Species At Risk

Simcoe

Massasauga Rattlesnake
Piping Plover
Spotted Wintergreen

Species at risk in Simcoe region

Birds

Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
special concern
The raspy scream of the bald eagle often heard on movies and TV is actually from a red-tailed hawk. This bird actually gives a sort of watery, gurgling trill that doesn’t sound like it suits the bird.
Black Tern
Black Tern (Chlidonias niger)
special concern
The Black Tern is very social. It breeds in loose colonies and usually forages, roosts and migrates in flocks of a few to more than 100 birds, occasionally up to tens of thousands.
Bobolink
Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus)
threatened
These birds migrate from Ontario to Argentina - one of the longest migrations of any North American songbird.
Cerulean Warbler
Cerulean Warbler (Cardellina canadensis)
threatened
Since this warbler is a bird of the tree tops, it is often best identified from below. Birdwatchers will recognize adult males by the thin dark band that crosses the upper part of the predominantly white breast.
Eastern Whip-poor-will
Eastern Whip-poor-will (Caprimulgus vociferus)
threatened
Chicks seem to hatch near full moons, giving parents more light for foraging so they can supply the extra energy demands of their rapidly-growing brood.
Henslow’s Sparrow
Henslow’s Sparrow (Ammodramus henslowii)
endangered
The Henslow’s Sparrow is a short-distance migrant, travelling only as far as the southern United States, primarily from Texas to Georgia.
Hooded Warbler
Hooded Warbler (Wilsonia citrina)
special concern
Although these warblers appear to form monogamous pairs, recent DNA studies found that only about two thirds of females produce offspring that are fathered by their social mate.
King Rail
King Rail (Rallus elegans)
endangered
During courtship, males present crayfish or small crabs to females in their bill.
Least Bittern
Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis)
threatened
The Least Bittern is more likely to be heard than seen in its dense marsh habitat. The typical call given by males is a hollow, quiet “coo-coo-coo”. When alarmed, they can give a harsh “kek-kek-kek” call. They are most vocal in early morning and evening, but could potentially call anytime during the day or night.
Loggerhead Shrike
Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus)
endangered
Shrikes are sometimes called "butcher bird" because they impale their prey on thorns, barbed wire or sharp twigs.
Louisiana Waterthrush
Louisiana Waterthrush (Parkesia motacilla)
special concern
The Louisiana Waterthrush is among the earliest long-distance migrating birds to arrive back to Canada in the spring, typically arriving by mid-April.
Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)
special concern
The peregrine falcon is one of the world’s fastest animals, and has been clocked diving for prey at speeds of 160 km an hour.
Piping Plover
Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus)
endangered
Within an hour of hatching and drying off, chicks are able to find their own food.
Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus)
special concern
In addition to a bill, woodpeckers have special anatomical features to help them dig holes in wood and find insects. A covering of feathers over the nostrils keeps out pieces of wood and wood powder. A long, barbed tongue searches crevices and cracks for food. And the bird's salivary glands produce a glue-like substance that coats the tongue and, along with the barbs, helps it capture insects.
Yellow Rail
Yellow Rail (Coturnicops noveboracensis)
special concern
In the breeding season, males can be heard almost always at night giving their distinct clicking sounds "tic-tic, tic-tic-tic", which sound like two stones being banged together. Birdwatchers will use pebbles to imitate the call and attract rails out to the edge of the reeds where they can be briefly observed.

Fish

Lake Sturgeon
Lake Sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens)
special concern (Southern Hudson Bay/James Bay population), threatened (Northwestern Ontario and Great Lakes-Upper St. Lawrence River populations)
The oldest known specimen of this fish, from Lake Huron, is 155 years old.
Northern Brook Lamprey
Northern Brook Lamprey (Ichthyomyzon fossor)
special concern
Unlike some other lamprey species, the Northern Brook Lamprey is non-parasitic and does not attach itself to larger host fish. The larvae are filter-feeders, consuming microscopic plant and animal life and decaying matter. Adults have a non-functional intestine and do not feed.

Insects

Rusty-patched Bumble Bee
Rusty-patched Bumble Bee (Bombus affinis)
endangered
The Rusty-patched Bumble Bee gets nectar from flowers by biting a hole in the outside of it and sucking up the nectar with its tongue. This behaviour, called “nectar-robbing”, leaves marks on the flower than can help researchers detect the bees’ presence in an area.

