THE AVIAN COMMUNITY
Georgina Island is located at the western fringe of the area of south-central Ontario, home to the highest density of breeding birds in the province. Since 1982, a total of 99 bird species have been recorded on Georgina Island. However, a total of 143 bird species might reasonably be expected to breed on Georgina Island. The Breeding Bird Atlas of Ontario, which carried out a survey on Georgina Island in early 1988, found that the island sustains 87 breeding bird species. Thirty of these bird species are considered significant with five provincially rare, two regionally rare and 18 sensitive species.

Georgina Island’s forests and provincially significant shorelines provide nesting habitat for a large number of bird species. The small, seasonal population of cottagers keeps disturbances to a minimum, an important factor for the reproductive success of many birds. The limited development of land for agriculture, roads and housing on the island, unlike most of southern Ontario, means that most of the island is not degraded, marginal habitat for breeding birds, but rather prime habitat.

The provincially rare Forster’s tern and Caspian tern have nested here off the southern tip of Georgina Island. Another provincially rare species, the great black-backed gull, has also been spotted on the island as well as the equally rare least bittern which nests in the marshes here.
Although great blue heron colonies are rare, there is a significant local colony on Georgina Island. A nesting site located in an isolated tall stand of trees is one of ten colonies known in the GTA. These birds require large trees to nest in, typically in swamps. They are sensitive to disturbance and nesting areas should be avoided from April to August.

The great egret, the common loon and the red-headed woodpecker are also considered locally significant with few colonies in the GTA. The provincially rare long-eared owl has also been sighted on the north side of Georgina Island. With large swamps and forests, the island supports a high diversity of 12 forest bird species which require relatively large forested areas. These include the hairy woodpecker, pileated woodpecker, red-breasted nuthatch, white-breasted nuthatch, Winter wren, veery, pine warbler, black and white warbler, American redstart, ovenbird, northern water thrush and scarlet tanager. These are all considered sensitive in the GTA because of their need for large forested areas.

LIST OF BIRD SPECIES FOUND ON GEORGINA ISLAND

A B C D E F G H I K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y

 

A

alder flycatcher
American coot

American kestrel
American woodcock

American bittern
American crow
American redstart
American black duck
American goldfinch
American robin
B

Baltimore oriole
barn swallow
black-billed cuckoo
black throated blue warbler
blue-grey gnatcatcher
blue-winged warbler
broad winged hawk
brown thrasher

bank swallow
barred owl
black capped chickadee
black throated green warbler
blue jay
Bobolink
brown creeper
belted kingfisher
black and white warbler
black tern
blackburnian warbler
blue-winged teal
Bonaparte’s gull
brown headed cowbird
C

Canada goose
cedar waxwing
chipping sparrow
common loon
common snipe
common yellowthroat

Canada warbler
chestnut sided warbler
cliff swallow
common merganser
common tern
Caspian tern
chimney swift
common grackle
common nighthawk
common raven
D

dark-eyed junco

double-crested cormorant downy woodpecker
E
eastern bluebird
eastern phoebe
eastern kingbird
eastern wood pewee
eastern meadowlark
European starling
F
field sparrow Forster’s tern  
G
golden-winged warbler
great black-backed gull
great egret
green-winged teal
golden crowned kinglet
great blue heron
great horned owl
gray catbird
great crested flycatcher
green-backed heron
H
hairy woodpecker
horned lark
house wren
hermit thrush
house finch
herring gull
house sparrow
I
indigo bunting    
K
killdeer    
L
least bittern least flycatcher long-eared owl
M
magnolia warbler
mourning warbler
mallard mourning dove
N
Nashville warbler
northern goshawk
northern waterthrush

northern cardinal
northern Harrier
northern flicker
northern rough-winged swallow
O
osprey ovenbird  
P
parula warbler
pileated woodpecker
purple martin
pied-billed gull
pine warbler
pine warbler
purple finch
R
red breasted nuthatch
red necked pheasant
red winged blackbird
rose breasted grosbeak
red eyed vireo
red shouldered hawk
ring-billed gull
ruffed grouse
red-headed woodpecker
red tailed hawk
rock dove
rufous sided towhee
S
savannah sparrow
short-eared owl
Sora
swamp sparrow
scarlet tanager
solitary vireo
spotted sandpiper
sharp shinned hawk
song sparrow
Swainson’s thrush
T
tree swallow turkey vulture  
U
upland sandpiper    
V
veery vesper sparrow Virginia rail
W
warbling vireo whip-poor-will  
Y
yellow bellied sapsucker yellow-billed cuckoo  

Excerpt from the Georgina Island Forest Management Plan 2000-2019

PLANTS

There are over 400 species of plants growing on Georgina Island, many of which are classified as locally and/or regionally rare. Rare plants are a sign of biodiversity, and indicate the many types of forests that exist on the island.

