Cobourg, Ontario, Canada
By: Peter Turk, 2018-06-02
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With a passion for saving the eastern blue bird, Hazel Bird spent countless hours trekking the Rice Lake Plains checking the nest boxes she built. Today, the piece of land she once spent so much time on is known as the Hazel Bird Nature Reserve, one of Nature Conservancy Canada’s feature properties within the Rice Lake Plains Natural Area.
Located on the Oak Ridges Moraine between Cobourg and Rice Lake, the Rice Lake Plains Natural Area contains some of the largest tracts of tall grass prairie and oak savanna ecosystems remaining in Ontario. Once dominated by massive black and white oak and grasses like big bluestem, Indian grass and switchgrass that grew more than two metres high, today, the Rice Lake Plains are badly fragmented and overgrown with non-native species. A refuge for species at risk, including many grassland birds and eastern hog-nosed snake, the Rice Lake Plains remain a priority for conservation.