Welcome to the August installment of “IBA in Provincial Parks,” presented by Ontario IBA Coordinator Amanda Bichel of Bird Studies Canada.
Summer is a perfect time to talk about Turkey Point Provincial Park and the Norfolk Forest Complex IBA!
These forests are known to support a rich community of breeding birds, as well as an astonishing variety of other species.
What species are found in the Norfolk Forest Complex IBA?
With over 100 species of breeding birds, it is a fantastic place to watch and learn.
There is something magical about watching birds at work building nests, perching on eggs, and feeding and protecting their young.
This forest complex offers opportunities to observe the Louisiana Thrush, Prothonotary Warbler, and Acadian Flycatcher (all at-risk species) at the northern edge of their breeding range.
On average, there are nine pairs of Acadian Flycatchers nesting in the Norfolk Forest IBA, 36% of the Canadian population!
Biodiversity at Turkey Point
The biodiversity in this area is also something worth mentioning, as this IBA and provincial park contains an astonishing number of insects, plants and other species.
Three Acadian Flycatcher chicks in their nest. Photo: Amanda Bichel
The Norfolk Forest Complex IBA has some of the largest blocks of deciduous forest remaining in Canada.
The network of forest areas and nature corridors is protected in part by the Long Point Region Conservation Authority, various nature clubs, the Nature Conservancy of Canada and, of course, Ontario Parks.
Backus Woods in the Norfolk Forest Complex. Photo: Amanda Bichel
Each parcel of protected land contributes to the largest forest in southwestern Ontario.
Bioblitz in Norfolk
An inspiring 2017 BioBlitz at the Norfolk Forest Complex IBA confirms just how diverse the area is.
A BioBlitz is a 24-hour period in which as many species as possible are identified; This was the first science-intensive BioBlitz that focused entirely on an IBA.
Thanks to the hard work of around 50 experts and volunteers, more than 1,460 species have been identified in the Norfolk Forest Complex IBA (including more than 600 plant species, 388 moth species and a further 300 insect species).
Some fascinating finds at Turkey Point Provincial Park that day (and night) were the Hooded Warbler, Eastern Poorwill, a beautiful Io Moth, and the Six-spotted Tiger Beetle.
Six-spotted tiger beetle (Photo: Pat Deacon) and Io Moth (Photo: Jody Allair)
This event captured some amazing data about the area’s biodiversity and would not have been possible without our enthusiastic experts, generous funding from the Government of Canada, and support from the Canadian Wildlife Federation. Check the project page here.
So if you feel like camping in the middle of a magnificent forest with incredible biodiversity at your fingertips, I’m sure the staff at Turkey Point Provincial Park and their mascot Tom the Turkey will welcome you with open wings, that is, the open arms!
Bird Studies Canada thanks the Ontario Trillium Foundation for generously supporting the Ontario IBA Program. To stay up to date with these monthly messages blogs, register for the Ontario OTHER Bulletin.