The 23-hectare (56-acre) Ross's Woods is part of the Five Points Woods Wetland Complex and an important wildlife refuge. The mixed deciduous/coniferous forest contains unusual habitats such as stands of hemlock and many large mature trees of various species. Streams support cold-water fish species, and spring-fed provincially significant wetlands furnish essential habitat for amphibians and turtles. Rare species of dragonflies, butterflies, birds, and plants make their homes here. Ross's Woods and adjacent lands are regularly visited and inhabited by 150 bird species, at least 35 of which are priority species in Bird Conservation Region 13, and at least 2 which are Species at Risk. This area has been identified as a significant area where wintering birds gain shelter from adverse weather conditions. A groundwater-fed stream remains open most of the winter, providing birds with water for drinking and bathing.
Left: Photo courtesy of Daria Koscinski.
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Who was Ross?
An avid birder and well-respected bird rehabilitator, Ross Snider was known to have lived a "Life with Birds." He spent many years caring for injured and orphaned hawks, owls, and many other mammals, turtles, and snakes at his Tamarack Raptor Rehabilitation Centre. He always made sure to share his passion and knowledge for wildlife through informative and exciting presentations with live birds held for students, church groups, youth organization meetings, and naturalist clubs.
Left: Photo courtesy of Dave Martin (left) with Ross Snider (right) holding gray morph and red morph Eastern Screech-Owls at Tamarack Raptor Rehabilitation Centre near Ingersoll Ontario. Photo by Jack Mayos, 1985.
His success at breeding over 60 species of waterfowl led him to raise and care for Loggerhead Shrikes on his property. Each summer he mentored the interns who cared for the shrikes at his breeding sites along with the Bruce and Carden Alver sites. He was appropriately nicknamed the "Shrike Whisperer."
From Ross's detailed and extensive coverage of what is now known as Ross's Woods, it is apparent what value this property holds for a variety of bird species that call it home. The Ingersoll Christmas Bird Count, which ran from 1982 to 2011, was centred around this property, and Ross created annual lists of bird species, compiling 67 species including Swamp Sparrows, dark-eyed Juncos, and even the seldom seen White-winged Crossbill within the area over the 30 years which the CBC ran.
To read more about Ross, visit http://www.ofo.ca/library/view/id/22, page 14.
Right: Photo courtesy of Terry Parker.