The Peregrine Falcon is a large predatory bird that lives in Ontario and many other areas of the world. It has an average wingspan of around a meter wide. These birds have sharp claws and beaks which make them good hunters. They are capable of diving out of the air at 321 km per hour. This makes it an attractive bird for people who enjoy the hobby of Falconry.
These Falcons live in almost every province in Canada. In Ontario the majority of the population lives around Lake Superior and Georgian Bay in the Great Lakes- St. Lawrence forest region, deciduous forest and boreal forest biomes.
These birds prefer to nest on high cliffs and near water where they are able to prey on small shorebirds, reptiles, and amphibians.
This Falcon is a consumer that eats mainly other birds. This includes: mourning doves, pigeons, shorebirds, water fowl, ptarmigan, grouse, and many other birds. In addition to this Peregrine Falcons will eat reptiles and mammals that are small and live near bodies of water. They help to regulate the population levels of these animals in ecosystems.
The Peregrine Falcon is a tertiary consumer. Peregrine Falcons are hunted by other large birds of prey. An example of this could be. the golden eagle. They will also be hunted by predators on the ground such as bears. They can provide a food source and food competition for these animals.
This bird is a species that is classified as a special concern by the Ontario government.
Peregrine Falcons have been declining in population due to the bio-accumulation of pesticide called DDT in food chains that involve the Peregrine Falcon.
DDT will not effect the contaminated falcons directly. However, due to Bio-magnification, DDT contamination causes the egg shells of Peregrine Falcons to become much thinner and more likely to break.
DDT has been banned in almost every country today including Canada. It has been recognized that DDT causes severe problems for multiple bird species and has been banned in almost every country. The Ontario Government is now currently monitoring the population of Peregrine Falcons. The Ontario government also protects known breeding sites of Peregrine Falcons from human disturbance. This is being achieved through the Protection and Recovery of Ontario’s Species at Risk Act.
This graph represents Peregrine Falcon populations in Ontario from 1970-2010. You can see that the population has increased dramatically since the banning of DDT and conservation efforts.
Goldfish are a fish that originates from Asia. They are known well for their gold colour and are the classic fish that people will have as a pet. Goldfish are stereotyped to be small however they are actually capable of reaching a very large size (see picture below).
Goldfish originate from China in streams, rivers, and ponds that have vegetation. The goldfish only lives in freshwater. They are very tolerant when it comes to water pollution, are able to survive through severe water temperature changes and low oxygen levels.
In Ontario, goldfish have been identified in Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and other areas of the province. Their aquatic biomes are lakes, ponds, and rivers.
The Goldfish is a secondary consumer. They will eat snails, bugs, plants, baby fish, and fish eggs. In some cases this is good because it will control the populations of certain species. However in areas like Ontario the Goldfish are taking away food that native species need.
Goldfish are regularly kept as pets around the world in aquariums, man made ponds and streams. These fish have transported from their native country of China to areas of the world like Ontario. These fish often escape or are released into the wild when the owner does not want the fish anymore. These fish are extremely fast breeders and can take away food that native species need. The Goldfish is now classified as an invasive species by the Ontario government.
Goldfish that have been dumped into bodies of water will compete for food or be the predator of native species.
Goldfish are able to reproduce very quickly which means the effects will be multiplied. There are currently 40-50 million gold fish in Lake Ontario.
Goldfish carry diseases that can harm native fish populations.
Goldfish are currently widespread across Ontario and proving very difficult to move.
The Ontario government and other organizations like Ontario’s Invading Species Program are only trying to contain the situation by attempting to educate people to not release goldfish into bodies of water.
They are also asking that people check their boats before they launch into a new body of water.
Goldfish can travel to every major lake in Ontario through boat locks connecting lakes in a series such as this one.