Skunk's Misery Complex

Country/territory: Canada

IBA Criteria met: -
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Area: 10 ha

Birds Canada / Nature Canada

Site description
The Skunk's Misery Complex is located in southern Ontario about 40 km northeast of Chatham. It is comprised of a group of relatively large deciduous forests located on the Bothwell sand plain to the west of Bothwell and to the north and south of Newbury. The topography is flat to gently rolling with the surficial deposits being comprised of sands overlying clay. The result is a mixed sandy area with water-soaked soils that are unsuitable for agriculture unless extensive drainage occurs. This is likely the reason why these large forests have not been cleared.

A variety of forest habitats are present in this complex, ranging from pine plantations, to closed canopy swamp forest (Silver Maple / Black Ash / Swamp White Oak) with standing water into July, to recently logged and regenerating upland forest. In addition to supporting significant concentrations of birds, these forests also support many other species of provincial and national significance, including Butlers Garter Snake, and Large Whorled Pogonia.

Key biodiversity
The Skunk's Misery Complex supports a significant population of Hooded Warblers (nationally threatened). Within the entire complex, detailed surveys have been completed at only two sites, with a total of 12 15 Hooded Warbler territories being recorded in 1998 (as much as 10% of the estimated Canadian population). Acadian Flycatchers (nationally endangered) are also present with three and four pairs in 1999 and 2000, respectively; at least one pair occurs annually on a long-term basis. Cerulean Warblers (nationally vulnerable) appear to be scattered throughout the complex, especially on the slightly higher sites where White Oak is more noticeable (as many as eight contiguous territories were recorded at one site in 1998). A Red-headed Woodpecker (nationally vulnerable) was also recorded.

In addition to nationally threatened species, the site also supports a rich assemblage of species that are largely restricted to eastern temperate forests (19 of 28 species) or are regionally uncommon. These species include: Broad-winged Hawk (2 pairs), Yellow-throated Vireo (5 + pairs), Black-and-White Warbler (3 + pairs), Mourning Warbler (3 + pairs), Chestnut-sided Warbler (5 + pairs), and Northern Waterthrush (6 + pairs). A cumulative total of 13 species of breeding wood warblers was encountered at this site on 4 visits in 1997 and 4 visits in 1998.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Skunk's Misery Complex. Downloaded from on 27/09/2022.