.
Objective
Category
1.1 Ensure
land and
resource-use
policies and
practices
maintain or
improve bird
habitat
Objective
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Reduce/
eliminate
habitat loss,
fragmentation
and/or
degradation
from the
construction
and
maintenance
of road
networks and
associated
infrastructure
5.3 Private sector
standards and
codes
Develop and/or implement existing BMPs or
mitigation guidelines to avoid habitat loss,
fragmentation and/or degradation from road
construction and maintenance of road networks.
1.4 Maintain
important bird
habitat
features on
the landscape
Restore
important bird
features in
riparian
habitat
2.1 Site/area
management
Retain important habitat features such as wildlife
trees (e.g., stick nests, cavity trees) and downed
woody debris (see A land manager's guide to
conserving habitat for forest birds in southern
Ontario, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
2011).
Both sides of streams should have a minimum
30-metre wide naturally vegetated riparian area
(buffer) to provide and protect aquatic habitat;
75% of stream length should be naturally
vegetated (Environment Canada 2013a).
Include guidelines for the protection of riparian
nesting species in BMPs for municipal planning.
Develop and/or implement species at risk
recovery strategies or management plans.
2.3 Habitat and
natural process
restoration
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Meet the legal
requirements
for federal/
provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
5.2 Policies and
regulations
3.2 Species
recovery
Priority Species
1
Affected
Black-crowned
Night-Heron,
Common
Merganser,
Northern
Rough-winged
Swallow,
Spotted
Sandpiper,
Wood Duck
2
Bald Eagle,
Belted
Kingfisher,
Common
Merganser,
Wood Duck
Bald Eagle
July 2014
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Table 25 continued
Threat
Threat
Sub-category Addressed
6.1
Recreational
activities
Disturbance to
breeding,
staging and/or
foraging birds
due to human
recreation and
human
activity/access
Objective
Category
Objective
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Priority Species
1
Affected
4.1 Reduce
disturbance
from human
activity and
recreation
Minimize
human
disturbance of
priority
species in
riparian
habitats
2.1 Site/area
management
Restrict access to important breeding and/or
stopover areas during migration.
2.3 Habitat and
natural process
restoration
Both sides of streams should have a minimum
30-metre wide naturally vegetated riparian area
to protect aquatic habitat from disturbance. The
provision of highly functional wildlife habitat may
require total vegetated riparian widths greater
than 30 metres (Environment Canada 2013a).
Increase public awareness of the crucial role of
stopover sites, and detrimental effects of
disturbance on breeding, staging and/or foraging
birds.
Bald Eagle,
Bank Swallow,
Belted
Kingfisher,
Black-crowned
Night-Heron,
Common
Merganser,
Northern
Rough-winged
Swallow,
Spotted
Sandpiper,
Wood Duck
2
Bald Eagle ,
Louisiana
Waterthrush
4.3 Awareness
and
communications
9.2 Industrial
and military
effluents
Mortality,
sub-lethal
effects and/or
habitat
degradation
from heavy
metals and
other
environmental
contaminants
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
Meet the legal
requirements
for a federal/
provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
3.2 Species
recovery
Develop and/or implement species at risk
recovery strategies or management plans.
1.5 Reduce
habitat
degradation
from
contaminants
Maintain,
restore or
improve
riparian
habitat quality
2.3 Habitat and
natural process
restoration
Both sides of streams should have a minimum
30-metre wide naturally vegetated riparian area
to provide and protect aquatic habitat (i.e.,
minimize changes in water quality); 75% of
stream length should be naturally vegetated
(Environment Canada 2013a).
Undertake education and awareness activities
regarding the impact of environmental
contaminants on birds and their habitats.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
4.3 Awareness
and
communications
5.2 Policies and
regulations
2
2
Bald Eagle,
Bank Swallow,
Belted
Kingfisher,
Black-crowned
Night-Heron,
Common
Merganser
Work with industry and policy makers to reduce
the quantity of toxic chemicals released into the
environment
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Table 25 continued
Threat
Threat
Sub-category Addressed
Objective
Category
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
9.3
Agricultural &
forestry
effluents
Mortality,
sub-lethal
effects,
reductions in
prey
populations,
and habitat
alteration
(e.g.,
eutrophicatio
n) caused by
fertilizers and
pesticides
5.1 Maintain
natural food
webs and prey
sources
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Objective
Meet the legal
requirements
for a federal/
provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
Maintain,
restore or
improve
riparian
habitat quality
Action Category
Recommended Actions
5.4 Compliance
and enforcement
Encourage the inclusion of effective protection
and emergency response measures within
environmental policies and regulations to
prevent or mitigate oil spills, industry outfalls and
other chemical spills.
Continue to monitor and enforce compliance
with laws, policies and regulations at all levels.
3.2 Species
recovery
Develop and/or implement species at risk
recovery strategies or management plans.
Bald Eagle
2.3 Habitat and
natural process
restoration
Both sides of streams should have a minimum
30-metre wide naturally vegetated riparian area
to provide and protect aquatic habitat (i.e.,
minimize changes in water quality); 75% of
stream length should be naturally vegetated
(Environment Canada 2013a).
Undertake education and awareness activities
regarding the impact of environmental
contaminants on birds and their habitats.
Bald Eagle,
Bank Swallow,
Belted
Kingfisher,
Black-crowned
Night-Heron,
Common
Merganser,
Spotted
Sandpiper,
Wood Duck
4.3 Awareness
and
communications
5.2 Policies and
regulations
Priority Species
1
Affected
2
Work with industry and policy-makers to reduce
the quantity of toxic chemicals released into the
environment
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Table 25 continued
Threat
Threat
Sub-category Addressed
Objective
Category
3.4 Implement
recovery
strategies for
species at risk
12.1
Information
Lacking
Lack of
information
on factors
causing
population
declines
7.4 Improve
understanding
of causes of
population
declines
7.1 Improve
population/
demographic
monitoring
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Objective
Meet the legal
requirements
for federal/
provincial
Species at Risk
legislation
Determine
cause(s) of
population
decline
Improve
population/
demographic
monitoring of
aerial
insectivores
Action Category
Recommended Actions
5.3 Private sector
standards and
codes
Develop or implement existing BMPs to reduce
potential risks to aquatic birds and their habitats
resulting from agricultural production (e.g.,
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs
Best Management Practices Series at
www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/environment/bm
p/series.htm).
5.4 Compliance
and enforcement
3.2 Species
recovery
Promote the use of IPM programs to reduce
pesticide use in upland agricultural areas.
Continue to monitor and enforce compliance
with laws, policies and regulations at all levels.
Develop and/or implement species at risk
recovery strategies or management plans.
8.1 Research
Identify factors causing population decline
and/or limiting population growth of aerialforaging insectivores.
8.2 Monitoring
Encourage submissions of current and historic
nest record data to the Ontario Nest Records
Scheme/Project NestWatch to improve
understanding of changes in productivity.
Priority Species
1
Affected
Bald Eagle,
Louisiana
Waterthrush
Bank Swallow
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Table 25 continued
Threat
Threat
Sub-category Addressed
Lack of
knowledge
(trend,
population
size, and/or
distribution
range)
Objective
Category
7.1 Improve
population/
demographic
monitoring
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Objective
Action Category
Recommended Actions
Improve
monitoring
efforts to
increase
reliability of
population
status/trend
8.2 Monitoring
Improve monitoring efforts to increase reliability
of population status/trend for colonial nesters
not well sampled by the Breeding Bird Survey
Priority Species
1
Affected
July 2014
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Section 3: Additional Issues
Widespread Issues
Some well-known conservation issues may not be identified in the literature as significant
threats to populations of an individual priority species and therefore may not be captured in
the threat assessment. However, these issues, while they may or may not be limiting factors for
any individual species or population, contribute to avian mortality or decreases in fecundity
across many species and thus warrant conservation attention. Usually these issues transcend
habitat types and are considered “widespread.” Examples of these issues include:
•
•
•
•
Collisions with human-made structures (buildings, cars, utility/telecommunications
towers and lines)
Predation by domestic cats
Pollution/pesticides/oil spills
Climate change
Because the widespread issues do not fit into the standard presentation format used in the BCR
strategies, they are presented separately here. Human-related avian mortality across all sectors
was standardized and compared in Calvert et al. (2013).
Collisions
The network of roads, transmission lines, communications towers and human settlements is
extensive in BCR 13 ON. Birds in some portions of this region are exposed to a substantial risk of
collisions with buildings, vehicles, communications towers and an increasing number of wind
turbines.
Buildings
Collisions with glass windows or reflective panels on buildings are believed to be a significant
source of bird mortality in Canada. Estimates of mortality from collisions with houses in Canada
(including birds using feeders) range from approximately 15.8–30.5 million birds per year
(Machtans et al. 2013). Mortality from collisions with buildings of fewer than 12 storeys is
estimated at approximately 0.3–11.4 million birds/year, and for all cities in Canada with tall
buildings in an urban core, the estimate is 13,000–256,000 birds/year (Machtans et al. 2013).
The total estimate of mortality from collisions with buildings in Canada is therefore between
16.1 and 42.2 million birds/year (Machtans et al. 2013).
Data from Canada and the northeastern United States reveal that 163 species of birds of
32 families are known to have been killed by buildings. Some families and species of birds are
disproportionately affected by collisions with buildings. Parulidae (warblers), Fringillidae
(sparrows and allies) and Regulidae (kinglets) account for 70% of all bird deaths; the species
most frequently killed are White-throated Sparrows (13.5% of all reported deaths) Goldencrowned Kinglets (10.2%), Dark-eyed Juncos (6.1%), Ovenbirds (5.3%), and Ruby-crowned
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
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Kinglets (5.3%). The population-level effects of bird mortality from building strikes are
unknown. Collisions with buildings were identified as a potential threat to a large number of
priority landbirds, but the full extent of this source of mortality in the BCR is poorly understood.
See Table 26 for conservation objectives and actions.
Wind Turbines
The 2,955 wind turbines in Canada as of 2011 have drawn considerable attention for their
potential to cause mortality to birds and other species (notably bats). Two sources of mortality
are typically associated with wind turbines: collisions with the turbines themselves, and the
destruction of nests by turbine construction activities during the breeding season. On average,
5.9 birds are killed per turbine per year. Scaling up to a national level, an estimated 16,700 birds
(ranging from 13,300–21,600) die from collisions with wind turbines each year (Table 26;
Zimmerling et al. 2013).
Some species are particularly vulnerable to collisions with wind turbines, for example raptors
flying along a land/water interface. For smaller, more common passerine species (warblers,
thrushes, kinglets, etc.), the relatively small number of birds affected does not appear to pose a
population-level threat. However, the anticipated proliferation of wind turbines means that we
should continue to ensure that turbines are sited to avoid important bird habitats and
migration corridors.
In addition to collision mortality, wind turbine construction and installation can result in the
loss of habitat for birds. At the 43 wind farms in Canada for which data are available, total
habitat loss per turbine is approximately 1.23 ha on average. Based on this average, the
predicted total habitat loss for wind farms nationwide is 3,635 ha. Using published estimates of
nest densities, the total number of affected nests, not accounting for construction that might
occur outside the breeding season, is approximately 5,700 (Zimmerling et al. 2013). See Table
26 for conservation objectives and actions.
