Find out more about our Species at Risk

Cortes Island has a wealth of wildlife including a large number of species at risk – these include everything from the Great Blue Heron to the Western Toad.  We want to find out more about them so we can help protect them. We have selected 16 species at risk as part of our species at risk citizen science program. These include:  Western Toad, Sooty Grouse, Barn Swallow, Western Screech Owl, Silver Spotted Skipper, Northern Red-legged Frog, Caspian Tern, Coastal Cutthroat Trout, Threaded Vertigo Snail, Western Pygmy Owl, Blue Dasher Dragonfly, Great Blue Heron, Northern Goshawk, Townsend’s Big-eared Bat, Common Nighthawk and Pacific Side-banded Snail. Here we profile some of these species, other profiles will be added in due course.

Help us find out more about our species at risk!

If you see any of these species please contact us at the FOCI office and let us know: the location, date, time, name and number of the species observed as well as your name and contact info. A photo is a bonus!  Your record will be added to our Species at Risk database so we can build up a picture of their distribution and monitor changes over time.

Species at risk are identified by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), an independent advisory panel to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada that meets twice a year to assess the status of wildlife species at risk of extinction. Members are wildlife biology experts from academia, government, non-governmental organizations and the private sector responsible for designating wildlife species in danger of disappearing from Canada.

A Species at Risk is a species that is defined as an extirpated (no longer exist in the wild in Canada), endangered, or threatened as a result of human activity, and includes species of special concern to prevent them from becoming endangered or threatened.

Barn Swallow

The Barn Swallow can usually be spotted flying and foraging over bodies of water, meadows, grasslands and farmland. They often build their nests in man-made structures such as barns..Read more…

Great Blue Heron

The species of Great Blue Heron found around Cortes is the Pacific Great Blue Heron subspecies (Ardea herodias fannini). It is one subspecies out of five that are found in North America. .Read more…

Common Nighthawk

The Common Nighthawk can be spotted at dawn or dusk as it’s quickly flying in the sky, foraging for insects. During the day they’re harder to spot due to their efficient camouflage..Read more…

Northern Goshawk

The Northern Goshawk is a very secretive bird. They’re hard to spot and prefer to be far from human activity. You may hear them though if you stay close to their nest while hiking … Read more…

Northern Red-legged Frog

The Northern Red-legged Frog can be found in well-shaded, cool coastal forests. If you’re searching for one in the late winter or early spring, they’ll most likely be in forested wetlands. . .Read more…

Sooty Grouse

The Sooty Grouse was thought to be the coastal subspecies of the Blue Grouse until it was discovered through DNA testing that they could be split into two subspecies, …Read more…

Western Screech Owl

The Western Screech Owl is nocturnal. It leaves its roost just before sunset to begin a long night of hunting, only returning home just minutes before sunrise. … Read more…

Join Friends of Cortes Island

Become a member and support the work we are doing in the community to help look after our beautiful island

Friends of Cortes Island Society (FOCI) is a charitable organization that has been active for over 25 years. Our organization exists to monitor and preserve the health of local ecosystems, and to provide educational programs that foster a greater understanding of the natural environment. Through all of our projects, we work to promote environmental integrity through community responsibility.