Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory

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Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory
Map showing the location of Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory
Map showing the location of Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory
Location of the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory
Location Eastern Ontario
Nearest city Picton, Ontario
Coordinates 43°57′N 76°54′W / 43.950°N 76.900°W / 43.950; -76.900Coordinates: 43°57′N 76°54′W / 43.950°N 76.900°W / 43.950; -76.900
Area 560 hectares (Prince Edward Point National Wildlife Area)
Established 1995 (observatory)
1978 (National Wildlife Area)
Entry sign
The Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory main building

The Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory is a bird observatory located in the Prince Edward Point National Wildlife Area, located on Prince Edward Point in the south-east corner of Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada.[1] The National Wildlife Area was established in 1978 covering 560 hectares.[2] The observatory was established in 1995 to monitor bird migrations across the point, continuing the work of the Kingston Field Naturalists who performed similar work in the 1970s and 1980s.[3] The observatory was designated a Globally Important Birding Area in 1998 by the Canadian Nature Federation and Bird Studies Canada. It is also an International Monarch Butterfly Reserve.


The observatory's purpose is to observe the migratory bird populations. It does so through a combination of bird banding, daily censuses and observations.[1]

Funding for these activities comes from a variety of sources. In 2002, the Ontario Trillium Foundation awarded the observatory $150 000 to renovate the research station, stabilize the bird banding operations and develop outreach activities.[4] Smaller grants have included a $5 000 donation from the George Cedric Metcalfe Foundation for a modern bird banding facility and a $7 000 grant from the Helen McCrea Peacock Foundation to construct blinds and observation platforms.


Scrublands like this are one of the dominant around the Bird Observatory

Prince Edward Point extends about 10 kilometers into Lake Ontario. Off the edges of the point there are both shoals and deeper waters. The point itself is limestone bedrock with a thin covering of unconsolidated Farmington loam top soil.[5][6]

The point features an interior with primarily grassland and scrubland.[7] Also present are small amounts of wooded swamps, shrub-lined ponds, mixed forests and alvars. Both sandy shores and rocky shores are found along the south beaches of the point, while the north beaches are prominent limestone cliffs. Some of the key species in the ecosystem of the point include fringed gentian, viper's bugloss, butterfly weed, jewelweed, black-eyed susan and small yellow lady's slipper. Rare vascular plants found on Prince Edward Point include Ontario aster, downy wood mint and clammyweed.

Prince Edward Point is a concentration point of bird migrations over the Great Lakes. Over 300 species of birds have been recorded at Prince Edward Point.[2] Most of these birds are recorded in migration, however 74 species of bird have been recorded nesting on the point.[3]

Bird species coverage[edit]

The site experiences large quantity bird migration. Single-day totals of greater scaup, oldsquaw, and white-winged scoters have exceeded 1% of their total North American populations. Single-day totals of common birds exceed 10 000 individuals for species like tree swallows, oldsquaws, and yellow-rumped warblers. The single-day count of dark-eyed juncos has exceeded 70 000 birds.[5]

This table contains the spring bird counts, averaged over 1995–1999. The priority of various species depends on how well their breeding grounds are covered by surveys such as the Breeding Bird Survey, with birds whose breeding grounds are well surveyed being of lesser priority. The Mean DET is the daily estimated total number of birds migrating across Prince Edward Point, and the Mean Band is the number of birds banded in the season. Both these quantities are averaged over 1995–1999. This table includes only species with at least ten individuals counted per season, across not less than five days.

Table of species

Species Priority Mean DET Mean Band
Alder flycatcher A 23 0
Blackpoll warbler A 32 4.6
Lincoln's sparrow A 58 26.4
Magnolia warbler A 185 119.8
Savannah sparrow A 24 0.8
Swainson's thrush A 48 32.8
Tennessee warbler A 12 4.4
Wilson's warbler A 21 14.2
Yellow-bellied flycatcher A 22 6.8
Yellow-bellied sapsucker A 17 2.8
American tree sparrow B 10 3.4
Fox sparrow B 11 2.6
Myrtle warbler B 4244 224.4
Ruby-crowned kinglet B 553 243
Rusty blackbird B 169 0.6
Swamp sparrow B 45 25.2
Dark-eyed junco B 580 115.4
Western palm warbler B 25 6.6
White-crowned sparrow B 107 47.8
White-throated sparrow B 514 177.4
American redstart C 118 47
Barn swallow C 322 8
Black-and-white warbler C 38 21
Black-throated green warbler C 124 25.4
Blue-headed vireo C 15 5.2
Canada warbler C 22 12.2
Chipping sparrow C 264 59.4
Clay-colored sparrow C 33 0
Cliff swallow C 1179 9.8
Common yellowthroat C 178 48
Eastern kingbird C 50 1.6
Least flycatcher C 60 25.8
Ovenbird C 41 25
Red-eyed vireo C 51 15.4
Tree swallow C 712 1.2
Warbling vireo C 15 3.4
Yellow warbler C 463 75
American crow D 172 0.2
American robin D 775 39.8
Belted kingfisher D 23 0
Black-capped chickadee D 119 15.4
Brown creeper D 98 44.2
Cedar waxwing D 225 8.4
Common grackle D 642 37
Downy woodpecker D 41 2.6
Eastern phoebe D 67 6.8
European starling D 447 0.8
Golden-crowned kinglet D 643 86
Hairy woodpecker D 25 2.2
Hermit thrush D 134 68
Northern flicker D 158 8.6
Purple finch D 20 22.4
Red-winged blackbird D 681 31.6
Song sparrow D 677 53.6
Winter wren D 35 13
Baltimore oriole E 161 18
Black-throated blue warbler E 55 20.6
Blackburnian warbler E 31 9.8
Blue-gray gnatcatcher E 26 1
Bobolink E 66 0.4
Chestnut-sided warbler E 38 23.4
Eastern wood-pewee E 31 4.6
Gray catbird E 257 57.8
Great crested flycatcher E 50 5
House wren E 66 16.4
Indigo bunting E 13 4.4
Nashville warbler E 112 45.2
Northern rough-winged swallow E 91 1
Rose-breasted grosbeak E 102 29.2
Ruby-throated hummingbird E 50 0
Scarlet tanager E 24 4.2
Veery E 28 16.6
Wood thrush E 26 13.4
American goldfinch F 588 68.8
Blue jay F 291 166.4
Brown thrasher F 56 6.4
Brown-headed cowbird F 1184 154.6
Eastern meadowlark F 41 0
Eastern towhee F 23 3.8
Field sparrow F 87 9.4
House finch F 87 15.8
Mourning dove F 140 3.6


  1. ^ a b Terry Spraque (March 25, 2007). "Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory". Retrieved 2007-08-27. 
  2. ^ a b "National Wildlife Areas in Ontario - Prince Edward Point". Environment Canada. Retrieved 2007-08-27. 
  3. ^ a b "Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory". Canadian Migration Monitoring Network. Retrieved 2007-08-27. 
  4. ^ "Quinte, Kingston, Rideau 2000-2001". The Ontario Trillium Foundation. Retrieved 2007-08-27. 
  5. ^ a b "Prince Edward Point, Picton, Ontario". Important Bird Areas of Canada. 
  6. ^ "Prince Edward Point National Wildlife Area". Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. 
  7. ^ "Prince Edward Point NWA". Canadian Wildlife Service. Retrieved 2007-08-27. 

External links[edit]