Communication Towers
There are currently almost 8,000 communication towers in Canada greater than 60 m high
(Longcore et al. 2012), each of which can pose a hazard to birds during migration. Birds are
attracted to the lights of communication towers and are killed when they collide with the
structures and guy wires. Mortality increases exponentially with tower height, in part because
the use of guy wires also increases with tower height. Poor weather also plays a significant role
in increasing migrant fatality; foggy and cloudy conditions increase the lit area around towers
and block celestial clues used by migrating birds. The result is that birds circle to exhaustion in
the halo of artificial light, or collide with each other, the tower or its guy wires (American Bird
Conservancy 2012).
Avian mortality at towers is unequally distributed among species and regions, but estimates
suggest that over 220,000 birds are killed in Canada each year (Longcore et al. 2012).
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July 2014
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Neotropical migrants in the families Parulidae (wood-warblers) and Vireonidae (vireos) are the
species most commonly killed by communication towers. These families include threatened
species and many that are of conservation concern in Canada and/or the United States. When
considered in concert with mortality at towers in the United States (which is 20 times higher
due to the larger number and greater height of towers in the United States), and the mortality
from other stationary structures, mortality from collisions with communications towers may
negatively affect the population trends of some birds. See Table 26 for conservation objectives
and actions.
Power Lines
Birds may be killed by colliding with power lines, or they may be electrocuted. Species with high
wing-loading and thus low maneuverability, such as waterfowl, appear particularly at risk for
collisions (Bevanger 1998). Electrocutions are most likely for large birds such as raptors and
herons, whose bodies are large enough to span the distances between wires and create a short
circuit. Raptors’ habit of using power poles as perches further increases their risk. However,
estimates of total mortality due to collisions and electrocutions can vary widely (Manville
2005), and population-level impacts are difficult to determine. Canadian estimates are that
161,000 – 802,000 birds are killed annually by electrocution, and another 5.3–20.6 million birds
are killed each year by colliding with electrical transmission lines (Calvert et al. 2013). See Table
26 for conservation objectives and actions.
Vehicles
There are over 1.4 million km of roads and hundreds of airports in Canada (World Bank
Indicators 2012) that are often bordered by fences and vegetation providing convenient places
for birds to perch, forage and nest. The paved surfaces can attract birds through the heat they
emit, the puddles that form beside roads, and the salt and grit used for de-icing. Current
estimates for one- and two-lane paved roads outside of major urban centres in Canada are that
between 4.65 and 13.8 million birds are killed annually (Bishop and Brogan 2013).
Bird collisions with cars are influenced by the location of the road, proximity of vegetation and
vehicle speed. Raptors and owls that hunt and forage near roads are particularly vulnerable, but
many species that forage for grit and road salt or are otherwise attracted to roads have a high
likelihood of being hit by vehicles. The population-level effects of this source of mortality are
not known. See Table 26 for conservation objectives and actions.
Roads have both direct and indirect effects on birds and other wildlife, including mortality from
vehicle strikes, individual species disturbance attributed to noise and dust, habitat loss and
degradation (loss of suitable nest sites, destruction of nest sites, decline of prey species),
indirect mortality from increased predator/prey contact, and increased exposure to invasive
species. Physical effects include accelerating erosion from road surfaces, alteration of surface
water flows and the timing of peak flows, erosion during flood events, increased landslides, and
loss of soil productivity. For aquatic habitats, roads may introduce barriers to fish migration,
cause changes in water temperature and alter stream flow regimes (Global Forest Watch 2000).
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Predation by Domestic Cats
Based on the number of pet cats in Canada and published kill rates by cats elsewhere, roughly
204 million birds (range 105–348 million) are killed by domestic and feral cats in Canada each
year (Blancher 2013). The broad range on this estimate reflects imprecise information on the
average number of bird kills per cat, especially for rural and feral cats, and a lack of information
on the number of feral cats (versus owned or pet cats) in Canada.
The birds most susceptible to cat predation are those that nest or forage on or near the ground
or spend substantial time in human-dominated landscapes (both rural and urban) where cats
are abundant. The proportion of Canada’s birds killed by cats is higher if additional cat
predation when migrating through, or wintering in, the U.S. is factored in.
Without detailed study of the individual species affected, it is difficult to assess whether
mortality caused by cat predation impacts population trends of birds in Canada. Nevertheless, it
is likely that many species of birds are potentially vulnerable to population effects at the local
scale in southern Canada.
The distribution of mortality from domestic cats reflects, to a large extent, the distribution of
the human population. With roughly one third of all Canadians inhabiting BCR 13 ON, it is
expected that the mortality from domestic cats in this region is substantial. However, the
population level effects of cat predation, the species affected, and the regional or BCR-scale
impacts are poorly known. An improved understanding of this potentially significant threat is
needed, and this need for improved information is reflected in the suggested conservation
actions. In addition, actions to educate the public about the easily avoided mortality of birds
from domestic cats and to better understand whether individual species are significantly
affected would be of benefit (Table 26).
Pollution
Pollution caused by industrial chemicals, pesticides and heavy metals can have both direct and
indirect effects on survival and reproduction in birds. Sometimes the effects of exposure to
pollutants are unexpected and do not result in immediate, measurable effects on bird
populations (Eeva and Lehikoinen 2000; Franceschini et al. 2008, North American Bird
Conservation Initiative, U.S. Committee 2009; Mineau 2010). However, persistent exposure can
result in sharp declines in bird populations, as happened with Peregrine Falcons in eastern
Canada prior to the ban of the chemical DDT. See Table 26 for conservation objectives and
actions.
Pesticides
The most recent estimate suggests that 0.96–4.4 million birds are killed by pesticides annually
in Canada (Mineau 2010). Provinces such as Saskatchewan, which have a large agricultural land
base, account for the majority of the estimated kill, and pesticides are thought to be an
important contributor to the decline in grassland bird species in Canada (Mineau 2010).
Pesticides can kill birds rapidly following contact or may have sub-lethal effects such as
suppressed immune function and reduced stress response. There may also be indirect effects of
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
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pesticides such as reduction in prey and changes in vegetation that reduce habitat quality.
While the use of many toxic pesticides has been eliminated in Canada, migratory birds are still
exposed while on wintering grounds in countries where their use is still permitted (Mineau
2010). See Table 26 for conservation objectives and actions.
In BCR 13 ON, pollution was determined to be a threat of high magnitude across all species and
habitats, with the greatest threats to priority species in cultivated and managed areas. Modern,
intensive agricultural practices require the use of heavy nutrient inputs and pesticide
application (e.g., neonicotinoids), and these chemicals were found to threaten a wide variety of
priority species either directly, by causing mortality or sub-lethal effects, or indirectly, by
affecting the abundance of their invertebrate or small mammal prey.
Toxic Chemicals and Heavy Metals
Toxic organic chemicals and heavy metals released into the environment can also negatively
affect bird populations. While some industrial chemicals such as PCBs are regulated, there is
concern about new chemicals such as flame retardants (PBDE) that are used in computers, car
parts and upholstery, and whose effects on wildlife are largely unknown (Environment Canada
2003). Scavengers experience toxic effects when they ingest lead shotgun pellets or bullet
fragments embedded in carcasses of game animals, and loons and other waterbirds are
exposed to lead from shotgun pellets, sinkers and jigs that they ingest either while collecting
grit for their gizzards or by eating bait fish with line and sinker still attached (Scheuhammer and
Norris 1996, Scheuhammer et al. 2003). In some areas, lead poisoning from sinkers and jigs can
account for approximately half of the mortality of adult Common Loons on their breeding
grounds (Scheuhammer and Norris 1996). Birds are also susceptible to bioaccumulation of
other toxic metals such as methylmercury, selenium and others when they consume preys that
have been exposed to these substances.
Release of industrial chemicals was considered to have an overall threat of medium magnitude
across all priority species and habitats (Fig. 6) in BCR 13 ON, below that for agricultural
contaminants. In recent decades, significant progress has been made at reducing the exposure
of some waterbirds in the Great Lakes to contaminants (e.g., Pekarik and Weseloh 1998).
Challenges still remain, and the effects on bird populations or food webs for many of the “new”
persistent organic pollutants remain poorly understood. See Table 26 for conservation
objectives and actions.
Oil Pollution
Oil may enter the environment either accidentally, through deliberate dumping, or in contained
tailings ponds. It may be a single large event, as occurred in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, or
numerous smaller events. Annual estimates are that between 217,800 and 458,600 birds are
killed by ship-source oil spills annually (Calvert et al. 2013). Typically, diving birds are most at
risk of oiling; however, any birds that come into contact with oil are vulnerable. Oil can affect
birds through direct effects such as hypothermia (resulting from lost waterproofing of feathers
following oil contamination), toxicity (from ingesting oil as they preen or by inhaling volatile
organic compounds), and indirect effects, such as reduced prey availability and decreased
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July 2014
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quality of habitat. While techniques exist to clean and rehabilitate oiled birds, many birds die
before, during and after rescue attempts (Brown and Lock 2003).
The shipping trade in the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway system is dominated by mining and
agricultural products (80%), with fuel oil and petroleum products accounting for less than 10%
of trade (Seaway Corporation 2012). The risk of catastrophic, accidental spills is small, and oil
pollution was not identified as a significant population-level threat to any priority species in the
region. However, the potential exists for increasing shipments of petroleum products in the
future and associated adverse effects of chronic or catastrophic oil discharge. Ongoing
enforcement and monitoring of oil discharge is necessary for the protection of birds of the
Great Lakes. In addition to the Great Lakes themselves, inland habitats within BCR 13 ON may
also be at future risk given the potential for expansion of land-based shipments of petroleum
products through southern Ontario such as Enbridge’s Eastern Canadian Refinery Access
Initiative (see www.enbridge.com/line9). See Table 26 for conservation objectives and actions.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
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Table 26. General conservation objectives and actions associated with bird mortality from collisions pollution and predation by domestic cats
in BCR 13 ON.
Table 26 continued
Threats
Addressed
Collision mortality
Collisions with
buildings cause
bird mortality.
Collisions with
wind turbines
cause bird
mortality.
Threat
Sub-category
1.1 Housing
and urban
areas
1.2
Commercial
and industrial
areas
3.3 Renewable
energy
Objective
Objective
Category
Recommended Actions
Action Category
Reduce incidental
mortality from
collisions with
windows/
buildings
2.7 Reduce
incidental
mortality from
collisions
Follow BMPs for bird-friendly
buildings including using birdfriendly glass, reducing reflection
from windows, providing visual
markers to enable birds to perceive
windows, and reducing light
pollution.
2.1 Site/area
management
Reduce incidental
mortality from
collisions with
wind turbines
2.7 Reduce
incidental
mortality from
collisions.
Follow BMPs for reducing bird
mortality when designing and
locating wind turbines (see Wind
Turbines and Birds: A Guidance
Document for Environmental
Assessment, Environment Canada
2007).
2.1 Site/area
management
Ensure that offshore wind energy
developments will not present
significant migration barriers.
1.2 Resource and habitat
protection
Example Priority
Species Affected
All species
5.3 Private sector
standards and codes
All species
5.3 Private sector
standards and codes
Locate offshore wind energy
developments away from seabird
breeding colonies and important
waterbird foraging areas.
