Unique & Diverse
Natural History Specialist–Terry Bradt, Bancroft Field Naturalists
The following birds are ones that can be typically found on or near Eagles Nest. Keep your field guide and binoculars handy. Early mornings and the period before leaves come on the trees are the best times to see the many species of birds that frequent this unique park.
Long-tailed woodland hawks with short rounded wings. Typical flight is several quick beats and a glide.
Sharp-shinned hawk – small with narrow tail and short rounded wings
Northern goshawk – larger and greater than above two species
Large thick set hawks with broad wings and wide rounded tails. Usually soar high in wide circles.
Red-tailed hawk – rufous tail on adult
Red-shouldered hawk – heavy dark bands. Best identified from Broad-winged by its call (2 syllabled – kee-yer (dropping inflection)
Black tail bands are about the same width as the Whyte bands.
Soar with wings flat – 7’-8’ wingspan
Bald eagle – adult male has white head and tail
Golden eagle – use a good field guide to identify from immature birds of either species
Osprey smaller than Bald eagle. Flies with an angle in the wing. Hovers over water (may be seen over Brethour Lake)
Turkey vultures – large black soaring bird with 6’ wing span. Holds wings slightly upwards (dimedral) and so tips and tilts unsteadily unlike an eagle. Adult has red head without feathers.
Streamlined birds of prey with pointed wings and longish tails
American Kestrel (Sparrow Hawk) - Small colourful hawk
Merlin (Pigeon Hawk) - Suggests a miniature Peregrine Falcon. Nest ins the pine trees around Bancroft every year. Quite noisy.
Peregrine Falcon - Very similar to Merlin but usually only seen here during migration when it follows ducks migrating.
On the slopes downhill from the Hawkwatch area, the soil depth enables healthy tree growth. Compare the healthy red oak trees here to the stunted red maples and red oaks growing on the granite bedrock above.
The pine was logged from here in the 1800s and now supports a healthy deciduous forest mixed with sugar maples, White ash, American beech, red oak and other species. During breeding season (May-August) the air is alive with sound from all the birds that nest here – best visited in the morning!
Bruce Collins Trail.
This wetland is an example of a northern peat bog as characterized by the vegetation growing here – black spruce and tamarack rising above Heatherleaf, Bog Laurel, Labrador tea, Sweet Gale and Sphagnum Mosses. Other species are present here such as Pitcher Plant and Cotton grass (sedge).
Beaver are active here if there is sufficient food available – note all the red maples that they have brought down.
Vernal pools and wetlands are critical in the life cycle of many species including salamanders, frogs, dragonflies and damselflies and many invertebrates.
The higher elevations of Eagles Nest Park are dry, windy and there is little soil depth which results in stunted growth of trees such as Red Oak, Red Maple and Pines.
Unique to this ecosystem is the vegetation that does thrive. This includes different types of Juneberries, Blueberries, Wintergreen, Pipissewa and the abundant lichens and mixed mosses covering the exposed bedrock.
Lichens are not a plant and do not have roots. They are a combination of algae and lichen lichen and easily dislodged. For this reason please stay on marked trails to avoid damage. Lichens are one of our oldest organisms and among the first to colonize on bare rock. Look on the ground, fallen logs, tree branches and trunks and bare rock faces and you ill seem some form of lichen during your hike on these trails.
Hastings St. N
Bancroft | ON | Canada
Both Broad-winged Hawk and Cooper’s Hawk have been observed nesting in trees along the Bruce Collins Trail.