Endangered Species: an overview

March 27, 2010
FlycatchAcadian Flycatcher
Features:The Acadian Flycatcher (Empidonax virescens) is a small olive-green songbird that, like others members of its genus, has a pale eye ring, light-coloured wing bars and a short brown bill with a slightly hooked tip. It is best identified by its song, an emphatic (“ka-zeep”).

This bird of the forest interior requires large tracts of mature, shady, maple-beech forest. It selects a forked branch in a tree or shrub, often close to a stream, as the site in of its hanging nest. Three white or buff-coloured eggs speckled with brown are laid in this loosely woven structure. As the name suggests, this is an insectivorous, or insect-eating bird, and it hunts by darting out from a perch to capture prey on the wing.

Endangered Provincially and Nationally

Extends from southern Ontario south to Texas, and east across the southcentral United States. It migrates to wintering grounds in Central America and northern South America. In Ontario, it is believed that there are fewer than 40 breeding pairs scattered throughout suitable habitat in the Carolinian Forest Zone.

Loss of habitat due to forest clearing and fragmentation.

: This species is protected under the federal Migratory Birds Convention Act. It’s also listed under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007, which protects the species from being killed, harmed, or possessed. Almost 50% of those currently breed in Ontario occur in provincial parks, national parks, and conservation areas or nature reserves, where the birds and their habitat are protected. A national recovery team has prepared a draft recovery plan for both the Acadian Flycatcher and the Hooded Warbler. The plan recommends measures necessary for the preservation of these forest interior birds in Ontario.

BaldBald Eagle
The Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is a well-known bird of prey with a distinctive white head, neck and tail, and a brown body. Young birds are mostly brown with a variable amount of white. It takes four years for the young to attain adult plumage. Bald Eagles feed mainly on fish, but they also catch birds and small mammals, scavenge for carrion, and steal food from other birds such as osprey. Their nests are huge stick platforms, usually placed high in a tree, near water.

Special Concern in northern and southern Ontario, Not at Risk Nationally

Although Bald Eagles are widespread in Canada and the United States, their abundance varies regionally. In Ontario, 31 active nests are present in the southwest, while northern populations are healthier.

Beginning in the 1950′s, Bald Eagle populations in eastern North America declined as a result of the widespread application of organochlorine pesticides such as DDT. The use of these chemicals is now restricted in Canada and the United States, and Bald Eagle populations in many areas are no longer experiencing pesticide-related reproductive failures. Today Bald Eagles remain susceptible to illegal shooting, accidental trapping, poisoning and electrocution.

Protection: The Bald Eagle is protected from being hunted or trapped throughout Ontario under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act. In southern Ontario, the eagle and its habitat are protected in regulation under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007. The Natural Heritage component of the Provincial Policy Statement under Ontario’s Planning Act provides for the protection of significant portions of the habitat of species listed in regulation under the E.S.A..

In addition, Ontario’s Conservation Land Tax Incentive Program (CLTIP) will provide 100% tax relief to private landowners for the portion of their property (minimum size 0.5 acres) determined to be habitat of species in regulation under the E.S.A. This program recognizes, encourages and supports private land stewardship. Bird Studies Canada, in cooperation with the Canadian Wildlife Service and Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, monitors eagles in southwestern Ontario by counting the number of young successfully produced by each nesting pair, and by conducting pesticide analyses on blood samples from eaglets.

For more information on the Bald Eagle in southwestern Ontario, visit the Bird Studies Canada website.

LouLouisiana Waterthrush
Features: True to its name, the Louisiana Waterthrush (Seiurus motacilla) is a southern species usually found in steep, forested ravines with fast-flowing streams. It has a prominent white eyestripe and when it walks it flicks its tail in a bobbing motion.

Status: Special Concern Provincially and Nationally

The Louisiana Waterthrush lives in eastern United States, ranging from the lower Great Lakes south to Georgia and west to Kansas. In Ontario it is estimated that about 300 pairs live along the Niagara Escarpment and in woodlands along Lake Erie, as well as scattered locations elsewhere.

The Louisiana Waterthrush is at the northern limits of its range in Ontario and was never common here. Local declines have occurred as forests were cleared, particularly in southwestern Ontario.

The Louisiana Waterthrush and its’ nest is protected under the Migratory Birds Convention Act. Future management being considered by some conservation authorities is to avoid logging the ravines where the species lives on their land

Species at Risk in Ontario

In Canada, more than 500 wild animal and plant species are considered “at risk” according to the Committee on the Status of Endangered Species in Canada (COSEWIC). Nearly 40 percent of these species are found in Ontario. Some urban and rural activities, including expanding residential development, pose significant threats to Ontario’s wildlife. Natural habitats that are under the most intense pressure are forests, grasslands, wetlands, and the Great Lakes and their watersheds. The Carolinian ecozone in south-western Ontario is perhaps the most wildlife-rich area in the country; yet, it is also home to about one-third of the nation’s Species at Risk.

Information on SARA Permits and Agreements
What’s at risk here?

Currently, there are 585 Species at Risk in Canada according to COSEWIC. Ontario is home to 203 of these species, the highest percentage of Species at Risk among the regions. Ontario is followed closely by British Columbia and the Yukon Territory.

5 Extinct
11 Extirpated
86 Endangered
51 Threatened
50 Special Concern
203 Species at Risk in Ontario

(Source: May 2009 Database of wildlife species assessed by COSEWIC)
They need habitat to live

Ontario has the most concentrated human population in Canada
. In southern Ontario, where most of the people live, there is significant pressure on natural habitats. In some areas, this pressure has displaced many wild plants and animals. Like people, wildlife are subject to a variety of threats throughout their life cycle.

Today, most stressors for wildlife are directly related to human activities – in urban, suburban and rural areas. The most serious danger to wildlife may arise from the “snowballing” impact of several threats, such as the loss of wild spaces, environmental pollution and climate change. The good news is that southern Ontario’s many people can play a significant role in the preservation and rehabilitation of natural habitats. Everyone can make an effort to learn how to better co-exist with wildlife – at home, work or school – and help to reverse the tragic decline of wild populations. It’s about preserving, connecting and revitalizing wildlife habitat.

“Clear Creek Forest, Cochran Woods / James Duncan, Nature Conservancy of Canada”
What’s at risk here?

Currently, there are 585 Species at Risk in Canada according to COSEWIC. Ontario is home to 203 of these species, the highest percentage of Species at Risk among the regions. Ontario is followed closely by British Columbia and the Yukon Territory

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