Utilize techniques such as radar
monitoring to determine preconstruction flight paths and assess
the degree to which wind farms
present migration barriers, and
infrared camera systems to
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
8.2 Monitoring
July 2014
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Table 26 continued
Threats
Addressed
Threat
Sub-category
Objective
Objective
Category
Recommended Actions
Action Category
Example Priority
Species Affected
quantify strike rates.
Collisions with
communications
towers cause bird
mortality,
particularly
during migration.
1.2
Commercial
and industrial
areas
Reduce incidental
mortality from
collisions with
human-made
structures
2.7 Reduce
incidental
mortality from
collisions.
Follow BMPs for reducing mortality
to birds when constructing new
communications towers.
Switch off solid lights on existing
towers and ensure that remaining
lights have a synchronized,
complete dark phase.
2.1 Site/area
management
All species
5.3 Private sector
standards and codes
Take steps to ensure that new
towers avoid guy wires and
minimize height, and avoid
topographic locations where
migrating birds are likely to be
found in abundance.
Collisions with
power lines and
accidental
electrocution
cause bird
mortality.
4.2 Utility and
service lines
Reduce mortality
from collisions
with utility lines/
transmission
towers
2.7 Reduce
incidental
mortality from
collisions.
Retrofit existing towers to adhere
to as many guidelines as possible.
In high-risk areas, retrofit power
lines so that the risk of
electrocution of raptors is
minimized. In new developments,
locate transmission lines
underground.
2.1 Site/area
management
Waterfowl, Herons,
Raptors
Use markers or paint to increase
visibility of power lines in highstrike areas. Avoid siting lines over
or near wetlands.
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Table 26 continued
Threats
Addressed
Collisions with
vehicles cause
bird mortality.
Threat
Sub-category
4.1 Roads and
railroads
Objective
Reduce mortality
from collisions
with vehicles
Objective
Category
2.7 Reduce
incidental
mortality from
collisions.
Recommended Actions
Action Category
Erect road signs or speed bumps to
lower vehicle speeds where bird
activity is frequent.
2.1 Site/area
management
Remove plants that are food
sources for birds from roadsides
and medians. Landscape along
roads using taller trees and bushes
to cause birds to fly higher.
Example Priority
Species Affected
American Kestrel, Bald
Eagle, Barn Owl, Barn
Swallow, Common
Nighthawk, Killdeer,
Eastern Whip-poorwill, Eastern Kingbird,
Red-headed
Woodpecker, Shorteared Owl
Encourage the use of salt
management plans to avoid
unnecessary use of particulate salt
(a bird attractant) on roads.
Population effects
of collisions are
unknown.
12.1
Information
lacking
Environmental contaminants
Mortality, sub9.3
lethal effects,
Agricultural &
reductions in prey forestry
populations and
effluents
habitat alteration
caused by
exposure to/use
of pesticides.
Avoid locating roads in valuable
bird habitat.
Assess the biological importance of
bird kills from all sources of
collisions.
1.1 Site/area protection
8.1 Research
All species
Direct or indirect
poisoning by
pesticides:
Bald Eagle, Peregrine
Falcon
(anatum/tundrius),
Northern Roughwinged Swallow, Bank
Swallow, Barn
Swallow, Chimney
Swift, Killdeer,
Improve
understanding of
population effects
of mortality from
collisions
7.4 Improve
understanding
of causes of
population
declines.
Reduce mortality
and sub-lethal
effects of
pesticides on
birds
2.1 Reduce
mortality
and/or sublethal effects
from pesticide
use.
Substantially reduce the use of
pesticides in Canada. Where
elimination is not possible, they
should be used as part of an
integrated pest management
system.
5.2 Policies and
regulations
Reduce the
effects of
pesticides on prey
species
5.1 Maintain
natural food
webs and prey
sources.
Improve regulation of pesticides in
Canada to reduce bird mortality.
5.3 Private sector
standards and codes
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Table 26 continued
Threats
Addressed
Mortality from
ingestion of lead
shot or tackle.
Threat
Sub-category
5.1 Hunting &
collecting
terrestrial
animals
5.4 Fishing &
harvesting
aquatic
resources
Mortality from
heavy metals and
other
contaminants.
9.2 Industrial
& military
effluents
Objective
Objective
Category
Reduce mortality
and sub-lethal
effects of lead
shot and fishing
tackle on birds
2.2 Reduce
mortality
and/or sublethal effects
from exposure
to
contaminants.
Reduce mortality
from heavy
metals and other
contaminants
2.2 Reduce
mortality
and/or sublethal effects
from exposure
to
contaminants.
Recommended Actions
Action Category
Work with hunters, anglers and
industry to eliminate the exposure
of birds to shot, sinkers and jigs
made of lead.
4.3 Awareness and
communications
Enforce the use of non-toxic shot in
waterfowl hunting, and encourage
adoption of non-toxic alternatives
in target shooting, upland game
bird hunting, and fishing.
Work with industry and policy
makers to reduce the quantity of
heavy metals and other
contaminants released into the
environment.
5.4 Compliance and
enforcement
5.3 Private sector
standards and codes
5.2 Policies and
regulations
Example Priority
Species Affected
Bobolink
Reductions in prey due
to pesticide use:
Barn Swallow (Aerial
Insectivores), Black
Tern, Common
Nighthawk
Bald Eagle, Common
Loon, Green-winged
Teal, Lesser Scaup
Heavy metals:
Common Goldeneye,
Common Loon,
Common Merganser
PCBs:
Bald Eagle, Common
Goldeneye
Other contaminants:
Horned Grebe
(western population),
Peregrine Falcon
(anatum/tundrius)
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Table 26 continued
Threats
Addressed
Mortality of
waterbirds from
oil pollution.
Threat
Sub-category
9. Pollution
Objective
Reduce mortality
from oil pollution
Objective
Category
2.3 Reduce
mortality
and/or
sublethal
effects of oil
pollution.
5.1 Maintain
natural food
webs and prey
sources.
Population effects
of pollution are
unknown.
12.1
information
lacking
Improve
understanding of
population effects
of pollution
7.4 Improve
understanding
of causes of
population
declines.
Recommended Actions
Action Category
Improve monitoring and
enforcement capacity to reduce
chronic oil pollution from illegal
dumping of bilge waste and
cleaning of oil tanks.
5.4 Compliance and
enforcement
Improve education/outreach to
make sure that the oil industry and
its regulators are aware of the
potential impacts on birds and take
measures to prevent exposure of
birds to oil.
Evaluate the effects of PBDEs and
other chemicals on vital rates in
birds.
4.3 Awareness and
communications
8.1 Research
Evaluate the extent to which
pesticides are reducing prey
availability for aerial insectivores.
Improve the ability to monitor and
understand the effects of
contaminant concentrations in
birds.
Example Priority
Species Affected
Lethal and sublethal
effect of oil exposure:
Common Goldeneye,
Common Loon, Lesser
Scaup, Red Knot (rufa)
PBDE exposure;
effects unknown:
Peregrine Falcon
(anatum/tundrius)
8.2 Monitoring
Continue to acquire information on
oiling of waterbirds through
programs like Birds Oiled at Sea.
Predation by domestic cats
Predation by
8.1 Invasive
domestic and
nonferal cats.
native/alien
Reduce mortality
from domestic
and feral cats
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
2.4 Reduce
incidental
mortality.
Implement a “Cats Indoors!”
Campaign following the guidelines
of the American Bird Conservancy
5.3 Private sector
standards and codes
Ground nesting or
ground foraging
species; species
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Table 26 continued
Threats
Addressed
Population effects
of cat predation
are unknown.
Threat
Sub-category
species
12.1
Information
lacking
Objective
Objective
Category
Recommended Actions
Action Category
(http://www.abcbirds.org/abcprog
rams/policy/cats/index.html).
Improve
understanding of
population effects
of cat predation
7.4 Improve
understanding
of causes of
population
declines.
Work to reduce feral cat
overpopulation through cat control
regulations.
Evaluate which species are most
vulnerable to cat predation.
Investigate the population-level
effects of cat predation through
better monitoring of kill rates and
the number of feral cats.
5.2 Policies and
regulations
Continue to monitor bird
populations so changes in numbers
and distributions can be identified
and management of cats can be
altered to reflect these changes.
8.2 Monitoring
8.1 Research
Example Priority
Species Affected
attracted to feeders;
species inhabiting
rural, suburban or
urban areas
Ground nesting or
ground foraging
species; species
attracted to feeders;
species inhabiting
rural, suburban or
urban areas
Conduct effectiveness monitoring
to evaluate if mitigation activities
are achieving the desired results.
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Climate Change
The effects of climate change are already measurable in many bird habitats and have resulted
in range shifts and changes in the timing of migration and breeding in some species (National
Audubon Society 2009; North American Bird Conservation Initiative, U.S. Committee 2009).
Birds in all habitats will be affected by climate change. The most vulnerable are predicted to be
those that are dependent on oceanic ecosystems and those found in coastal, island, grassland,
arctic and alpine habitats (North American Bird Conservation Initiative, U.S. Committee 2010).
Changing climate may also facilitate the spread of disease, the introduction of new predators
and the invasion of non-native species that alter habitat structure and community composition
(North American Bird Conservation Initiative, U.S. Committee 2009; Faaborg et al. 2010). See
Tables 27 and 28 for a summary of effects of climate change and conservation objectives.
A recent exercise used bioclimatic modelling to predict changes in bird species ranges based on
anticipated climate change for different time periods and under different emissions scenarios
(Lawler et al. unpubl.; Lawler et al. 2009). Bioclimatic models use statistical associations
between the current range of a species and a suite of climate variables to predict future ranges
under new climate conditions. The study focused on priority bird species currently found within
Bird Conservation Planning Units in Canada. The results suggest that bird species turnover in
Canada will be highest in northern BCRs as species ranges continue to shift northward in the
coming decades (Fig. 30). In BCR 13 ON, the model predicts a gain of 9 species and a loss of
35 species for a total turnover (species gains + species losses) of 23%.
Figure 30. Number of species analyzed (blue), gained (red), lost (green) and the percent turnover
(reddish brown) by Bird Conservation Sub-region.
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The observed changes in climate have been less pronounced in BCR 13 ON in comparison to
more northerly BCRs, such as BCR 7 ON (Environment Canada 2013d). Still, the changes have
already resulted in measurable habitat and ecological change. A substantial reduction in ice
cover on the Great Lakes through the late 1990s and early 21st century led to increased
evaporation and a substantial and troubling drop in water levels (up to 1.3 m). Recent years of
heavy ice cover have reversed this trend to some extent (Wang et al. 2010), but water surface
temperatures remain elevated, and summertime evaporation has more than doubled since
1980 in Lakes Michigan and Huron (Hanrahan et al. 2010). These climate-related changes in ice
cover, water levels and temperature may have profound effects on the migration and annual
distribution of waterfowl populations (i.e., delayed or decreased migration to more southern
latitudes; Brook et al. 2009), fish populations upon which many priority bird species prey (Jones
et al. 2006), the regulation of invasive species (Hellmann et al. 2008), and may adversely affect
plant diversity and habitat value of wetlands along the shores of the Great Lakes (Mortsch
1998).
Future climate effects may be pronounced in the upland habitats of BCR 13 ON as well. Climate
modelling suggests that the conditions currently prevailing in ecoregion 6E (i.e., the northern
portion of BCR 13 ON) could migrate as far north as the coast of Lake Superior by 2100
(McKenney et al. 2010; Ontario Biodiversity Council 2011). These rapid shifts in climate
conditions will have consequences for the habitat found here, and could outpace the ability of
trees and other plant species, for example, to keep pace with this rate of shift in their preferred
climatic conditions (McKenney et al. 2010).
