Kennebec Lake is special


Sept 2019

This September, another report shows how special Kennebec Lake really is. Lise and George Blaurock, who cottage at the junction of the Lake and the Salmon River, heard three separate whip-poor-wills calling simultaneously.

Whip-poor-wills were declared to be nationally threatened by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) in 2009. That year, Whip-poor-wills were also officially listed by Ontario as threatened. These were responses to information such as a 51 percent decline in their numbers between 2001 and 2005. An Ontario fact sheet suggests that the main issue is " likely habitat loss and degradation". Some of the baseline data for Whip-poor-will populations was done near here around the Queens Biology Station at Chaffeys Locks by Alex Mills.

Current studies by Bird Studies Canada are being done by Couchiching Conservancy volunteers who are trying to identify hotspots of Whip-poor-will populations and habitat around Lake Couchiching.

Kennebec Lake also has a 'hotspot' around the outflow of the Salmon River. About one kilometer east along the ridge between the Lake and the Salmon, we have not heard any Whip-poor-wills. We are jealous of the folks just west of us who still have this special form of natural riches. These birds and their habitat are another variable that needs to be accounted when we think of the capacity of the Lake for development. Conserving this patch of Whip-poor-wills and their habitat would assist with the conservation of an icon of our Lakeland.