Where to Go Birding in Canada

A yellow warbler perched on a tree with flower blossoms
   Photo: Parcs Canada / Jim Flynn

Leamington, Ontario

Point Pelee National Park

This 15–square–kilometre stretch of national park is one of the best spots in the world for diversity of species. It’s known for its spring and fall songbird migrations, and between August and October the monarch butterfly migration path can bring as many as 10,000 butterflies through the park every day.

Birds to look for: Pelee is the warbler capital of Canada, so look out for golden–winged, orange–crowned and black–throated blue warblers, among others. Fall is also when more than 100,000 raptors migrate through the region, including peregrine falcons, bald eagles and osprey.

October 24, 2019
Two flickers facing each other on a tree branch
   Photo: Wings of Vancouver

Delta, B.C.

George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary

From rufous hummingbirds feeding on flowers to nesting sandhill cranes, this 850–acre stretch of protected wetlands and marshes is an ornithological paradise that offers refuge to millions of migrating birds every year.

Birds to look for: Every October, an 85,000–strong skein of lesser snow geese flies more than 5,000 km from Russia to settle here for the winter.

A bird soaring above a red and white lighthouse
   Photo: @ainsliesabean

Digby, Nova Scotia

Brier Island

From its perch on the Atlantic Flyway migratory route, this island in the Bay of Fundy is a prime spot on the east coast for seabird, shorebird and waterfowl sightings.

Birds to look for: Common sightings include red–necked phalaropes, starlings and hawks. Rare birds like the Baird’s sandpiper and the south polar skua have also been known to make appearances here.

A black and white bird makes a reflection of itself in the water
   Photo: Stephen Shikaze

High River, Alberta

Frank Lake

This park, a protected wetland maintained by Ducks Unlimited, is a 45–minute drive south of Calgary that offers some of the best birding in the southern Prairies. An observation blind—or hut—that shields birders from view of the waterfowl they have come to see sits out on the water, providing an especially good vantage point to take in birds that won’t get frightened and swim away.

Birds to look for: Thousands of Franklin’s gulls and migrating tundra swans nest here. Rarer sightings have included the Baird’s sparrow and white–faced ibis.