The global scale of predicted climate effects means that conditions encountered elsewhere in
the range of BCR 13 ON’s priority species must also be considered. Those species breeding to
the north and migrating through the region face the consequences of the accelerated climate
and habitat change observed at high latitudes (ACIA 2005), such as the potential drying of moist
tundra or inundation of key coastal staging habitats in BCR 7 ON. To the south, sea-level rise
may threaten the wintering habitats used by shorebirds (Galbraith et al. 2002), and populations
of neotropical landbirds may be affected by changing climate and productivity on their
wintering grounds (Wilson et al. 2011).
The highly complex interactions among ecosystem components and among the various stages
in birds’ annual cycles make precise predictions difficult. However, although uncertainty
remains, it is clear that climate change and its associated habitat effects could significantly
affect birds and other wildlife in BCR 13 ON (Table 27). Still, to maintain healthy bird
populations in the face of a changing climate, conservation must be carefully planned and must
be implemented so as to buffer birds from the negative effects of climate change wherever
possible (Faaborg et al. 2010).
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Table 27. Examples of the current and anticipated effects of climate change on bird populations in
Canada and some affected bird species.
Note: The species shown here do not represent an exhaustive list, but instead provide examples of species where
the effects of climate change have been suggested or documented.
Potential and Realized Effects of Climate Change
Examples of Species Affected
Mismatch between peak hatch and peak food abundance
Olive-sided Flycatcher, Blackbellied Plover, Lesser Scaup
Extended breeding season
Canada Goose, Wood Thrush
Habitat loss as a result of ecosystem changes (e.g., advances in treeline)
Yellow Rail, Least Bittern, Black
Tern
Increase in severe weather events
Aerial Insectivores
Introduction of new predators and competitors
Common Tern, Caspian Tern
Changes in Great Lakes temperature affect marine productivity and food
webs
Terns, Gulls
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Table 28. Proposed conservation objectives and actions to address climate change.
Table 28 continued
Threats Addressed
Threat
Sub-category
Objective
Objective Category
Recommended Actions
Action
Category
Climate change
affects habitat and
negatively affects
survival and
productivity of birds
11.1 Habitat
shifting and
alteration
Reduce greenhouse
gas emissions
6.1 Support efforts
to reduce
greenhouse gas
emissions
Support efforts to reduce greenhouse gas
emissions.
5.2 Policies
and
regulations
Mitigate the effects
of climate change on
bird habitat
6.2 Manage for
habitat resilience as
climate changes
Manage for habitat resilience to allow
ecosystems to adapt despite disturbances
and changing conditions. Minimize
anthropogenic stressors (such as
development or pollution) to help maintain
resilience.
1.1 Site/area
protection
Manage buffer areas and the matrix
between protected areas to enhance
movement of species across the landscape.
2.1 Site/area
management
Priority
Species
Affected
All
Manage ecosystems to maximize carbon
storage and sequestration while
simultaneously enhancing bird habitat.
Population-level
effects of climate
change are unknown
12.1
Information
lacking
Improve
understanding of
climate change on
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
7.5 Improve
understanding of
potential effects of
Incorporate predicted shifts in habitat into
landscape level plans (e.g., when
establishing protected areas ensure the
maintenance of north-south corridors to
facilitate northward range shifts of bird
species).
5.2 Policies
and
regulations
Evaluate which species are most vulnerable
to climate change and how to reduce
climate change effects on those species.
8.1 Research
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Table 28 continued
Threats Addressed
Threat
Sub-category
Objective
Objective Category
Recommended Actions
birds and their
habitats
climate change
Investigate the cumulative effects of
climate change.
Action
Category
Investigate behavioural responses to
climate change (such as range shifts,
changes in demographic rates, and changes
in timing of breeding and migration)
through long-term studies.
Continue to monitor bird populations so
changes in numbers and distributions can
be identified.
8.2
Monitoring
Undertake monitoring to evaluate the
effectiveness of mitigation activities.
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July 2014
Priority
Species
Affected
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Research and Population Monitoring Needs
Population Monitoring
An estimate of population trend for each species is necessary for the development of elements
1 and 3 (Species Assessment and Population Objectives). However, there are many species for
which we are currently unable to estimate a population trend (PT) score. These species were
typically assigned a PT score of 3 and an associated population objective of “assess/maintain.”
The inability to estimate a PT score may be the result of a lack of monitoring data for the BCR as
a whole or may be because information about certain species are not well captured by common
monitoring techniques. To be able to effectively evaluate species believed to be of conservation
concern, and to track those not yet of concern for future changes in status, we require more
comprehensive monitoring that enables us to generate population trends for all species of birds
in Canada. However, it is important to note that for some species, population trends are better
understood at scales larger or smaller than the BCR unit, and lack of BCR-scale population trend
data should not preclude acting to conserve these species.
Given that BCR 13 ON is heavily populated and road access is good, coverage of bird surveys
here is satisfactory in comparison to many other regions in the country. Volunteer-based
surveys such as the Breeding Bird Survey and Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas have good
participation, and a variety of targeted surveys (e.g., the Eastern Waterfowl Survey, Great Lakes
Decadal Waterbird Census, Ontario Marsh Monitoring Program) provide additional monitoring
data for species not well covered by other surveys. Still, there are a number of gaps in
monitoring information that could be filled with targeted surveys or enhancement of existing
surveys. Table 29 provides some suggestions for how these gaps might be filled for the priority
species of BCR 13 ON.
A recent Environment Canada review (Avian Monitoring Review Steering Committee 2012) of
avian monitoring programs in Canada made the following recommendations for each of the
four main species groups:
Landbirds
• develop options for on-the-ground monitoring across boreal Canada;
• evaluate the ability of migration monitoring and checklist surveys to contribute to
Environment Canada‘s monitoring needs; and
• evaluate the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of improving demographic monitoring to
help understand causes of population change.
Shorebirds
• develop more reliable sampling methods for counting shorebirds in migration to address
concerns about bias; and
• increase Latin American involvement in monitoring shorebirds on the wintering
grounds, including Red Knot.
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Waterbirds
• evaluate alternative strategies for filling gaps in coverage for both colonial waterbirds
and marsh birds;
• consider both costs and potential reduction in risks; and
• carry out any necessary pilot work to evaluate options.
Waterfowl
• develop strategies to reduce expenditures on the prairie and eastern waterfowl
breeding surveys, while retaining acceptable precision in population estimates; and
• review the information needs and expenditures for arctic goose and duck banding
programs
Table 29. Species group, monitoring methods and examples of potential priority species in BCR 13 ON
for which there are currently not sufficient data to produce a reliable estimate of the demographic
trend across the BCR.
Table 29 continued
Group
Potential Monitoring Methods
Landbirds
Increase the coverage of the Breeding Bird Survey or perform
specific surveys of rare, discrete or cryptic birds whose
populations are not well known.
Aerial
insectivores
For species with a clumped distribution, conduct regular counts
(e.g., Chimney Swift roosts; Bank Swallow colonies). Initial
surveys may be needed to find the breeding areas, colonies or
roosts.
Implement or extend targeted twilight surveys for the Common
Nighthawk and Eastern Whip-poor-will. These surveys could be
based on the Nightjar Survey Network model (Center for
Conservation Biology 2012).
Diurnal
raptors
Sparsely distributed raptors that are not well represented by
regular survey efforts such as the Breeding Bird Survey require
targeted, species-specific monitoring efforts.
Shorebirds
Continue to monitor harvest rates of the Wilson's Snipe and
American Woodcock for species management.
Maintain the North American Woodcock Singing-ground Survey.
Inland
waterbirds
Maintain the Ontario Shorebird Survey in order to monitor the
abundance and distribution of shorebirds during the spring and
fall migration.
Support, refine and expand marsh-bird monitoring programs to
improve population status and trend reliability.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Examples of Priority Species
Bank Swallow, Common
Nighthawk, Eastern Whip-poorwill
Eastern Whip-poor-will,
Common Nighthawk, Bank
Swallow, Barn Swallow,
Northern Rough-winged
Swallow, Chimney Swift
Peregrine Falcon
(anatum/tundrius), Bald Eagle,
Northern Harrier, Short-eared
Owl
American Woodcock, Piping
Plover (circumcintus), Blackbellied Plover, Wilson’s Snipe
Rails, Common Gallinule, Least
Bittern
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Table 29 continued
Group
Potential Monitoring Methods
Waterfowl
Maintain banding programs for priority species to monitor
harvest rate for priority species, document movements, to
quantify survival and obtain indicators of reproductive success.
Examples of Priority Species
All Priority Breeding Waterfowl
Species
Maintain breeding waterfowl survey programs to track
abundance and distribution for population status and harvest
management
Conduct periodic surveys to identify and monitor importance of
Great Lakes staging areas to relevant species.
Black Scoter, Surf Scoter, Whitewinged Scoter, Greater Scaup,
Lesser Scaup, Long-tailed Duck,
Common Merganser, Common
Goldeneye
Maintain mid-winter waterfowl monitoring in the Lower Great
Lakes to document changes in abundance and distribution
related to short and long-term climate change.
American Black Duck
Research
The focus of this section is to outline the main areas where a lack of information hindered the
ability to understand conservation needs and make recommendations for suitable conservation
actions. Some species or habitat-specific research and monitoring recommendations are made
in Section 2 of this strategy (by habitat). Research objectives presented here are bigger picture
questions and not necessarily a schedule of studies that are required to determine the needs of
individual species. These include the following (in no particular order):
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Research on species at risk to understand regional biology, status and (potentially)
trends, and the relationship of national trends and populations to local data.
Research to understand and reverse the causes of population declines (e.g., aerial
insectivores).
Research to determine specific population connectivity and migration routes between
breeding and wintering areas, using techniques such as genetic analysis, stable isotopes
and geolocators.
Research on nuisance species if management actions are not yet apparent or require
validation.
Determine the most significant parameters (e.g., season-specific survival, productivity)
in the annual cycle of priority waterfowl species to guide monitoring and conservation
actions.
Determine what local factors (e.g., habitat features, food sources) affect nesting habitat
selection and breeding success of priority waterfowl species.
Research to determine specific impacts of development activities (e.g., mining, offshore
wind development) on birds to properly understand the local and cumulative effects of
these activities.
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•
•
•
Research to determine the population-level significance of bird mortality from collisions
with anthropogenic structures of all types and predation by domestic cats. Identify
particularly vulnerable species.
Where they do not already exist, conduct research to support the development of
sector-specific BMPs documents, with an emphasis on bird and biodiversity
conservation. Monitor adherence to these BMPs and assess their effectiveness.
Continue to engage in and support climate change research with respect to:
− alteration and loss of coastal habitat and inland water level changes, particularly
Great lakes coastal wetlands, beach/dunes and mud/sand flats; and effects on
priority species
− alteration and loss of terrestrial habitats, particularly shifting forest types
− range expansion or contraction of priority bird species
Habitat loss is among the most important conservation issues in BCR 13 ON, and a number of
the research needs are identified below that seek to quantify habitat supply and distribution,
identify key habitats for priority species, determine threshold amounts or conditions for
habitat, or understand the relationship between habitat management and birds’ population
responses. Although it is clear that significant habitat loss has occurred in BCR 13 ON, for many
species of birds in Canada, limiting factors are poorly understood so that population trends
cannot be explicitly linked to amount or condition of breeding habitat. Improving our
understanding of the link between habitat and population status is a prerequisite for effective
management.
