Part of AFCN’s contribution aims to protect the numerous species of migratory birds that roam across North America’s four major flyways, as well as protecting and restoring their habitats – mainly wetlands and their associated uplands.
The projects featured in this section have all received some funding from NAWCA, a U.S Fish and Wildlife Service program that provides matching grants to conservation projects linked to migratory species and their habitats. To learn more about NAWCA, visit the section about the 3:1 match.
Chase Woods Nature Preserve – British Columbia
Chase Woods Nature Preserve is a 100-acre NCC conservation area in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island. Rising from sea level to about 1,300 feet at the summit of Mount Tzouhalem, Chase Woods nurtures rare intact coastal Douglas-fir forests, which are among the most endangered ecosystems in British Columbia. The conservation area’s wetlands connect to the Cowichan Bay Estuary, attracting numerous migratory waterfowl species as well as Pacific chorus frogs, northern red-legged frogs and rough skinned newts.
Osoyoos Oxbows – British Columbia
Located in the heart of one of British Columbia’s best birding areas, this 147-acre NCC conservation area is located along the Okanagan River and houses various species of birds deemed at risk such as bobolink, long-billed curlew and yellow-breasted chat. Marshes found here are some of the last remnants of a once significant chain of wetlands located in this area.
Osoyoos Oxbows is within an internationally recognized Important Bird Area (IBA) and is widely used by a vast diversity of songbirds, raptors, owls and waterfowl for breeding, nesting and hunting.
Bunchberry Meadows – Alberta
Owned by NCC in partnership with the Edmonton & Area Land Trust and located only 18 miles from the heart of downtown Edmonton, this 610-acre property is a conservation site protected for the purpose of providing safe habitat to all of the plants and animals that live in this area. It features various forest communities such as mixedwood boreal, pure birch stands and larch forests.
Bunchberry Meadows also contains wetlands, marshlands and riparian areas, making it an ideal habitat for numerous waterfowl species including mallard, Canada goose, cinnamon teal and bufflehead. The property is open to the public for year-round foot access and provides a great escape to people looking to get out into nature.
Puzzle Lake – Manitoba
Part of the Riding Mountain Natural Area, Puzzle Lake is a 107-acre property conserved and managed by the Nature Conservancy of Canada. The uplands are surrounded by many small lakes and waterbodies that provide habitat for wetland birds and other species including wood duck, lesser scaup, canvasback, American beaver, American white-pelican and Clark’s grebe, a nationally rare species in Canada. Small wetlands are scattered through the property’s forests and grasslands, enhancing the ecological diversity of the landscape.
Management techniques at Puzzle Lake include passive restoration, a process through which environmental stressors are stopped in order to allow the environment’s self-restoration.
Hole in the Wall – Saskatchewan
Located within the Missouri Coteau Natural Area, Hole in the Wall is a 2,240-acre property just north of Big Muddy Valley. It encompasses a wide variety of habitats, ranging from native grasslands to wetlands and rocky areas. The property’s wetlands provide key moulting and staging habitat for waterfowl such as mallard, northern pintail, American wigeon and canvasback.
In addition, the nearby cliffs of Big Muddy Valley offer nesting habitat for birds of prey like golden eagles and prairie falcons. Because the native grasslands found in Big Muddy Valley extend well into Montana, Hole in the Wall also plays a crucial role in reinforcing habitat connectivity at a landscape level and beyond our borders.
Whitefish Lake – Ontario
Located in the Frontenac Arch, one of the few remaining intact forest corridors in eastern North America, the property encompasses 120 acres of wilderness along the shores of Whitefish Lake. Its granite ridges, forests and 1.5 miles of shoreline support a diverse flora and fauna, making it a conservation priority for the region.
Waterfowl such as mallard, ring-necked duck and wood duck can be found in the property’s wetlands and inland lakes, which also support snakes, turtles and frogs.
Pelee Island – Ontario
Pelee Island is the largest of the Canadian western Lake Erie islands at 10,183 acres. It supports globally rare species and habitats and its alvars, wetlands and forests have been a conservation priority for decades. The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has conserved about 1,000 acres – approximately 10 per cent of the island.
NCC’s latest restoration efforts, in collaboration with Ducks Unlimited, will create a 62-acre wetland. The wetland will support migratory birds, turtles, salamanders and much more, as well as provide benefits to local communities, including flood mitigation. In the coming years, new trails and signs will be added to the island to better welcome visitors and give them the opportunity to connect with nature.
Percival River Nature Reserve – Prince Edward’s Island
The Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Percival River Nature Reserve protects nearly 550 acres of pristine forest and coastal wetland habitat in the Egmont Bay area of Prince Edward Island.
The area, spared from major agricultural conversion due to low-lying, swampy territory, features a wide variety of habitats that form a network of natural corridors, making this one of the best examples of natural connectivity in the province. Freshwater wetlands provide refuge for migratory birds including American black duck, Canada goose and great blue heron.
Grand Codroy Estuary – Newfoundland and Labrador
With its 600 acres of protected land around the Grand Codroy River, The Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Grand Codroy Estuary Nature Reserve is within both a Ramsar wetland of international importance and an internationally recognized Important Bird Area. Over 100 bird species have been identified in the Codroy Valley including songbirds, shorebirds and waterfowl such as wood duck, mallard and Canada goose.
In spring and autumn, these species fly through the area as part of their migration journey along the Atlantic flyway. The area is also enjoyed by locals, travelers and historians who can explore the natural beauty via hiking trails.
To learn more about how you can donate to protect North American bird species, click here.