The following is a list of rare plants compiled by the Ministry of Natural Resources in 1998.

L
– Locally rare
- 10 or less locations in the Region of York
R – Regionally rare - if locally rare in the Greater Toronto Area

FAMILY
LATIN NAME
COMMON NAME
RARITY CLASS
       
aster/daisy      
  Prenanthes alba white lettuce
L
  Lactuca canadensis Canada lettuce
R
  Aster ciliolatus fringed blue aster
R
  Bidens discoideea small beggarticks  
bladdernut      
  Staphylea trifolia bladdernut
R
carrot      
  Hydrocotyle  
R
  Heracleum maximum cow-parsnip
R
cashew      
  Rhus radicans climbing poison ivy
L
crowfoot      
  Thalictrum dasycarpum purple meadow rue
R
  Ranunculus pensylvanicus bristly crowfoot
R
cypress      
  Juniperus communis common juniper
R
elm      
  Ulmus thomasii rock elm
R
evening primrose      
  Epilobium augustifolium fireweed
L
fern      
  Cystopteris bulbifera bulbet fern
L
figwort      
  Pedicularis canadensis wood-betony
R
  Penstemon digitalis foxglove beard-tongue
R
  Gratiola neglecta hedge hyssop
R
frog’s-bit    
  Vallisneria americana tape grass
R
grass      
  Alopecurus aequalis
 
R
  Cinna arundinacea
stout wood grass
R
  Brachyelytum erectum
bearded shorthusk
R
  Elymus villosus
hairy wild rye
R
madder    
  Galium circaczans
wild licorice
R
  Galium lanceolatum
lance-leaved wild licorice
R
morning glory      
  Calystegia sepium Hedge Bindweed
R
mustard      
  Arabis divaricarpa
divaricate rock-cress
R
  Arabis glabra tower mustard
R
nettle      
  Pilea fontana Spring clearweed
R
oleaster      
  Shepherdia canadensis soapberry
R
orchid family      
  Cypripedium calceous
yellow lady’s-slipper
R
  Cypripedium reginae showy lady’s-slipper
R
pea      
  Apios americana
groundnut
R
  Desmodium canadense showy tick-trefoil
L
  Lathyrus palustris marsh pea
R
phlox      
  Phlox divaricata blue phlox
R
polybody      
  Polypodium virginianum rock polybody
R
pondweed      
  Potamogeton illinoensis Illinois pondweed
R
  Potamogeton richardsonii Richardson’s pondweed
R
  Potamogeton zosteriformis
flat-stemmed pondweed
R
rose family      
  Rosa paulstris swamp rose
R
sedge      
  Scirpus acutus hard-stemmed bulrush
R
  Carex alopecoidea
foxtail sedge
R
  Scirpus americanus
American bulrush
R
  Carex amphibola narrow-leaf sedge
R
  Carex aquatilis
water sedge
R
  Carex eburnea bristle-leaf sedge
L
  Cyperus engelmannii
Engelmann’s cyperus
R
  Scirpus fluviatilis
river bulrush
R
  Carex lasiocarpa
hairy-fruited sedge
R
  Carex molesta
troublesome sedge
R
  Scirpus pendulus
nodding bulrush
R
  Carex spengelii
Spengel’s sedge
R
  Carex tuckermanii
Tuckerman’s sedge
R
  Carex utricularia
 
walnut    
  Juglans nigra black walnut
R
water milfoil      
  Myriophyllum sibiricum northern water milfoil
R
     

WILDLIFE
In addition to birds, the forests on the island also support an array of other wildlife. Known mammals, reptiles and amphibians living on the island are listed below, but there are likely many other wildlife species present but not documented. Deer can often be seen swimming to and from the island in the fall or early spring as you cross the lake on the ferry boat.

MAMMALS
HERPETOFAUNA
   
star-nosed mole eastern newt
eastern cottontail rabbit yellow-spotted salamander
snowshoe hare eastern redback salamander
eastern chipmunk
American toad
red squirrel spring peeper
beaver tetraploid gray treefrog
coyote wood frog
red fox northern leopard frog
raccoon green frog
white-tailed deer bullfrog
black bear * common snapping turtle
white-footed mouse eastern garter snake
  northern ribbon snake
  eastern milk snake
 

*The presence of black bear is questionable due to a lack of preferable food sources such as nuts from beech and oak trees, although it was included during a survey completed by the Ministry of Natural Resources in 1998.