90% of the land on PEI is privately owned. This means that the majority of the species at risk could be found on private land at least at some point during their lifecycle. Therefore, in order to protect and restore the populations of species at risk on PEI, individuals need to do what they can to restore the environment to preserve the species at risk. Below are actions individuals can take to help species at risk on PEI.
- Plant native species of trees and flowers. Planting native species of trees will provide habitat for birds at risk such as Canada Warbler, Eastern Wood-pewee, Evening Grosbeak, Olive-sided Flycatcher, and Rusty Blackbird. Native flowers provide pollen for native bumble bees including Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee, Yellow-banded Bumble Bee, and Suckley’s Cuckoo Bumble Bee. Ensure flowers bloom at overlapping times between April and October in order to provide food for pollinators throughout their season. Planting milkweed, in particular, helps populations of Monarchs as they rely on milkweed during their egg and larval stages. Native species that are good for. pollinators include Joe-pye Weed, Blue Flag Iris, Yellow Coneflower, Golden Alexander, and Swamp Milkweed.
- Keep the native mature trees and forests along with dead trees and snags. Mature trees and forests provide habitat for lichen including Blue Felt Lichen, White-rimmed Shingle Lichen, Wrinkled Shingle Lichen, and Frosted Glass-whiskers. They also provide habitat for birds such as Canada Warbler, Eastern Wood-pewee, Evening Grosbeak, Olive-sided Flycatcher, and Rusty Blackbird. The two known bat species on PEI that are at risk, Little Brown Myotis and Northern Myotis, also benefit from mature forests and trees and can be found roosting behind loose bark. Although it can be tempting to remove fallen dead trees and snags, they provide perches for birds such as Canada Warbler, Eastern Wood-pewee, Evening Grosbeak, Olive-sided Flycatcher, and Rusty Blackbird.
- Avoid using pesticides. Insecticides kill more than just the insects they are targeted at. They kill other insects including Transverse Lady Beetle, Monarch, Yellow-banded Bumble Bee, Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee, and Suckley’s Cuckoo Bumble Bee which are all at risk on PEI. Using insecticides also kills the insects that are eaten by bats such as Little Brown Myotis and Northern Myotis and birds such as Bank Swallow, Barn Swallow, Bobolink, and Olive-sided Flycatcher amongst others that are at risk. These species are beneficial to ecosystems as they keep the insect populations in check. Rather than using pesticides, provide suitable habitat for these species to encourage them to eat pests in the area around. If you must use pesticides, apply them to the plant directly rather than spraying the plant, and do not apply pesticides to the flower. Using herbicides on native species can also reduce the habitat for species at risk as well.
- Leave leaf litter on the ground. Leaf litter provides important overwintering habitat for bumble bees and possibly Transverse Lady Beetle. Leaving leaf litter not only saves on yardwork but provides material for these species to overwinter in.
- Record sightings of species at risk on iNaturalist.ca and stay a distance away. Recording sightings helps organizations like Nature PEI to understand the individual species and how their populations are doing. If you see a species at risk, take pictures from afar and be careful to not disturb the species or their habitats.