Lizards

Common Five-lined Skink
Common Five-lined Skink (Plestiodon fasciatus)
endangered (Carolinian population), special concern (Great Lakes/St. Lawrence population)
When attacked by a potential predator, a skink's tail can "autotomize": spontaneously break off and thrash for several minutes, distracting the predator so the lizard can escape. The tail is able to grow back at a rate of about six millimetres a week.

Plants

American Ginseng
American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)
endangered
Aboriginal people have used American Ginseng for a wide range of medicinal purposes including treatment of headaches, earaches, rheumatism, convulsions, bleeding, fevers, vomiting, tuberculosis, gonorrhea and as a cure-all when other treatments failed.
Broad Beech Fern
Broad Beech Fern (Phegopteris hexagonoptera)
special concern
Broad Beech Fern reproduces through spores. The spores are contained in a case-like structure called a sporangium. The sporangia burst upon maturity at the end of summer and the spores are scattered through the air.
Eastern Prairie Fringed-orchid
Eastern Prairie Fringed-orchid (Platanthera leucophaea)
endangered
This orchid’s seeds are produced in huge numbers, but germination and seedling growth depend on the presence of special fungi in the soil.
Forked Three-awned Grass
Forked Three-awned Grass (Aristida basiramea)
endangered
Since Forked Three-awned Grass is an annual, its growth and reproduction are influenced by each year’s environmental conditions. This makes estimating population size difficult, as a number of plants present in an area may remain relatively undetectable in the soil seed bank during any given year.
Hart's-tongue Fern (Asplenium scolopendrium americanum)
special concern
Hart’s-tongue Fern has very specific habitat requirements, making transplantation and artificial propagation difficult.
Hill's Thistle
Hill's Thistle (Cirsium hillii)
threatened
In Ontario, Hill's Thistle often grows with other species at risk such as Lakeside Daisy and Houghton's Goldenrod.
Spotted Wintergreen
Spotted Wintergreen (Chimaphila maculata)
endangered
Aboriginal peoples used Spotted Wintergreen for a variety of medicinal purposes including as a poultice, for rheumatism, and for the treatment of colds and fevers.

Snakes

Eastern Foxsnake
Eastern Foxsnake (Pantherophis gloydi)
endangered (Carolinian population), threatened (Georgian Bay population)
If frightened, this harmless snake will mimic a rattlesnake by vibrating the tip of its tail in leaf litter to produce a buzzing noise.
Eastern Hog-nosed Snake
Eastern Hog-nosed Snake (Heterodon platirhinos)
threatened
Unlike other snakes that tend to hibernate in groups, the Eastern Hog-nosed Snake usually spends the winter months alone. It may hibernate in a pre-existing burrow or dig a burrow in the ground with its snout.
Eastern Ribbonsnake
Eastern Ribbonsnake (Thamnophis sauritus)
special concern
Many species of snakes lay eggs, but Eastern Ribbonsnakes give birth to live young.
Massasauga Rattlesnake
Massasauga Rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus)
threatened
The Massasauga is very shy and prefers to hide or retreat from enemies rather than bite them. If threatened, it will shake its tail as a warning and strike only as a last resort to protect itself if it can not escape.
Milksnake
Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum)
special concern
The Milksnake got its name from the false belief that it takes milk from cows in barns, which it often inhabits. Milksnakes cannot drink milk, and are attracted to barns by the abundance of mice.

Turtles

Blanding's Turtle
Blanding's Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii)
threatened
These turtles can survive in the wild for more than 75 years.
Eastern Musk Turtle
Eastern Musk Turtle (Stinkpot) (Sternotherus odoratus)
threatened
Unlike other turtles, the Eastern Musk Turtle rarely leaves the water except when females lay eggs. It spends most of the day resting on the soft lake bottom, foraging for food or basking in the sun under floating aquatic vegetation in shallow water.
Northern Map Turtle
Northern Map Turtle (Graptemys geographica)
special concern
The Northern Map Turtle is extremely wary and will dive into the water at the slightest provocation.
Snapping Turtle
Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina)
special concern
These turtles spend so much time underwater that algae grow on their shells. This helps them blend in with their surroundings.
Spotted Turtle
Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata)
endangered
Most female and male turtles look a little bit different. In the case of Spotted Turtles, females have bright orange eyes and chins whereas males’ are dark brown or black.
Wood Turtle
Wood Turtle (Glyptemys insculpta)
endangered
Wood turtles do not begin reproducing until they are at least 17 years old.

Planning work in an area with species at risk or their habitat?

Protection of species and habitat may have an impact on local planners, developers and land owners.



The Endangered Species Act


Contact your local ministry office


Often the best source of local information on species at risk is your nearest ministry office. Call with your questions or concerns.