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Location Canada, Ontario
Central coordinates 76o 58.58' West  43o 55.31' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii
Area 37,000 ha
Altitude 75 - 90m
Year of IBA assessment 2008

Bird Studies Canada/Nature Canada

Site description Prince Edward Point is located along the north shore of Lake Ontario within southern Ontario. It is a narrow point of land that extends approximately 10 km into the lake. Shoals and areas of deeper water are located off the tip. The Point is comprised of shallow soil over limestone bedrock. Much of the habitat consists of old field (savannah) and shrub thickets, with small deciduous and coniferous forests being present. In addition to being important for migrating birds, the site also supports several rare vascular plants including Ontario aster, downy wood mint, clammyweed, among others. Largely undisturbed sites are important to ensure survival of these plants.

Key Biodiversity In total, some 298 species of birds have been recorded at Prince Edward Point with about 220 species being recorded during the average year. Most of these species are recorded during migration, although at least 74 species nest within the area. The number and diversity of landbirds that concentrate in this small area during spring and fall migration is outstanding. A total of 162 landbird species (excluding raptors) have been recorded at this site including 36 species of wood warbler, 20 species of sparrow, and 12 species of flycatcher. Daily censuses during migration indicated that peak numbers of common migrants such as Tree Swallow, Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Dark-eyed Junco and White-throated Sparrow were regularly in the range of 200 to 500 individuals. When weather conditions caused particularly large concentrations, numbers of these species were occasionally in excess of 2,000 birds and in some cases as high as 10,000 (Tree Swallow, Yellow-rumped Warbler, White-throated Sparrow) or even 70,000 (Dark-eyed Junco).

The shoals and deep waters off the tip of the peninsula are an important waterfowl staging and wintering area, for Greater Scaup, Oldsquaw and White-winged Scoter. Numbers of scaup (mostly Greater Scaup) approach 10,000 regularly (greater than 1% of their estimated N.A. population) with a recent one-day peak of 39,000 in January 1995. Over the past three years Oldsquaw have also regularly occurred in numbers greater than 1% of their estimated N.A. population with one-day peaks of 37,700 and 37,785 in January of 1996 and 1997. White-winged Scoters also occur in numbers that regularly exceed 5,000 with one day peaks in 1995 and 1996 that exceeded 1% of their estimated N.A. population (12,500 and 15,000 respectively). Other waterbirds regularly recorded in large numbers include Common Loon, Horned Grebe, Common Goldeneye, Common Merganser and Red-breasted Merganser.

During fall migration, large numbers of raptors, both diurnal and nocturnal, move over the Point. Up to 2,000 hawks a day can regularly be observed including large numbers of Sharp-shinned, Red-shouldered, and Red-tailed Hawks. Large numbers of Northern Saw-whet Owls also move through the area in the fall. This site formerly supported nesting Henslows Sparrows (globally near-threatened, nationally endangered) but nesting by this species has not been reported in recent years.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Greater Scaup Aythya marila passage  1994  39,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Melanitta fusca winter  1996  15,000 individuals  A4i  Not Recognised 
Long-tailed Duck Clangula hyemalis winter  1997  37,785 individuals  A4i  Vulnerable 
Bonaparte's Gull Larus philadelphia passage  1996  10,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds passage  1994  20,000-49,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

2013 high not assessed low

Energy production and mining mining and quarrying past (and unlikely to return) and no longer limiting small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Energy production and mining renewable energy likely in short term (within 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) very rapid to severe deterioration high
Human intrusions and disturbance work and other activities happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - unspecified species happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Some of site covered (10-49%)  A management plan exists but it is out of date or not comprehensive  Some limited conservation initiatives are in place  low 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Timber Island Nature Reserve 45 protected area contained by site 45  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Temperate coniferous forest; Temperate deciduous woods  -
Wetlands (inland) Freshwater lakes and pools; Freshwater marshes/swamps  -
Artificial - terrestrial Abandoned or fallow farmland, disturbed ground  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research -
tourism/recreation -

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Prince Edward Point. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016

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