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The Best Places to Birdwatch Across the Country

Birders rejoice as feathered creatures take flight at these popular destinations

A close up of three seabirds called gannets with white features and grey eyes and beaks, perched on a rocky hill with bits of brown grass and rocks. There is dark blue water in the background.

When it comes to prime birdwatching, Canada is hard to beat. Our diverse landscapes, unique microclimates and protected migration routes all add up to exceptional spots to observe our fine-feathered friends.

At these five wildlife reserves, casual observers and experts come together to observe beautiful winged creatures in their natural habitats.

George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Delta, B.C.

A person wearing a dark green coat with a large crest on their arm with trees in different shades of green, is standing in a grassy field. The person, who has a ponytail, is holding a pair of binoculars and looking off at the rolling hillside in the distance with trees of all shapes and colours.

At this 850-acre haven, tidal mudflats and salt marshes provide a resting place for the hundreds of species that stop here during their flight along the Pacific Ocean coast.

Birders can explore the protected wetlands along the Fraser River Estuary and climb the two-storey observation tower to catch a glimpse of visiting herons, loons, geese, hawks and songbirds.

Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park
Slave Lake, Alta.

Two people are standing next to each other in the woods. There is a man wearing a bright green coat with a grey collar over the coat. He is holding a Canon SLR camera with a very wide lens. Next to him is a woman with white-blonde hair wearing a sky blue coat. She is holding a pair of binoculars and looking off into the distance.

Thanks to its dense old growth forest and prime location along a major migratory path, this provincial park in northern Alberta attracts many types of boreal birds. Bald eagles, osprey, pelicans, warblers and several owl species are regularly reported.

An on-site conservation centre, which hosts the annual Songbird Festival and provides information on the park’s 254 bird species, is open to the public in the summer.

Tommy Thompson Park
Toronto, Ont.

There are about a dozen people standing on a grassy edge, with some rocks a few feet below them right at the shoreline. There is a young, school-aged boy wearing a red cap. In the centre is a man wearing a light orange T-shirt, beige shorts and a baseball cap. He has a pair of binoculars on a strap around his neck. Adjacent to him is a man wearing a long, beige, button-up shirt with dark pants and knee-high rubber boots. He has on a beige cap and has a large pair of binoculars around his neck. He is pointing off at something in the distance to a person standing next to him, clad from head to toe in beige, including a beige fedora.

When it comes to urban birdwatching in Canada, it doesn’t get much better than this unique downtown spot.

More than 300 species have been spotted on this man-made peninsula in the city’s east end, which acts as an important refuge for sparrows, warblers, kinglets and waterbirds as they fly over Lake Ontario.

Large colonies of ring-billed gulls, double-crested cormorants and black-crowned night herons are best viewed along the shoreline from a boat in the harbour.

Bic National Park
Rimouski, Que.

A woman wearing a long-sleeved grey and blue fleece coat is holding a medium-sized bird in her arms. She has the bird’s head nearly up to her face. Opposite of her, a man wearing a grey windbreaker is holding out a cellphone, taking a photo of the woman and the bird. Next to the man is another man, wearing a grey coat, black baseball cap and black backpack.

From March to June, thousands of fowl can be seen flying over a narrow corridor along the St. Lawrence Estuary.

Sixteen species, including northern goshawks, peregrine falcons, golden eagles, common eiders and the American kestrel, are often spotted nesting, foraging and mating in the park’s various bays and coves.

Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve
Saint Bride's, Nfld.

A close up of seabirds called gannets, perched on rocks. Some are just sitting, others are looking up at the sky. There is dark blue water in the background.

The southwestern Avalon peninsula is home to one of the largest and most accessible seabird hot spots in North America.

Adventurous birders flock to these dramatic cliffs during mating season to witness a massive gathering of 30,000 northern sea gannets perched on Bird Rock.

Experts can also spy thick-billed murres, double-crested cormorants and black-legged kittiwakes perching, diving and scrambling along the rugged rocks. Or look for the elusive willow ptarmigan and horned larks found on nearby land.

Book your next trip

To visit one of these birdwatching destinations, go to caasco.com/travel to start planning. You can also learn more about CAA Travel Insurance to ensure you're protected while away.

Image credit: Barrett & MacKay Photo, Northern BC Tourism/Christ Gale, Travel Alberta/Roam Creative, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), Zachary Rose