HALIFAX -- An urban wilderness area near Halifax that is home to threatened birds including the Canada warbler and the rusty blackbird has been protected.

The Nova Scotia Nature Trust said at an announcement in Halifax on Wednesday evening that the 120 hectares of lakes, wetlands and coastal barrens on the Pennant River near Sambro was donated anonymously.

“We were exceptionally lucky,” said Bonnie Sutherland, the Nova Scotia Nature Trust executive director.“These landowners took it upon themselves to approach us, they said we have some place really, really special that we'd like to see protected and they offered those lands to us.”

The area adjoins the protected Terence Bay Wilderness Area, located about 30 minutes from downtown Halifax.

The nature trust says the waterways are an important migratory corridor for fish, as well as birds and other wildlife that use it as an essential travel route.

The mossy forests and wetlands also provide important habitat for several species of birds, including the threatened olive-sided flycatcher, the threatened Canada warbler and the rusty blackbird, designated a special concern on Canada's endangered species list.

And every spring, blue herons gather by the dozens at the river mouth to feed on the migrating gaspereau.

With files from The Canadian Press.