•
•
•
Improve and verify land cover and/or habitat mapping based upon the best possible
remote sensing techniques, available imagery and ancillary datasets. Develop more
accurate habitat classifications and associated habitat models, ensuring accuracy
assessments are performed for these products.
Map land cover changes that have occurred across the BCR between the baseline time
periods established in BCR strategies and the current day in order to correlate habitat
loss with species declines and assess the main types of habitat transitions that have
occurred (e.g., wetland to urban development, old growth to managed forest, etc.).
Combine up-to-date land cover information, additional data on bird densities, and
detailed bird-habitat relationships for all priority species to allow for the calculation of
quantitative habitat targets and to directly link conservation and population objectives.
Undertaking research will facilitate improvements to future iterations of BCR strategies, focus
future implementation, and will also enable the development of new tools for conservation.
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Threats Outside Canada
Many bird species found in Canada spend a large portion of their life cycle outside of the
country (Fig. 31). These species face threats while they are outside Canada; in fact, threats to
some migratory species may be most severe outside of the breeding season (Calvert et al.
2009). Of the 97 priority species in BCR 13 ON, 71 (73%) migrate to spend part of their annual
life cycle outside Canada.
Figure 31. Percent of Canadian breeding birds that migrate to regions outside of Canada for part of
their life cycle (North American Bird Conservation Initiative Canada 2012).
Similar to the assessment of threats facing priority species within Canada, we conducted a
literature review to identify threats facing priority species while they are outside Canada. A lack
of data was a pervasive issue for this exercise. For many species, little is known about threats
they face during migration or while on their wintering grounds. Indeed, for some species, their
wintering ranges and habitat use are only poorly known, if at all. There is also little information
linking specific wintering areas to particular breeding populations, making it difficult to connect
declines in breeding populations to potential problems on the wintering grounds. In addition,
what data exist on wintering migrant species are heavily biased towards work done in the
United States, and little research is available from Mexico, and Central and South America.
While many of the threats identified in the United States likely affect species throughout their
range, unique issues outside of the United States may have been missed. An absence of threats
in a region may reflect that the necessary research has not yet been conducted (or may not be
published in English). Because information on bird distributions during the non-breeding season
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is limited, we were unable to assess the scope and severity of threats to priority species while
they are outside of Canada.
Regardless, some information is available to inform conservation work outside Canada (Fig. 32).
Priority birds from BCR 13 ON face the loss or degradation of key migration and wintering
habitats. The primary sources of habitat loss and degradation are conversion of wetlands,
grasslands and coastal areas as a result of residential and commercial development (threat subcategories 1.1 and 1.2), conversion and degradation of habitat for cropland and livestock
(threat sub-categories 2.1 and 2.3), and logging and wood harvesting (threat sub-category 5.3).
The threat of loss and degradation of stopover or overwinter habitat is greater for species that
have relatively small and concentrated wintering ranges. Shorebirds such as the Semipalmated
Sandpiper are particularly vulnerable when large numbers of individuals are concentrated in a
handful of key migratory stopover sites (e.g., Delaware Bay). The loss or degradation of these
sites could have devastating impacts on the species.
In addition to habitat loss, priority birds from BCR 13 ON are also affected by increased
mortality from human sources during migration and over-wintering. Collisions with structures
such as TV towers were frequently reported (threat sub-category 1.2). Many priority bird
species are affected by hunting or pest control (threat sub-category 5.1), and several priority
birds from BCR 13 ON are subject to lead poisoning (threat sub-category 5.1). Other sources of
lethal and sub-lethal impacts to priority birds from BCR 13 ON include exposure to industrial
contaminants such as oil pollution and heavy metals (threat sub-category 9.2) and agricultural
pesticides (threat sub-category 9.3).
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Threat Sub-category
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1.1 Housing & urban areas
1.2 Commercial & industrial areas
1.3 Tourism & recreation areas
2.1 Annual & perennial non-timber crops
2.3 Livestock farming & ranching
2.4 Marine & freshwater aquaculture
4.1 Roads & railroads
4.2 Utility & service lines
4.3 Shipping lanes
5.1 Hunting & collecting terrestrial animals
5.3 Logging & wood harvesting
5.4 Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources
6.1 Recreational activities
6.3 Work & other activities
7.1 Fire & fire suppression
7.2 Dams & water management/use
7.3 Other ecosystem modifications
8.1 Invasive non-native/alien species
8.2 Problematic native species
9.2 Industrial & military effluents
9.3 Agricultural & forestry effluents
9.5 Airborne pollutants
11.4 Storms & flooding
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
Percent of identified threats
16
18
20
Figure 32. Percent of identified threats to BCR 13 ON priority species while they are outside of Canada,
by threat sub-category.
Note: Magnitudes could not be assigned for threats outside of Canada due to lack of information on the scope and
severity of threats considered.
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Next Steps
The primary aims of BCR strategies are to present Environment Canada’s priorities with respect
to migratory bird conservation, and to provide a comprehensive overview of the conservation
needs of bird populations to practitioners who may then undertake activities that promote bird
conservation in Canada and internationally. Users from all levels of government, Aboriginal
communities, the private sector, academia, NGOs and citizens will benefit from the
information. BCR strategies can be used in many different ways depending on the needs of the
user, who may focus on one or more of the elements of the strategy to guide their conservation
projects.
BCR strategies will be updated periodically. Errors, omissions and additional sources of
information may be provided to Environment Canada at any time for inclusion in subsequent
versions.
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Report Prepared by ArborVitae and North-South Environmental Inc. for Environment Canada. 43 pp.
Whillans, T.H. 1982. Changes in marsh area along the Canadian shore of Lake Ontario. Journal of Great Lakes
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Environment Canada – Canadian Wildlife Service (Ontario Region) and Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.
106pp.
Zimmerling, J.R., A. Pomeroy, M.V. d’Entremont and C.M. Francis. 2013. Canadian Estimate of bird mortality due
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Appendix 1
List of All Bird species occurring in BCR 13 Ontario
Table A1. Complete list of species in BCR 13 ON, when they are in the BCR (breeding, migrant, winter) and their
priority status.
Table A1 continued
Common Name
Scientific Name
Bird Group
Breeding
Acadian Flycatcher
Empidonax virescens
Landbird
Y
Alder Flycatcher
Empidonax alnorum
Landbird
Y
American Crow
Corvus brachyrhynchos
Landbird
Y
Y
American Goldfinch
Spinus tristis
Landbird
Y
Y
American Kestrel
Falco sparverius
Landbird
Y
Y
American Pipit
Anthus rubescens
Landbird
American Redstart
Setophaga ruticilla
Landbird
Y
American Robin
Turdus migratorius
Landbird
Y
American Three-toed Woodpecker
Picoides dorsalis
Landbird
Y
American Tree Sparrow
Spizella arborea
Landbird
Y
Bald Eagle
Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Landbird
Y
Baltimore Oriole
Icterus galbula
Landbird
Y
Y
Bank Swallow
Riparia riparia
Landbird
Y
Y
Barn Owl
Tyto alba
Landbird
Y
Y
Barn Swallow
Hirundo rustica
Landbird
Y
Y
Barred Owl
Strix varia
Landbird
Y
Bay-breasted Warbler
Setophaga castanea
Landbird
Y
Belted Kingfisher
Megaceryle alcyon
Landbird
Y
Black-and-white Warbler
Mniotilta varia
Landbird
Y
Black-backed Woodpecker
Picoides arcticus
Landbird
Y
Black-billed Cuckoo
Coccyzus erythropthalmus
Landbird
Y
Blackburnian Warbler
Setophaga fusca
Landbird
Y
Black-capped Chickadee
Poecile atricapillus
Landbird
Y
Blackpoll Warbler
Setophaga striata
Landbird
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Setophaga caerulescens
Landbird
Y
Black-throated Green Warbler
Setophaga virens
Landbird
Y
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Migrant
Wintering
Priority
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
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Table A1 continued
Common Name
Scientific Name
Bird Group
Breeding
Blue Jay
Cyanocitta cristata
Landbird
Y
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Polioptila caerulea
Landbird
Y
Blue-headed Vireo
Vireo solitarius
Landbird
Y
Blue-winged Warbler
Vermivora cyanoptera
Landbird
Y
Y
Bobolink
Dolichonyx oryzivorus
Landbird
Y
Y
Bohemian Waxwing
Bombycilla garrulus
Landbird
Y
Boreal Owl
Aegolius funereus
Landbird
Y
Brewer's Blackbird
Euphagus cyanocephalus
Landbird
Y
Broad-winged Hawk
Buteo platypterus
Landbird
Y
Brown Creeper
Certhia americana
Landbird
Y
Y
Brown Thrasher
Toxostoma rufum
Landbird
Y
Y
Brown-headed Cowbird
Molothrus ater
Landbird
Y
Y
Canada Warbler
Cardellina canadensis
Landbird
Y
Cape May Warbler
Setophaga tigrina
Landbird
Y
Carolina Wren
Thryothorus ludovicianus
Landbird
Y
Cedar Waxwing
Bombycilla cedrorum
Landbird
Y
Cerulean Warbler
Setophaga cerulea
Landbird
Y
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Setophaga pensylvanica
Landbird
Y
Chimney Swift
Chaetura pelagica
Landbird
Y
Chipping Sparrow
Spizella passerina
Landbird
Y
Clay-colored Sparrow
Spizella pallida
Landbird
Y
Cliff Swallow
Petrochelidon pyrrhonota
Landbird
Y
Common Grackle
Quiscalus quiscula
Landbird
Y
Common Nighthawk
Chordeiles minor
Landbird
Y
Common Raven
Corvus corax
Landbird
Y
Common Redpoll
Acanthis flammea
Landbird
Common Yellowthroat
Geothlypis trichas
Landbird
Connecticut Warbler
Oporornis agilis
Landbird
Cooper's Hawk
Accipiter cooperii
Landbird
Y
Y
Dark-eyed Junco
Junco hyemalis
Landbird
Y
Y
Downy Woodpecker
Picoides pubescens
Landbird
Y
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Migrant
Wintering
Priority
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
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Table A1 continued
Common Name
Scientific Name
Bird Group
Breeding
Eastern Bluebird
Sialia sialis
Landbird
Y
Eastern Kingbird
Tyrannus tyrannus
Landbird
Y
Y
Eastern Meadowlark
Sturnella magna
Landbird
Y
