At-risk wading bird call sampling at Port Severn Wetlands

Posted on May 30, 2016

Last week, Ministry of Natural Resources scientists were busy installing a sound recording station at our Port Severn Wetlands property. The purpose of this sampling station is to fill important knowledge gaps pertaining to the distribution of two at-risk birds in Ontario. The King Rail (Rallus elegans) is classified as Endangered in Ontario (SARO) and across Canada (SARA), and the Least Bittern (lxobrychus exilis) is classified as Threatened in Ontario and across Canada. Port Severn Wetlands is known to provide habitat for these birds, and forms an important part of a larger study of their habitats and distribution across the province.

The recording station contains a song meter which is designed to record all the sounds of the marsh community. The song meter is programmed to record daily between 5:30 and 10 am and 6 and 8 pm. In the fall, these recordings will be analyzed and the calls of the King Rail and Least Bittern will be identified. This will provide a snapshot of the activities of these birds which will be used to help identify critical habitat for the two species.

We’re thrilled to contribute to efforts to protect these species and their habitats, both by ensuring that these critical wetlands remain intact, and by providing a site for important scientific study. Stay tuned for the results of this initiative in the fall!