Mountsberg Conservation area is named after a 202ha (499-acre) water reservoir that was created when conservation officials dammed Bronte Creek to block some of its flow to Lake Ontario in 1966. The expanded wetlands have helped prevent flooding and filter sediments ever since, but they’ve also become very important for migrating waterfowl, bald eagles, tundra swans, osprey and blue herons. The hike along the edge of the giant lake-like body is pleasant. This 472ha (1,166-acre) park is more than just a water reservoir, however. It’s also a sugar bush, a mixed forest where hooded mergansers, pileated woodpeckers and ring-necked pheasants nest, as well as the home of the Cameron Playbarn for children and the Douglas G. Cockburn Raptor Centre.
Staff at the Douglas G. Cockburn Raptor Centre treats injured birds of prey, including hawks, kestrels, eagles, owls and turkey vultures. They also house and train birds that can’t be released back into the wild because of human imprinting or permanent damage. This makes a fascinating outing for hikers with the time and inclination to visit. This trail guide includes Wildlife Walkway, Nature Trivia Trail, Sugar Bush Trail, Lakeshore Lookout Trail, and Pioneer Creek Trail.
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