Watching Wildlife in Ontario


Ospreys nest along Ontario's lakes and rivers, the source of the fish that make up most of their diet.


Check out MNR's Forest Raptors publication

Ontario offers a wide diversity of wildlife for those who choose to look for it. No matter where you are, or the time of year, wildlife viewing opportunities are plentiful throughout the province.

Ontario's wealth of species includes songbirds and shorebirds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, and insects.

If you have always wanted to hear the howl of a wolf or get a glimpse of a Ringed Seal, Wild Turkey or a Bald Eagle, think "Ontario."  All of these experiences are available within our borders.

The reason for this range of wildlife is the variety of Ontario's habitats.  The province's one million square kilometres features landscapes that vary from arctic coasts to bustling urban centres. Northern bogs and southern marshes, rare alvars, and the vast boreal forest of the Canadian Shield are just a few more of the diverse habitats that are home to a rich assortment of plants and animals.


In Southern Ontario, the Carolinian forest, for example, boasts more native tree species than the temperate rainforests of British Columbia. In the Carolinian forest you will also find uncommon warblers, the Virginia Opossum and the Southern Flying Squirrel.

The natural features of Ontario can be separated into four broad ecological zones. Each zone has its own unique climate, vegetation, geography, landform and wildlife.

Ontario's four ecological zones are: 

Spider web suspended between weed stalks
Watching spiders is an excellent way to introduce children to wildlife viewing. Kids love spiders!


  • The Hudson Bay Lowlands, comprising the low-lying areas south of Hudson and James bays 
  • The Ontario Shield, part of the Canadian Shield including the boreal forest 
  • The Mixedwood Plains, consisting of the southern part of the Canadian Shield and all of southern Ontario 
  • The Great Lakes, which support thousands of wetlands.

All of these habitats and the species that depend on them represent Ontario's rich biodiversity. This biodiversity is what makes Ontario an outstanding choice for wildlife watchers.


Related Sites


Please visit the following external websites for more information about watching wildlife in Ontario.





Nature, Wildlife, Hiking Areas






Unique Viewing Opportunities



Other Links



Note: The websites linked to (listed above) are created by or for organizations outside of the Ontario government, and those organizations are responsible for the information contained within their respective sites. These sites might not be available in French. Any specific comments or inquiries regarding those sites should be directed to the individual organization.