Y
Eastern Phoebe
Sayornis phoebe
Landbird
Y
Eastern Screech-Owl
Megascops asio
Landbird
Y
Eastern Towhee
Pipilo erythrophthalmus
Landbird
Y
Eastern Whip-poor-will
Antrostomus vociferus
Landbird
Y
Y
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Contopus virens
Landbird
Y
Y
European Starling
Sturnus vulgaris
Landbird
Y
Y
Evening Grosbeak
Coccothraustes vespertinus
Landbird
Y
Y
Field Sparrow
Spizella pusilla
Landbird
Y
Y
Fox Sparrow
Passerella iliaca
Landbird
Y
Golden Eagle
Aquila chrysaetos
Landbird
Y
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Regulus satrapa
Landbird
Y
Golden-winged Warbler
Vermivora chrysoptera
Landbird
Y
Y
Grasshopper Sparrow
Ammodramus savannarum
Landbird
Y
Y
Gray Catbird
Dumetella carolinensis
Landbird
Y
Gray Jay
Perisoreus canadensis
Landbird
Y
Gray Partridge
Perdix perdix
Landbird
Y
Great Crested Flycatcher
Myiarchus crinitus
Landbird
Y
Great Gray Owl
Strix nebulosa
Landbird
Great Horned Owl
Bubo virginianus
Landbird
Y
Y
Y
Hairy Woodpecker
Picoides villosus
Landbird
Y
Y
Y
Henslow's Sparrow
Ammodramus henslowii
Landbird
Y
Hermit Thrush
Catharus guttatus
Landbird
Y
Hoary Redpoll
Acanthis hornemanni
Landbird
Hooded Warbler
Setophaga citrina
Landbird
Y
Horned Lark
Eremophila alpestris
Landbird
Y
Y
House Finch
Haemorhous mexicanus
Landbird
Y
Y
House Sparrow
Passer domesticus
Landbird
Y
House Wren
Troglodytes aedon
Landbird
Y
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Migrant
Y
Wintering
Priority
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
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Table A1 continued
Common Name
Scientific Name
Bird Group
Breeding
Indigo Bunting
Passerina cyanea
Landbird
Y
Kentucky Warbler
Geothlypis formosa
Landbird
Y
Kirtland's Warbler
Setophaga kirtlandii
Landbird
Y
Lapland Longspur
Calcarius lapponicus
Landbird
Le Conte's Sparrow
Ammodramus leconteii
Landbird
Y
Least Flycatcher
Empidonax minimus
Landbird
Y
Lincoln's Sparrow
Melospiza lincolnii
Landbird
Y
Loggerhead Shrike (migrans)
Lanius ludovicianus
migrans
Landbird
Y
Long-eared Owl
Asio otus
Landbird
Y
Louisiana Waterthrush
Parkesia motacilla
Landbird
Y
Magnolia Warbler
Setophaga magnolia
Landbird
Y
Marsh Wren
Cistothorus palustris
Landbird
Y
Merlin
Falco columbarius
Landbird
Y
Y
Mourning Dove
Zenaida macroura
Landbird
Y
Y
Mourning Warbler
Geothlypis philadelphia
Landbird
Y
Nashville Warbler
Oreothlypis ruficapilla
Landbird
Y
Northern Bobwhite
Colinus virginianus
Landbird
Y
Y
Y
Northern Cardinal
Cardinalis cardinalis
Landbird
Y
Y
Y
Northern Flicker
Colaptes auratus
Landbird
Y
Y
Northern Goshawk
Accipiter gentilis
Landbird
Y
Y
Northern Harrier
Circus cyaneus
Landbird
Y
Y
Northern Hawk Owl
Surnia ulula
Landbird
Y
Northern Mockingbird
Mimus polyglottos
Landbird
Y
Northern Parula
Setophaga americana
Landbird
Y
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Stelgidopteryx serripennis
Landbird
Y
Northern Saw-whet Owl
Aegolius acadicus
Landbird
Y
Northern Shrike
Lanius excubitor
Landbird
Northern Waterthrush
Parkesia noveboracensis
Landbird
Y
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Contopus cooperi
Landbird
Y
Orange-crowned Warbler
Oreothlypis celata
Landbird
Orchard Oriole
Icterus spurius
Landbird
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Migrant
Wintering
Priority
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
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Table A1 continued
Common Name
Scientific Name
Bird Group
Breeding
Osprey
Pandion haliaetus
Landbird
Y
Ovenbird
Seiurus aurocapilla
Landbird
Y
Palm Warbler
Setophaga palmarum
Landbird
Y
Peregrine Falcon
(anatum/tundrius)
Falco peregrinus
anatum/tundrius
Landbird
Y
Philadelphia Vireo
Vireo philadelphicus
Landbird
Y
Pileated Woodpecker
Dryocopus pileatus
Landbird
Y
Pine Grosbeak
Pinicola enucleator
Landbird
Pine Siskin
Spinus pinus
Landbird
Y
Pine Warbler
Setophaga pinus
Landbird
Y
Prairie Warbler
Setophaga discolor
Landbird
Y
Y
Prothonotary Warbler
Protonotaria citrea
Landbird
Y
Y
Purple Finch
Haemorhous purpureus
Landbird
Y
Purple Martin
Progne subis
Landbird
Y
Red Crossbill
Loxia curvirostra
Landbird
Y
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Melanerpes carolinus
Landbird
Y
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Sitta canadensis
Landbird
Y
Red-eyed Vireo
Vireo olivaceus
Landbird
Y
Red-headed Woodpecker
Melanerpes
erythrocephalus
Landbird
Y
Y
Red-shouldered Hawk
Buteo lineatus
Landbird
Y
Y
Red-tailed Hawk
Buteo jamaicensis
Landbird
Y
Y
Red-winged Blackbird
Agelaius phoeniceus
Landbird
Y
Y
Ring-necked Pheasant
Phasianus colchicus
Landbird
Y
Y
Y
Rock Pigeon
Columba livia
Landbird
Y
Y
Y
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Pheucticus ludovicianus
Landbird
Y
Rough-legged Hawk
Buteo lagopus
Landbird
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Regulus calendula
Landbird
Y
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Archilochus colubris
Landbird
Y
Ruffed Grouse
Bonasa umbellus
Landbird
Y
Rusty Blackbird
Euphagus carolinus
Landbird
Savannah Sparrow
Passerculus sandwichensis
Landbird
Y
Scarlet Tanager
Piranga olivacea
Landbird
Y
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Migrant
Y
Wintering
Priority
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
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Table A1 continued
Common Name
Scientific Name
Bird Group
Breeding
Sedge Wren
Cistothorus platensis
Landbird
Y
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Accipiter striatus
Landbird
Y
Y
Short-eared Owl
Asio flammeus
Landbird
Y
Y
Snow Bunting
Plectrophenax nivalis
Landbird
Y
Snowy Owl
Bubo scandiacus
Landbird
Y
Song Sparrow
Melospiza melodia
Landbird
Y
Swainson's Thrush
Catharus ustulatus
Landbird
Y
Swamp Sparrow
Melospiza georgiana
Landbird
Y
Tennessee Warbler
Oreothlypis peregrina
Landbird
Y
Tree Swallow
Tachycineta bicolor
Landbird
Y
Tufted Titmouse
Baeolophus bicolor
Landbird
Y
Turkey Vulture
Cathartes aura
Landbird
Y
Veery
Catharus fuscescens
Landbird
Y
Vesper Sparrow
Pooecetes gramineus
Landbird
Y
Warbling Vireo
Vireo gilvus
Landbird
Y
Western Meadowlark
Sturnella neglecta
Landbird
Y
White-breasted Nuthatch
Sitta carolinensis
Landbird
Y
White-crowned Sparrow
Zonotrichia leucophrys
Landbird
White-eyed Vireo
Vireo griseus
Landbird
Y
White-throated Sparrow
Zonotrichia albicollis
Landbird
Y
Y
White-winged Crossbill
Loxia leucoptera
Landbird
Y
Y
Wild Turkey
Meleagris gallopavo
Landbird
Y
Willow Flycatcher
Empidonax traillii
Landbird
Y
Wilson's Warbler
Cardellina pusilla
Landbird
Y
Winter Wren
Troglodytes hiemalis
Landbird
Y
Wood Thrush
Hylocichla mustelina
Landbird
Y
Yellow Warbler
Setophaga petechia
Landbird
Y
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
Empidonax flaviventris
Landbird
Y
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Sphyrapicus varius
Landbird
Y
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Coccyzus americanus
Landbird
Y
Yellow-breasted Chat (virens)
Icteria virens virens
Landbird
Y
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Migrant
Wintering
Priority
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
July 2014
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Table A1 continued
Common Name
Scientific Name
Bird Group
Breeding
Yellow-headed Blackbird
Xanthocephalus
xanthocephalus
Landbird
Y
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Setophaga coronata
Landbird
Y
Yellow-throated Vireo
Vireo flavifrons
Landbird
Y
American Golden-Plover
Pluvialis dominica
Shorebird
American Woodcock
Scolopax minor
Shorebird
Baird's Sandpiper
Calidris bairdii
Shorebird
Y
Black-bellied Plover
Pluvialis squatarola
Shorebird
Y
Y
Buff-breasted Sandpiper
Tryngites subruficollis
Shorebird
Y
Y
Dunlin
Calidris alpina
Shorebird
Y
Eskimo Curlew
Numenius borealis
Shorebird
Y
Greater Yellowlegs
Tringa melanoleuca
Shorebird
Y
Hudsonian Godwit
Limosa haemastica
Shorebird
Y
Killdeer
Charadrius vociferus
Shorebird
Least Sandpiper
Calidris minutilla
Shorebird
Y
Lesser Yellowlegs
Tringa flavipes
Shorebird
Y
Long-billed Dowitcher
Limnodromus scolopaceus
Shorebird
Y
Marbled Godwit
Limosa fedoa
Shorebird
Y
Pectoral Sandpiper
Calidris melanotos
Shorebird
Y
Piping Plover (circumcinctus)
Charadrius melodus
circumcinctus
Shorebird
Purple Sandpiper
Calidris maritima
Shorebird
Y
Red Knot (rufa)
Calidris canutus rufa
Shorebird
Y
Red-necked Phalarope
Phalaropus lobatus
Shorebird
Y
Ruddy Turnstone
Arenaria interpres
Shorebird
Y
Sanderling
Calidris alba
Shorebird
Y
Semipalmated Plover
Charadrius semipalmatus
Shorebird
Y
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Calidris pusilla
Shorebird
Y
Short-billed Dowitcher
Limnodromus griseus
Shorebird
Y
Solitary Sandpiper
Tringa solitaria
Shorebird
Y
Spotted Sandpiper
Actitis macularius
Shorebird
Stilt Sandpiper
Calidris himantopus
Shorebird
Upland Sandpiper
Bartramia longicauda
Shorebird
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Migrant
Wintering
Priority
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
July 2014
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Table A1 continued
Common Name
Scientific Name
Bird Group
Whimbrel
Numenius phaeopus
Shorebird
Y
White-rumped Sandpiper
Calidris fuscicollis
Shorebird
Y
Wilson's Phalarope
Phalaropus tricolor
Shorebird
Y
Wilson's Snipe
Gallinago delicata
Shorebird
Y
Y
American Bittern
Botaurus lentiginosus
Waterbird
Y
Y
American Coot
Fulica americana
Waterbird
Y
Y
Black Tern
Chlidonias niger
Waterbird
Y
Y
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Nycticorax nycticorax
Waterbird
Y
Y
Bonaparte's Gull
Chroicocephalus
philadelphia
Waterbird
Caspian Tern
Hydroprogne caspia
Waterbird
Y
Y
Common Gallinule
Gallinula galeata
Waterbird
Y
Y
Common Loon
Gavia immer
Waterbird
Y
Y
Common Tern
Sterna hirundo
Waterbird
Y
Y
Double-crested Cormorant
Phalacrocorax auritus
Waterbird
Y
Forster's Tern
Sterna forsteri
Waterbird
Y
Glaucous Gull
Larus hyperboreus
Waterbird
Great Black-backed Gull
Larus marinus
Waterbird
Y
Y
Y
Great Blue Heron
Ardea herodias
Waterbird
Y
Y
Y
Great Egret
Ardea alba
Waterbird
Y
Y
Green Heron
Butorides virescens
Waterbird
Y
Y
Herring Gull
Larus argentatus
Waterbird
Y
Horned Grebe (western
population)
Podiceps auritus
Waterbird
Iceland Gull
Larus glaucoides
Waterbird
King Rail
Rallus elegans
Waterbird
Y
Y
Least Bittern
Ixobrychus exilis
Waterbird
Y
Y
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Larus fuscus
Waterbird
Little Gull
Hydrocoloeus minutus
Waterbird
Y
Pied-billed Grebe
Podilymbus podiceps
Waterbird
Y
Red-necked Grebe
Podiceps grisegena
Waterbird
Red-throated Loon
Gavia stellata
Waterbird
Ring-billed Gull
Larus delawarensis
Waterbird
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Breeding
Migrant
Y
Wintering
Priority
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
July 2014
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Table A1 continued
Common Name
Scientific Name
Bird Group
Breeding
Sandhill Crane
Grus canadensis
Waterbird
Y
Y
Sora
Porzana carolina
Waterbird
Y
Y
Virginia Rail
Rallus limicola
Waterbird
Y
Y
Yellow Rail
Coturnicops noveboracensis
Waterbird
Y
Y
American Black Duck
Anas rubripes
Waterfowl
Y
American Wigeon
Anas americana
Waterfowl
Y
Black Scoter
Melanitta americana
Waterfowl
Blue-winged Teal
Anas discors
Waterfowl
Brant
Branta bernicla
Waterfowl
Y
Bufflehead
Bucephala albeola
Waterfowl
Y
Cackling Goose
