Hamilton is home to a vast range of plant and animal species:
- 1000+ species of native plants.
- 171 species of breeding birds.
- 15 species of snakes and turtles.
- 17 species of frogs, toads and salamanders.
- 43 species of mammals.
- 100 species butterflies.
- 98 species of dragonflies and damselflies.
- 87 species of fish.
*for more on whats alive in Hamilton check out: http://hamiltonnature.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Whats-Alive-in-Hamilton.pdf
Many species of plants and animals occur here because the summer climate approaches that of the North and South Carolina in the USA. The southern region of Ontario is thus considered part of the Carolinian forest ecological zone which occurs nowhere else in Canada. Although this zone is quite small compared with other Canadian ecological zones, at only 1% of Canada's total land area, it boasts a larger number of both flora and fauna species than any other ecosystem in Canada. Trees and plants such as the sassafras, which tastes like fruit loops, and the tulip tree are Carolinian species that occur here in the Hamilton-Wentworth Region. Giant Swallowtail butterflies and opossums are also common Carolinian species. The Carolinian forest is also the most threatened ecological region in the province. Over 124 species are considered vulnerable, threatened, or endangered. Over 400species in Carolinian Canada are considered rare. The Carolinian Canada Coalition works to protect and restore the natural heritage of the Carolinians in Canada; you can look up more on them and the region as well as get involved at http://caroliniancanada.ca/.
The Hamilton region is rich in bird species and is a popular destination for bird watching and bird watching enthusiast. It boasts over 386 species of birds, 171 of which are species that breed in the area. The most popular times to see the birds are in May (spring migration) and late August and September (fall migration) when they are at their max numbers. Migrating birds follow the shores of Lake Superior and Georgian Bay and cross over land passing through this area of Lake Ontario on their way down during winter and north during summer. Hamilton-Wentworth Region is thus an important stop over or "staging" area for birds flying the migration route.
To find out more on the Hamilton Regions bird population and where to find them visit: http://hamiltonnature.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Whats-Alive-in-Hamilton.pdf or the below sites.
Information on other species in the area can be found at:
Invasive species are exotic species, not natural/native to the area, that tend to take over the habitats of native species having negative impacts on the native environment. They pose a great risk to the areas biodiversity and can lead to the endangerment or loss of native species.
Hamilton has various invasive species that are threatening its natural environments and include both flora and fauna; Buckthorn trees, Phragmites, Carp, Asian Long-Horned Beetle, Garlic Mustard Plants and various others.
For a more comprehensive list on invasive species in Hamilton visit: http://www.conservationhamilton.ca/invasive-plants-pests. Many organizations features under "Nature Organizations" have yearly invasive species removal outings to remove invasive plants from the forests surrounding Hamilton and are always interested in having more volunteers come out to help.
Those interested in learning more about Hamilton's Natural History and Heritage can check out the following sites:
- Cultural Heritage
- Natural Heritage