Year of compilation: 2001
Acadian Flycatchers breed in these forests - at least three nesting pairs present in 2000, representing over 1% of the Canadian population of this species. The forests also supports Canadas largest population of Hooded Warblers. In 1998, it was estimated that at least 70 pairs were present in these forests, which is over half of the total Canadian population. In 2000, at least 56 pairs were breeding in St. Williams and South Walsingham alone (the other forests were not searched). Since 1995, between three to five pairs of Prothonotary Warblers have nested annually in Backus Woods. This is about a third of the current (2000), declining Canadian population of the species. Outside of Rondeau Provincial Park, this is the largest concentration of this species in Canada. Cerulean Warblers nest in most of these forest areas; although exact numbers are not known, they definitely exceed the national significance threshold of ten pairs. Finally, Louisiana Waterthrush nest along streams in many of these areas - at least ten pairs are present annually (5% of Canadian population).
An estimated three to five pairs (perhaps as many as ten pairs) of Red-shouldered Hawks (nationally vulnerable) are present within the forest complex; this population does not exceed national thresholds, however.
In addition to threatened species, the forests supports a rich forest bird community. Species that nest within the forests include: Broad-winged Hawk, American Woodcock, Black-billed Cuckoo, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Eastern Wood-Peewee, Veery, Wood Thrush, Yellow-throated Vireo, Blue-winged Warbler, Golden-winged Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Pine Warbler, Mourning Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, and Rose-breasted Grosbeak. The presence of numerous species more characteristic of the northern forests are also noteworthy (e.g., Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Winter Wren, Magnolia Warber, Black-throated Green Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler and Canada Warbler, among others).
Large parts of the area are privately owned, while some forests are managed by various naturalists groups (e.g. 25% of South Walsingham Forest is managed by such groups) and ecological restoration programs are underway. Many areas are owned by the Long Point Region Conservation Authority, who have undertaken and plan to continue forestry practices within the blocks. Other parts are within conservation areas (e.g. Backus Woods Conservation Area) or provincial parks (e.g. Turkey Point Forest). St. Williams Forest is largely leased by Aquanorth, a forestry company.
Hooded and Prothonotary warbler studies, as well as Red-shouldered Hawk surveys, are ongoing in several areas. A large study is currently being completed in the South Walsingham Forest to determine the habitat associations of rare forest birds and forest interior species within this block. Subsequently, a model will be developed for forestry product extraction while at the same time protecting the forests rich biodiversity. This study is a joint initiative with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Long Point Region Conservation Authority, the Norfolk Land Stewardship Council and MacMillan Bloedel Limited.
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Norfolk Forest Complex. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 29/01/2022.