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Point Pelee (ON006)

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Point Pelee (ON006)

Leamington, Ontario

Latitude 41.957°N
Longitude 82.518°W
Altitude 173 - 177m
Area 70.75km²

Site Description

Point Pelee National Park is located in southwestern Ontario near the town of Leamingtown. It is the most southerly mainland point in Canada, located on a sandspit that extends approximately 17 km southward into Lake Erie.

The majority of the park is marsh (approximately 11 km²) with deciduous forest being located on the higher sandy ground at the tip and along the west side of the peninsula. Within the drier areas, a variety of vegetative communities exist, all having been extensively modified by logging, housing, agriculture, and/or grazing prior to the establishment of the park. Of particular significance are the red cedar savannah and the hackberry forest communities which support several rare or threatened species of flora and fauna. Due to the parks southerly location a large number of provincially and nationally rare vascular plant species are present. Invasive plant species, however, are becoming an increasing problem and are out-competing many of these native species. Nationally threatened mammal species are also present, including the Eastern Mole and the reintroduced Southern Flying Squirrel.

Birds

Point Pelee National Park is most renowned for its concentrations of songbirds during both spring and fall migration. On some days the numbers of migrants are astounding. As an example, recent one-day peaks for several songbirds include: 5,000 Golden-crowned Kinglets, 3,000 Ruby-crowned Kinglets, 400 Yellow-rumped Warblers, 620 Nashville Warblers, 280 Chestnut-sided Warblers, and 1,400 Baltimore Oriole. It is likely that several million songbirds migrate through the Park each year.

Numerous nationally threatened species are also present during migration (Prothonotary Warbler - 11 reported from May 6 to 26, 1997; Hooded Warbler - 53 reported from April 20 to May 21, 1995; Louisiana Waterthrush - 12 reported from April 18 to May 11; and Henslows Sparrow - 11 reported from April 20 to May 23, 1996). Henslows Sparrow is also identified as a globally near-threatened species. In addition to concentrations of threatened migrating species, over a third of eastern Canadas Yellow-breasted Chat population (as many as 32 pairs were reported in 1995) breed within the Park. Yellow-breasted Chats are identified as nationally vulnerable.

A number of waterbirds also occur at Point Pelee in significant numbers. At least two species (Red-breasted Mergansers, and Bonapartes Gull) are regularly present in globally significant numbers during migration (i.e., greater than 1% of their populations), and over the last five years three additional species have occasionally been recorded in globally significant numbers (Common Tern, Forsters Tern, and Black Tern). Double-crested Cormorant have also occurred in nationally significant numbers with as many as 8,600 birds being recorded in September of 1995.

Conservation Issues

Point Pelee was designated as a national park in 1918. It was the first to be created primarily on the merit of its biological value. In 1987, Point Pelee was designated as a Ramsar site because of its international importance as a staging area for waterfowl. It is also recognized as an international Monarch Butterfly Reserve.

The Point Pelee National Park Management Plan, last revised in 1995, outlines measures to maintain and enhance the ecological integrity of the park and identifies appropriate visitor-related use and facilities. Current conservation initiatives at the park include: the Red Cedar Savannah restoration project; White-Tailed deer population control; small mammal survey and monitoring; natural habitat restoration projects; organochlorine contaminant study; exotic plant management; and a groundwater quality study.

Human land use in southern Ontario and on Lake Erie has directly effected Point Pelee National Park. Prevailing westerly winds expose the park to airborne pollution from neighbouring industrial centres in the United States (Detroit, Toledo and Cleveland). Lake Eries poor water quality, due to industrial, urban and agricultural pollution, has altered the ecology of the marsh at the Park. The marsh flora and fauna has also been altered by introduced species from the Lake. High Lake Erie water levels have eroded and breached the eastern barrier ridge. Consequently, increased turbidity and wave action in the open ponds has resulted in the break-up of cattail mats and the movement of floating sections. The park is also threatened by oil and toxic chemical spills because of its location along the Great Lakes shipping channel. Extensive land clearing in the greater park ecosystem has isolated the park from other natural areas.

