IBAs of Ontario Parks: Turkey Point and the Norfolk Forest Complex IBA

Welcome to the August installment of “IBAs in provincial parks,” brought to you by Ontario IBA Coordinator Amanda Bichel of Bird Studies Canada.

Summer is a perfect time to talk about the Turkey Point Provincial Park and the Norfolk Forest Complex IBA!

These forests are known for supporting a rich breeding bird community, as well as an astounding array of other species.

What species are in the Norfolk Forest Complex IBA?

With over 100 species of breeding birds, it is a fantastic place to observe and learn.

There is something magical about watching birds at work building nests, sitting on eggs, and feeding and protecting their young.

Map of Turkey Point and Norfolk IBA.

This forest complex offers opportunities to observe Louisiana Waterthrush, Prothonotary Warbler, and Acadian Flycatcher – all species at risk – at the northern limit 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 in Turkey Point

The biodiversity in this area is also something to mention, as this IBA and provincial park contain an astonishing number of insects, plants, and other species.

Close up of nest resting on branch.
Three Acadian Flycatcher chicks in their nest. Photo: Amanda Bichel

The Norfolk Forest Complex IBA has some of the most significant blocks of deciduous forest that remain in Canada.

The network of forest tracts and natural corridors are protected in part by Long Point Region Conservation Authority, various nature clubs, Nature Conservancy of Canada, and — of course — Ontario Parks.

Photo of tall trees in forest.
Backus Woods in the Norfolk Forest Complex. Photo: Amanda Bichel

Each parcel of protected land contributes to the most expansive forest in southwestern Ontario.

Bioblitz in Norfolk

A recent and inspiring BioBlitz in the Norfolk Forest Complex IBA confirms just how diverse the area is.

A BioBlitz is a 24-hour period where as many species are identified as possible; this was the first science-intense BioBlitz to focus entirely on an IBA.

Thanks to the hard work of around 50 experts and volunteers, over 1,460 species were identified in the Norfolk Forest Complex IBA (including 600+ plant species, 388 moth species, and 300 other insect species).

Some fascinating finds at Turkey Point Provincial Park that day (and night), were the Hooded Warbler, the Eastern Whip-poor-will, a beautiful Io Moth, and the Six-spotted Tiger Beetle.

Side by side photos of a beetle and a moth.
Six-spotted Tiger Beetle (Photo: Pat Deacon) and Io Moth (Photo: Jody Allair)

This event captured some amazing biodiversity data for the area, and wouldn’t have been possible without our enthusiastic experts, generous funding from the Government of Canada, and support from the Canadian Wildlife Federation. Check out the project page here.

So if you’re in the mood for some camping amid a magnificent forest with amazing biodiversity at your fingertips, I’m sure Turkey Point Provincial Park’s staff and their mascot Tom the Turkey will welcome you with open wings, er, arms!

IBA logoBird Studies Canada thanks the Ontario Trillium Foundation for generously supporting the Ontario IBA Program. To be in the loop with these monthly blogs, sign up for the Ontario IBA Newsletter.