The animals found in the Carolinian forest are some of the most
unusual in Ontario. In these relatively dark, closed in spaces,
animals must adapt in ways that allow them to thrive. One of the
most interesting and rare is the Southern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys
Southern Flying Squirrel, found in Red Hill
its more common relative, the Northern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys
sabrinus), it is able to glide through the forest from tree
to tree through the use of its glide membranes: extra skin formed
into flaps between the fore and hind legs that tuck alongside the
body when not in use. Like the many other squirrels in the Carolinian
forest, it takes advantage of the abundance of nuts provided by
mammals found here include the Opossum which used to be quite rare
in Southern Ontario but now is more common in these forests and
in urban habitats, much like the Raccoon.
Opossum. Photo by Barry Cherriere.
are the only North American marsupials: they carry their young in
a pouch like a kangaroo, and have prehensile tails that allow them
to have a very secure grip on tree branches.
Horned Owl. Photo by John MacRea
of the most impressive forest predators is the Great Horned Owl
(Bubo virginianus). It can be seen year-round in these forests
if you know where to look: high up in the branches of the tallest
trees, often near the main trunk. Sometimes you will be able to
spot one in flight after it has been disturbed by crows who seem
to enjoy disturbing them off of their perches.
much smaller owl, the Eastern Screech Owl (Otus asio), is
harder to find, but check out holes in tree trunks and you may see
other birds can be found in the Carolinian forest. Common sights
include the friendly Black-Capped Chickadee (Poecile atricipilla)
and the White-Breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis), which
are not exclusively Carolinian. Tufted Titmice (Baeolophus bicolor)
are not hard to find if you look closely, but are largely limited
to a population in the Carolinian region so watch out for
Waxwings. Photo from HNC Collection.
Woodpecker. Photo by Barry Cherriere.
of forest habitat has led to the decline of many bird species, particularly
songbirds who rely on wooded areas and do not adapt well to the
disturbed forest pattern caused by human settlement. It is a sad
fact that this habitat is one of the most impacted by human activity
because it occurs in one of the most densely populated areas of
Canada. It is in direct conflict with agriculture, urban areas and
Deer Buck in Red Hill Valley forest.
Photo by John Brezden.
Mammals, Birds & Amphibians
Flying Squirrel (rare)
or Pine Vole (uncommon)
Shrew (uncommon to rare)
Pipistrelle (a common bat)
Deer (very common)
Grey Squirrel (very common)
Cottontail (very common)
Horned Owl (common)
Warbler (very rare)
Warbler (very rare)
Chickadee (very common)
Wren (common to uncommon)
(very rare nightjar)
Nuthatch (very common)
Salamander. Photo by Alan Ernst.