A sure sign of spring is the return of Canada’s many bird species, from the shores of Lake Ontario to the coast of Nova Scotia. While birding can be great in every season, yearly migration patterns make spring an extra special time to take part in the activity; some places on this list even have festivals dedicated to it! From coast to coast, here are some of the top spots to see the spring bird migration.
Point Pelee National Park, Leamington, Ont.
No article about birding would be complete without mentioning Point Pelee National Park, one of the most popular and revered birding destinations in Canada. Every spring, the park hosts the Festival of Birds in honour of the migration; it’s a definite bucket-list item for birders everywhere.
Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, Calgary, Alta.
One of the great things about birding is that you often don’t have to travel far. This sanctuary, nestled near one of Calgary’s charming downtown neighbourhoods, makes for an easy visit and is home to many species making their way back for the spring.
Fundy National Park, Alma, N.B.
The Fundy area is a key stop along what’s known as the Atlantic migration route. The park can see up to 260 bird species throughout the year, including woodpeckers, warblers, and great blue herons. Even if birding is your main draw, there’s a lot more to do in this beautiful national park to make your visit worthwhile.
Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve, Havre-Saint-Pierre, Que.
Those willing to make the trek to this Reserve may have the chance to witness the nesting of Atlantic Puffins, herring gulls, Arctic terns, and other unique bird species. It may take some extra planning to get here, but the rugged beauty Mingan has to offer is definitely worth it.
Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, Gulf Islands, B.C.
Another remote–but worth it–spot for avid birders and adventurers is this Reserve off the coast of British Columbia, where rare species like the peregrine falcon have been spotted. The Gulf Islands are not quite as busy as other destinations in B.C., offering a unique and peaceful place to view the spring migration.
Gaspesie Region, Que.
This popular tourism region in Quebec is home to some of the most stunning landscapes in the province and offers many options for bird watching. Various recommended routes include Gaspesie and Forillon National Parks; the latter recently established a banding station to help track and monitor its bird species.
Grasslands National Park, Sask.
This expansive park in the Saskatchewan prairie has both common and rare bird species for this region, including the endangered burrowing owl. Grasslands Park has lots to offer, including a herd of bison that can be spotted throughout and spectacular stargazing come nighttime.
Rondeau Provincial Park, Morpeth, Ont.
This park tends to fly under the radar, but when it comes to birding, it’s up there with Point Pelee as a go-to destination. More than 300 species have been recorded here, including the endangered prothonotary warbler. Trek along the sandy shores to spot the birds flying back home for the season.
Pinery Provincial Park, Grand Bend, Ont.
Located near the popular destination of Grand Bend, Pinery Provincial Park is known to be a favourite spot for trumpeter swans, making for a unique, graceful sight if you’re out for a birding trip.