IBA Criteria Habitats Land Uses Potential or Ongoing Threats Conservation Status
Red-breasted Merganser
Number Year Season
4,000 - 5,5002017Fall
6,500 - 10,0002016Fall
4,0002016Spring
3,8462015Winter
5,500 - 13,3002015Fall
2,000 - 10,0002014Fall
2,000 - 3,0002014Spring
5,000 - 80,0002013Fall
2,000 - 2,5002013Spring
3,1852013Winter
15,000 - 50,0002012Fall
4,0002012Spring
2,000 - 13,5002011Winter
20,0002011Fall
2,000 - 50,0002010Fall
2,0002009Fall
2,000 - 3,0002009Spring
2,0002008Spring
2,000 - 5,0002007Spring
2,0002006Fall
3,0001998Fall
45,0001992Fall
Greater Scaup
Number Year Season
4,5002017Winter
4,5002016Spring
5,000 - 7,4002015Winter
50,0002015Spring
16,850 - 29,0002014Winter
7,000 - 15,0002014Fall
5,000 - 50,0002013Winter
10,000 - 50,0002012Winter
10,0002012Fall
15,0002010Winter
8,000 - 10,0002010Spring
5,0002009Spring
Bonaparte's Gull
Number Year Season
9,0002015Fall
6,000 - 7,5002014Fall
15,0001992Fall
Rusty Blackbird
Number Year Season
27 - 502017Fall
402017Spring
402016Winter
25 - 452015Fall
24 - 552014Fall
802012Fall
60 - 1502012Spring
502001Fall
501996Spring
501990Winter
Little Gull
Number Year Season
62015Fall
32013Summer
2 - 32013Spring
22005Spring
32004Spring
21998Spring
21996Spring
31992Spring
Common Tern
Number Year Season
8,0002000Spring
1,4001994Spring
Chimney Swift
Number Year Season
25 - 402017Spring
252015Spring
252014Spring
25 - 302013Fall
25 - 402013Spring
592012Fall
302011Fall
602011Spring
25 - 602009Spring
352007Spring
302003Summer
251998Spring
501997Spring
30 - 1001996Spring
301995Fall
401990Spring
Yellow-breasted Chat
Number Year Season
22017Fall
1 - 22017Spring
12016Fall
1 - 22016Spring
12015Spring
1 - 22014Spring
1 - 22013Spring
1 - 22012Spring
1 - 22011Spring
32010Fall
1 - 22010Spring
12009Spring
1 - 22008Spring
1 - 22007Spring
12006Summer
1 - 22006Spring
1 - 32005Summer
1 - 22005Spring
1 - 42004Spring
12003Spring
12002Summer
1 - 22002Spring
12002Other
12001Summer
1 - 42001Spring
12001Other
12000Summer
1 - 22000Spring
11999Summer
1 - 51999Spring
11998Summer
1 - 21998Spring
1 - 31997Summer
1 - 61997Spring
11996Fall
11996Summer
1 - 31996Spring
1 - 641995Summer
1 - 41995Spring
1 - 61994Spring
1 - 201993Summer
1 - 31993Spring
1 - 31992Spring
281992Summer
1 - 21991Spring
11990Summer
11990Spring
Henslow's Sparrow
Number Year Season
12017Spring
12016Spring
12015Spring
1 - 22014Spring
12013Spring
12012Spring
12011Spring
12010Spring
12009Spring
12007Spring
12004Spring
12002Spring
1 - 21999Spring
1 - 61997Spring
1 - 111996Spring
11990Spring
161986Spring
Prothonotary Warbler
Number Year Season
12017Fall
2 - 42017Summer
2 - 62017Spring
12016Summer
1 - 22016Spring
12015Fall
1 - 22015Spring
12014Fall
12014Summer
1 - 22014Spring
12013Fall
12013Spring
1 - 52012Summer
1 - 32012Spring
12011Summer
1 - 32011Spring
1 - 22010Spring
1 - 22009Spring
1 - 32008Spring
12007Spring
1 - 22006Spring
12005Summer
12005Spring
1 - 22004Spring
12003Spring
12002Summer
1 - 32002Spring
12001Spring
12000Spring
11999Spring
11998Spring
1 - 111997Spring
1 - 21996Spring
1 - 111995Spring
1 - 81994Spring
1 - 91993Spring
11992Spring
11991Spring
11990Spring
Acadian Flycatcher
Number Year Season
12017Spring
12016Spring
12015Spring
1 - 22014Spring
12013Spring
12012Fall
12012Spring
1 - 52011Spring
12010Spring
12009Spring
12008Spring
12007Spring
12004Spring
12003Spring
12002Spring
12001Summer
12000Spring
11999Spring
11998Summer
11998Spring
11997Summer
11997Spring
11996Summer
1 - 21995Spring
11992Spring
Louisiana Waterthrush
Number Year Season
6 - 101997Spring
121996Spring
61995Spring
101994Spring
Peregrine Falcon
Number Year Season
122009Fall
13 - 291995Fall
221993Fall
91992Fall
Kirtland's Warbler
Number Year Season
12017Spring
1 - 22016Spring
12015Spring
12013Spring
12011Spring
12010Spring
12008Spring
12007Spring
12006Spring
12005Spring
12004Spring
12003Spring
12002Spring
11998Spring
11996Spring
11995Spring
11993Spring
Red-headed Woodpecker
Number Year Season
132017Spring
15 - 252013Spring
122012Spring
12 - 142010Spring
King Rail
Number Year Season
12015Spring
12010Fall
11994Spring
Loggerhead Shrike
Number Year Season
12013Spring
12006Fall
Waterbirds
Number Year Season
45,0001992Fall