Silver Donation – All About the Birds!
The Silver Nature Reserve is in Grey Highlands and close to the Niagara Escarpment. It shares its eastern border with the Niagara Escarpment Plan boundary. The land contains many features including afforested fields, a maple-beech climax forest and the Wodehouse Marsh Wetland. The location combined with these significant natural features makes a beautiful nature reserve.
The land donor, Malcolm Silver, is an EBC Board Member and an avid birder. During his time on the property, he has observed many birds and we have a list 63 species long to prove it! Species range from forest birds to water fowl to grassland birds; from the mighty Sandhill Crane to the tiny Chipping Sparrow.
Observations include birds at risk like the Eastern Wood-pewee. This species holds the status of Special Concern in Ontario, but is not listed in the federal Species at Risk Act. The Special Concern designation protects the species but their habitat is not protected. The conservation of this property will preserve existing habitat in perpetuity. The afforestation of the fields will, in time, eliminate breeding habitat for the Eastern Meadowlark. However, it will increase breeding habitat for forest birds at risk like the Wood Thrush and Eastern Wood-pewee.
Malcolm’s observations are not limited to birds! We have records of several reptiles, amphibians and mammals. They too enjoy the wetlands, damp forests and grassland on the property.
Malcolm severed the ecologically significant part of his property from the farmhouse and farmland which he and his family will retain. He donated the rest to EBC. As a land trust, EBC will not erect buildings or use the land for anything aside from hiking. As a condition of the severance, the land on the donated parcel was re-zoned. Land zoned Agriculture (A1) changed to Open Space (OS) to restrict land use. This adds another layer of protection further ensuring the conservation of these natural features and the species that depend on them.
On a landscape level, the Silver Nature Reserve contributes to existing conservation efforts in the area. There are several Grey Sauble Conservation properties along with provincially significant areas.
As the new owners of this nature reserve, EBC will protect the ecological integrity for future generations. Thank you Malcolm!