Branta hutchinsii
Waterfowl
Y
Branta canadensis
Waterfowl
Y
Branta canadensis
Waterfowl
Canvasback
Aythya valisineria
Common Goldeneye
Canada Goose (Southern James
Bay)
Canada Goose (Eastern –
Temperate breeding)
Migrant
Wintering
Priority
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Waterfowl
Y
Y
Y
Bucephala clangula
Waterfowl
Y
Y
Y
Common Merganser
Mergus merganser
Waterfowl
Y
Y
Y
Gadwall
Anas strepera
Waterfowl
Y
Greater Scaup
Aythya marila
Waterfowl
Green-winged Teal
Anas crecca
Waterfowl
Y
Hooded Merganser
Lophodytes cucullatus
Waterfowl
Y
King Eider
Somateria spectabilis
Waterfowl
Y
Lesser Scaup
Aythya affinis
Waterfowl
Y
Y
Y
Long-tailed Duck
Clangula hyemalis
Waterfowl
Y
Y
Y
Mallard
Anas platyrhynchos
Waterfowl
Y
Y
Y
Mute Swan
Cygnus olor
Waterfowl
Y
Northern Pintail
Anas acuta
Waterfowl
Y
Northern Shoveler
Anas clypeata
Waterfowl
Y
Red-breasted Merganser
Mergus serrator
Waterfowl
Y
Redhead
Aythya americana
Waterfowl
Y
Ring-necked Duck
Aythya collaris
Waterfowl
Y
Ruddy Duck
Oxyura jamaicensis
Waterfowl
Y
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
July 2014
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Table A1 continued
Common Name
Scientific Name
Bird Group
Snow Goose
Chen caerulescens
Waterfowl
Y
Surf Scoter
Melanitta perspicillata
Waterfowl
Y
Trumpeter Swan
Cygnus buccinator
Waterfowl
Tundra Swan
Cygnus columbianus
Waterfowl
Y
White-winged Scoter
Melanitta fusca
Waterfowl
Y
Wood Duck
Aix sponsa
Waterfowl
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
Breeding
Migrant
Wintering
Priority
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
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Appendix 2
General Methodology for Compiling the six Standard Elements
Each strategy includes six required elements to conform to the national standard. An extensive
manual (Kennedy et al. 2012) provides methods and other guidance for completing each
element. The six elements provide an objective means of moving towards multi-species
conservation efforts that are targeted to species and issues of highest priority. The six elements
are:
1) identifying priority species – to focus conservation attention on species of conservation
concern and those most representative of the region
2) attributing priority species to habitat classes – a tool for identifying habitats of
conservation interest and a means of organizing and presenting information
3) setting population objectives for priority species – an assessment of current population
status compared to the desired status, and a means of measuring conservation success
4) assessing and ranking threats – identifies the relative importance of issues affecting
populations of priority species within the planning area as well as outside Canada (i.e.,
throughout their lifecycle)
5) setting conservation objectives – outlines the overall conservation goals in response to
identified threats and information needs; also a means of measuring accomplishments
6) proposing recommended actions – strategies to begin on-the-ground conservation to
help achieve conservation objectives
The first four elements apply to individual priority species, and together comprise an
assessment of the status of priority species and the threats they face. The last two elements
integrate information across species to create a vision for conservation implementation both
within Canada and in countries that host priority species during migration and the non-breeding
season.
Element 1: Species Assessment to Identify Priority Species
The Bird Conservation Strategies identify “priority species” from all regularly occurring bird
species in each sub-region. The priority species approach allows management attention and
limited resources to focus on those species with particular conservation importance, ecological
significance and/or management need. The species assessment processes used are derived
from standard assessment protocols developed by the four major bird conservation initiatives 1.
The species assessment process applies quantitative rule sets to biological data for factors such
as:
• population size,
• breeding and non-breeding distribution,
1
Partners in Flight (landbirds), Wings Over Water (waterbirds), Canadian Shorebird Conservation Plan (shorebirds),
NAWMP (waterfowl).
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•
•
•
population trend,
breeding and non-breeding threats, and
regional density and abundance
The assessment is applied to individual bird species and ranks each species in terms of its
biological vulnerability and population status. The assessments can be used to assign subregional (i.e., provincial section of a BCR), regional (BCR) and continental conservation priorities
among birds.
For landbirds in BCR 13 ON, species were included on the priority species list if they are
considered to be a Continental Concern, Regional Concern, Continental Stewardship, Regional
Stewardship, Management Interest and/or a Species at Risk in the Ontario Partners in Flight
Plan (2008). In some cases, additions or exclusions were made to the list based on CWS expert
opinion (M. Cadman, pers. comm. 2012).
Shorebirds that had been identified as high or medium priority in the Ontario Shorebird
Conservation Plan (OSCP; Ross et al. 2003) were included in the all-bird priority list, with some
changes made by more recent expert opinion (K. Ross, C. Friis pers. comm. 2011). Shorebird
species noted as low priority in the OSCP were generally excluded from the priority species list
for BCR 13 ON.
Priority waterbird species were those that were designated as Tier 1 or Tier 2 in the Ontario
Waterbird Conservation Plan (Zeran et. al. unpubl.), with some changes made based on more
recent expert opinion (D. Moore, C. Weseloh, P. Hubert, pers. comm. 2011).
For waterfowl, species that were identified within the Ontario Eastern Habitat Joint Venture
Implementation Plan as being a high priority breeding or non-breeding within BCR 13 ON were
added to the all-bird priority species list (Ontario Eastern Habitat Joint Venture 2007). Similarly,
species considered by NAWMP (NAWMP Plan Committee 2004) to have breeding or nonbreeding needs of Moderately High, High, or Highest for Waterfowl Conservation Region 13
were added. In some cases, additions and exclusions were made to the priority lists based on
more recent CWS expert opinion (J. Hughes, S. Meyer, S. Badzinski, pers. comm. 2011).
Provincial and/or federal species at risk occurring in BCR 13 ON were also identified as priority
species (current to November 2013).
Element 2: Habitats Important to Priority Species
Identifying the broad habitat requirements for each priority species in the breeding and nonbreeding season allows species with shared habitat-based conservation issues or actions to be
grouped. If many priority species associated with the same habitat class face similar
conservation issues, then conservation action in that habitat class may support populations of
several priority species. In most cases, all habitat associations identified in the literature are
listed for individual species. Habitat associations do not indicate relative use, suitability ratings
or rankings, or selection or avoidance; this could be a useful exercise to undertake in the future.
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In order to link with other national and international land classification schemes and to capture
the range of habitat types across Canada, habitat classes for all priority species are based, at
the coarsest level, on the hierarchical approach of the international Land Cover Classification
System developed by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (Food and
Agriculture Organization 2000) and are referred to as BCR habitat classes in Table 1. In BCR 13
ON, two data sets were used to derive the extent of available BCR habitats. The Southern
Ontario Land Resource Information System (SOLRIS) version 1.2 released April 2008 provides a
comprehensive land cover/land use inventory of southern Ontario’s natural, rural and urban
areas (OMNR 2008b). SOLRIS follows a standardized approach for ecosystem description,
inventory and interpretation known as Ecological Land Classification (Lee et al. 1998), and
covers the majority of the BCR. Provincial land cover data were used to fill the information gaps
for Manitoulin and North Channel Islands. Species are often assigned to more than one of these
coarse habitat classes. Finer-scale habitat attributes and the surrounding landscape context
were also captured when possible to better guide the development of specific conservation
objectives and actions. For BCR 13 ON, habitat associations and descriptions were defined for
priority species based largely on information in the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas (Cadman et al.
2007), the Birds of North America Online (Cornell Lab of Ornithology 2013) and other relevant
sources (Sandilands 2005; 2010).
Element 3: Population Objectives for Priority Species
A central component of effective conservation planning is setting clear objectives that can be
measured and evaluated. Bird Conservation Strategies set objectives based upon the
conservation philosophies of national and continental bird initiatives, including the North
American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI), that support conserving the distribution,
diversity and abundance of birds throughout their historical ranges. The baselines for
population objectives used in this planning exercise (those existing during the late 1960s, 1970s
and 1990s for eastern waterfowl) reflect population levels prior to widespread declines. Most
of the four bird conservation initiatives under the umbrella of NABCI have adopted the same
baselines at the continental and national scale (waterfowl, shorebirds and landbirds; national
and continental waterbird plans have not yet set population objectives). Some regions in the
current planning effort have adjusted baselines to reflect the start of systematic monitoring.
The ultimate measure of conservation success will be the extent to which population objectives
have been reached. Progress towards population objectives will be regularly assessed as part of
an adaptive management approach.
Population objectives for all bird groups are based on a quantitative or qualitative assessment
of species’ population trends. If the population trend for a species is unknown, the objective is
usually to “assess and maintain” the population, and a monitoring objective is set. Harvested
waterfowl and many stewardship species may already be at desired population levels and are
thus given an objective of “maintain current.” For any species listed under SARA or under
provincial/territorial endangered species legislation, Bird Conservation Strategies set objectives
to “recovery objective” and defer to population objectives in available Recovery Strategies and
Management Plans for these species. If recovery documents are not yet available, interim
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objectives are noted, and set using the same approach as for the other priority species within
that bird group. Once recovery objectives are available, they will replace the interim objectives
identified in this strategy.
