blue songbird (Cerulean Warbler)

IBAs of Ontario Parks: the Frontenac Forests IBA

Welcome to the September installment of “IBAs in provincial parks,” brought to you by Ontario IBA Coordinator Amanda Bichel of Bird Studies Canada.

Break out the champagne! We don’t often add new IBAs to the Canadian family of sites, so when we do, it’s a special occasion.

The all-new Frontenac Forests Important Bird and Biodiversity Area encompasses Frontenac Provincial Park and Queens University Biological Station (QUBS), and is designated for one of the most beautiful warblers around – the Cerulean Warbler.

Cerulean Warbler close-up. Blue head, white breast
Cerulean Warbler. Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services

A blue beauty, the Cerulean Warbler breeds and forages in mature, deciduous forests that have gaps in the canopy.

These conditions are exactly what you can find in Frontenac Forests IBA, including Frontenac Provincial Park and the surrounding area.

Where is the Frontenac Forests IBA?

The region is known as the Frontenac Arch, and is the connection between the Canadian Shield and the Adirondack Mountains. Frontenac Provincial Park itself is located 45 minutes north of Kingston.

map showing boundaries of Frontenac IBA

Cerulean Warblers

Unfortunately, due to loss of habitat on its wintering and breeding grounds, the Cerulean Warbler population has been steeply declining since the 1960s. This species is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, and is endangered in Canada.

A mere 500 pairs breed in Canada, and an incredible 250 of those pairs are estimated to breed in the new IBA — that’s half the Canadian population!

Conservationists are working on the issue in the U.S. and Canada by monitoring populations, creating habitat, and recruiting landowners to be stewards of wildlife habitat on their land.

rocky ride by lake

Much important ecological and conservation research has already been done by Queens University on the species in this region. We hope the IBA Program will be a catalyst to further this kind of action in and around the new IBA.

Want to help protect this species at risk?

Report your sightings!

If you see a Cerulean Warbler (or any other birds), submit checklists to

blue songbird (Cerulean Warbler)
Photo: U.S. Department of Agriculture

If you’re a landowner in the area, learn Cerulean Warbler best management practices (we can help). Otherwise, just keep telling your friends and family how crucial the protection of Ontario’s biodiversity is for our species at risk.

Visiting the Frontenac Forests IBA?

Mark Conboy, the Program Coordinator at the Long Point Bird Observatory, knows the Frontenac neck of the woods and says:

“To paddle and hike through Frontenac Provincial Park is to be immersed in a mosaic of forest, wetland and deep lakes, populated by an incredible diversity of organisms and a rich cultural heritage, all set upon the geological wonderland of the Frontenac Arch.”

leaf-covered trail through rocky section

We couldn’t agree more. Frontenac is one of southeastern Ontario’s natural gems, and fall is the perfect time to experience its beauty.

Don’t forget to load eBird into your phone before you hit the road!

IBA logoBird Studies Canada thanks the Ontario Trillium Foundation for generously supporting the Ontario IBA Program. To be in the loop with these monthly blogs, sign up for the Ontario IBA Newsletter.