Landbirds
Population objectives for landbirds (other than those at risk) were based on objectives
published in the Ontario Partners in Flight (2008) plan, which were derived primarily from
Breeding Bird Survey estimates. The objectives presented for landbirds in this strategy differ
somewhat from those presented in the continental landbird plan (Rich et al. 2004). Current
levels of landbird abundance, distribution and habitat availability were used as the point of
reference for setting objectives. This benchmark differs from that used in the Partners in Flight
North American landbird plan, which takes the late 1960s as the benchmark. In southern
Ontario, current conditions are considered a better point of reference than the late 1960s for
two reasons: 1) Many of the changes in landbird populations and habitats in this region over
the past 35-40 years reflect a long-term shift towards more natural conditions (i.e., increase in
forest cover since 1920); and 2) given the current landscape and future land-use projections for
this region, attempting to “roll back the clock” for all species and habitats to a particular time
period (35 years, 100 years, pre-settlement conditions) is neither achievable nor reasonable.
Shorebirds
Population objectives were not set for shorebird species that do not breed in BCR 13 ON.
Objectives for these more northerly breeding species are provided in plans for other BCRs
(notably BCR 3). Among the six species that do breed in the region, the American Woodcock is a
harvested species and surveyed by a dedicated monitoring program that provides a sound basis
for development of population objectives (Kelley et al. 2008). The objective for this species
reflects a return to 1970s levels. The Piping Plover (circumcinctus) is a Species at Risk, and
detailed population and distribution objectives are provided in recovery documents. For the
remaining four species, there are no established national population objectives. The qualitative
objectives provided here reflect a reversal of the trends observed in the best available
monitoring data (Breeding Bird Survey, Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas or Ontario Shorebird
Survey).
Waterfowl
Population objectives for most breeding waterfowl were taken from the Ontario Eastern
Habitat Joint Venture Implementation Plan (2007; Bolduc et al. 2008). For BCR 13 ON,
objectives for most species were set equal to repeated high population estimates from the
Southern Ontario Waterfowl Plot Survey during the 1998–2005 period. Objectives for Mallard,
American Black Duck, Blue-winged Teal and Wood Duck were set at 5% above these baseline
values. The population goal for Temperate-breeding Canada Geese is to maintain the
population size between 40,000 and 80,000 indicated breeding pairs based on a four-year
average as measured by the Southern Ontario Waterfowl Plot Survey (Environment Canada, in
prep.). The population of non-native invasive Mute Swans in Ontario continues to increase,
based on analyzed data collected by the internationally coordinated Mid-summer Mute Swan
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survey. Quantitative population targets have not been set for Mute Swans at time of writing;
however, given the threats this species poses to native wildlife, ecosystems and people, the
objective was set to “decrease.”
In contrast to other species groups, population goals were established for migrant waterfowl,
based on decadal aerial coastal surveys of the lower Great Lakes. Setting objectives for migrant
waterfowl recognizes both the importance of migratory staging habitat to waterfowl and the
importance of migrant waterfowl to society. No objective was set for the Southern James Bay
population of Canada Geese, which are impossible to differentiate from temperate breeders
during routine aerial surveys.
Waterbirds
Population objectives for waterbirds were based on observed population trends (Zeran et al.
unpubl.) and/or the species’ conservation status (e.g., listed as a Species at Risk or ranked as
provincially rare), as described in Table A2. Regionally specific population trend data from the
Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas, the Ontario Breeding Bird Survey, the Ontario Marsh Monitoring
Program and the Great Lakes Colonial Waterbird Monitoring Surveys (decadal and annual
surveys) were used where available.
Table A2. Relationship between waterbird population trend assessment and BCR Strategy population
objectives.
Table A2 continued
Population Trend and/or
Conservation Status
BCR 13 ON Strategy Population Objective
Biologically significant population decline
Increase
Apparent population decline
Maintain current
Apparent population decline AND S4-S5
1
Assess/Maintain
Apparently stable population
Maintain current
Apparent population increase
Maintain current
Apparently stable population OR Apparent
1
population increase AND S1-S3
Assess/Maintain
Biologically significant population increase
Maintain current OR Decrease
1
Provincial (or regional) ranks are used by the Natural Heritage Information Centre to set protection priorities for
rare species and natural communities. These ranks convey the degree of rarity of the species or community at the
regional level and are not legal designations. S1 Critically imperiled – in the nation or state/province because of
extreme rarity (often 5 or fewer occurrences) or because of some factor(s) such as very steep declines making it
especially vulnerable to extirpation from the state/province. S2 Imperiled – in the nation or state/province because
of rarity due to very restricted range, very few populations (often 20 or fewer), steep declines, or other factors
making it very vulnerable to extirpation from the nation or state/province. S3 Vulnerable — in the nation or
state/province due to a restricted range, relatively few populations (often 80 or fewer), recent and widespread
declines, or other factors making it vulnerable to extirpation. S4 Apparently Secure – Uncommon but not rare;
some cause for long-term concern due to declines or other factors. S5 Secure – Common, widespread, and
abundant in the nation or state/province.
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Table A2 continued
Population Trend and/or
Conservation Status
Information Lacking or Information
unreliable/Unknown
Species at Risk (endangered or threatened)
BCR 13 ON Strategy Population Objective
Assess/Maintain
Recovery objective
Element 4: Threat Assessment for Priority Species
Bird population trends are driven by factors that affect reproduction and/or survival during any
point in the annual cycle. Threats that can reduce survival include, for example, reduced food
availability at migratory stopovers or exposure to toxic compounds. Examples of threats that
can reduce reproductive success may include high levels of nest predation or reduced quality or
quantity of breeding habitat.
The threats assessment exercise included three main steps:
1. Conducting a literature review to itemize past, current and future threats for each
priority species and classifying the threats following a standardized classification scheme
(Salafsky et al. 2008).
2. Ranking the magnitude of threats for priority species following a standardized protocol
(Kennedy et al. 2012).
3. Preparing a set of threat profiles for the BCR sub-region, for broad habitat categories.
Each threat was categorized following the IUCN-CMP threat classification scheme (Salafsky et
al. 2008) with the addition of categories to capture species for which we lack information. Only
threats stemming from human activity were included in the threats assessment because they
can be mitigated; natural processes that prevent populations from expanding beyond a given
level were considered and noted, but no actions beyond research and/or monitoring were
developed. Threats were ranked by assessing the scope (the proportion of the species’ range
within the sub-region that is affected by the threat) and severity (the relative impact that the
threat poses to the viability of the species’ populations) of the threat. The scores for scope and
severity were combined to determine an overall magnitude of low, medium, high or very high.
These magnitudes were then rolled up by threat categories and sub-categories across habitat
types (see Kennedy et al. 2012 for details on this process). The threats roll-up allows for
comparison of the relative magnitude of the threats among threat categories and habitat types.
The scoring and ranking of threats not only helps to determine which threats contribute most
to population declines in individual species, but also allows us to focus attention on the threats
with the greatest effects on suites of species or in broad habitat classes.
The threats assessment only considered threats believed to have a population-level effect on
priority species. As a result, issues that have low-level but widespread impacts on multiple
species were not flagged. Similarly, issues for which the magnitude of the threat is largely
unknown, but which have the potential to impact multiple species, are also often not captured
in the threats assessment. These issues include collisions with human-made structures,
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predation by domestic cats, pollution due to atmospheric deposition of contaminants or
chronic or accidental oil discharge, and habitat alteration or other issues related to climate
change. Although the biological impact of these issues on each priority species is difficult to
assess, they merit attention in conservation plans because of the large numbers of birds
affected in many regions of Canada. They have incorporated them in a separate section on
“widespread issues.”
For this strategy, threats were identified through literature reviews, including the existing bird
conservation plans for BCR 13 ON: landbirds – Ontario Partners in Flight (2008); waterfowl –
Ontario Eastern Habitat Joint Venture (2007); waterbirds – Zeran et al. (unpublished);
shorebirds – Ross et al. (2003) and local expert opinion Wedeles and Mainguy (2010).
Supplementary data from Cadman et al. (2007), Poole (2009), Sandilands (2005; 2010),
COSEWIC species assessments and species accounts from the Birds of North America Online
(Cornell Lab of Ornithology 2013) were also used. Published recovery documents were
consulted to compile threats for species listed under the federal SARA or Ontario’s Endangered
Species Act 2007. Each threat was categorized following the IUCN threat classification scheme.
Only threats stemming from human activity were included in the threats assessment because
they can be mitigated; natural processes that prevent populations from expanding beyond a
given level were considered and noted, but no actions beyond research and/or monitoring
were developed.
In BCR 13 ON, category 12 “Other direct threats” and sub-category 12.1 “Information lacking”
was used to identify priority species that lack adequate biological or demographic information
required for population conservation and management. Using this category in this manner
facilitated the development of targeted research and monitoring conservation actions to
address knowledge gaps for these species, but unlike the other threats, they were not ranked.
Element 5: Conservation Objectives
Overall, conservation objectives represent the desired conditions, within the sub-region that
will collectively contribute to achieving population objectives. Objectives may also outline the
research or monitoring needed to improve the understanding of species declines and how to
best take action.
Currently, most conservation objectives are measurable using qualitative categories (e.g.,
decrease, maintain, increase) that will allow an evaluation of implementation progress, but
they are not linked quantitatively to population objectives. Implementation that incorporates
an active adaptive management process is an underlying principle of this conservation effort
and will allow for future evaluation of whether or not reaching conservation objectives
contributed to achieving population objectives.
Whenever possible, conservation objectives benefit multiple species, and/or respond to more
than one threat. However, where necessary, they focus on the specific requirements of a single
species.
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Conservation objectives generally fall into one of two broad categories:
• habitat objectives within the BCR sub-region (the quantity, quality and configuration of
priority habitats)
• non-habitat objectives within the BCR sub-region (minimizing mortality by reducing
predation, conducting education and outreach to reduce human disturbance, etc.)
Ideally, habitat objectives would reflect the type, amount and location of habitat necessary to
support population levels of priority species outlined in the population objectives. Currently,
there is a lack of data and tools at the BCR scale to develop these specific quantitative
objectives. Threats-based objectives present the direction of change required to move toward
the population objectives using the best available information and knowledge of ecosystem
management strategies within broad habitat types.
Element 6: Recommended Actions
Recommended conservation actions are the strategies required to achieve conservation
objectives. Recommended actions are usually made at the strategic level rather than being
highly detailed and prescriptive. Actions were classified following the IUCN-CMP classification
of conservation actions (Salafsky et al. 2008) with the addition of categories to address research
and monitoring needs. When possible, more detailed recommendations can be included, for
example if BMPs, ecosystem plans or multiple recovery documents are available for a subregion. However, actions should be detailed enough to provide initial guidance for
implementation.
The objectives for research, monitoring and widespread issues may not have actions associated
with them. These issues are often so multi-faceted that actions are best designed in
consultation with partners and subject-matter experts. Implementation teams will be better
positioned to address these complex issues, drawing input from various stakeholders.
Recommended actions defer to or support those provided in recovery documents for species at
risk at the federal, provincial or territorial level, but because these strategies are directed at
multiple species, actions are usually more general than those developed for individual species.
For more detailed recommendations for species at risk, readers should consult recovery
documents.
Bird Conservation Strategy for BCR 13 Ontario
July 2014
www.ec.gc.ca
Additional information can be obtained at:
Environment Canada
Inquiry Centre
10 Wellington Street, 23rd Floor
Gatineau QC K1A 0H3
Telephone: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only) or 819-997-2800
Fax: 819-994-1412
TTY: 819-994-0736
Email: [email protected]
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