Amherst Point Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Importance of the Migratory Bird Sanctuary | Access and Activities | Map of the Area | Summary Table | Contact Information

Amherst Point Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Photo: © Environment and Climate Change Canada. Amherst Point Migratory Bird Sanctuary: landscape.

Amherst Point Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) lies five km southwest of Amherst at the head of the Bay of Fundy. It was established in 1947 with the agreement of the landowners. However, to afford permanent habitat protection, the land was later acquired by the Canadian Wildlife Service (1973–1974) and designated as a component of the Chignecto National Wildlife Area. The landscape is a mosaic of ponds, marshes, forests and old farm fields. Past geological events are responsible for the conical depressions called "sinkholes" that occur in the gypsum deposits underlying the area. The ponds that have formed in many of the sinkholes are consequently rich in minerals.

Importance of the Migratory Bird Sanctuary

The wetlands at Amherst Point MBS are among the most productive in the province of Nova Scotia, as a wide variety of aquatic avifauna use the site during spring, summer and fall. More than 200 species of birds that have been observed at Amherst Point MBS are found there regularly. The diversity and richness of its habitats and the strategic location of the sanctuary on a much-used migration route account for its unusual attractiveness and importance to birds. Waterfowl and other marshbirds are particularly abundant and include most species commonly found in the Atlantic provinces. American Black Duck, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Blue-winged Teal, American Wigeon, Northern Shoveler, Ring-necked Duck, Pied-billed Grebe, American Bittern and Sora nest in the sanctuary.

The sanctuary's wildlife values are most strikingly exemplified by the occurrence of various unusual waterfowl and marshbirds. Gadwall, Virginia Rail, Common Gallinule, American Coot and Black Tern have all nested there regularly in the past few years. Stray European waterfowl and several southern waders have also appeared. Many of these species have also been reported at other locations in the Atlantic provinces; however, the sanctuary hosts an unusually large number of species of limited occurrence and distribution in the region. The sanctuary also provides habitat for an impressive variety of hawks, owls and songbirds. Because of its location, the sanctuary attracts large numbers of migrants, and many of the region's early spring arrivals first appear at Amherst Point. The diverse landscape also provides nesting habitat for many of those species as well as a few that remain all year.

Access and Activities

MBSs are established for the protection and conservation of migratory birds. Activities that could harm migratory birds, their nests or their eggs are prohibited.

MBSs can be and have been established on private, provincial, territorial and federally owned lands. Access to each MBS varies by site and is at the discretion of the landowner and land manager.

Where MBSs are located on federal land, Environment and Climate Change Canada is responsible for the management and protection of migratory birds, nests, eggs and habitat. Where MBSs are located on provincial land, Environment and Climate Change Canada is responsible for the protection of migratory birds and their nests, while the chief game officer of the province is responsible for the management of habitat. Where MBSs are located on private or municipal land, Environment and Climate Change Canada is responsible for the protection of migratory birds and their nests. Habitat management is the responsibility of the landowner.

Public access to Amherst Point MBS is not restricted. Trails are maintained to facilitate public use. The standard prohibitions under the Migratory Bird Sanctuary Regulations apply to this site: hunting migratory birds is prohibited, and no person shall disturb, destroy or take the nest of a migratory bird or have in his or her possession a live migratory bird, or a carcass, skin, nest or egg of a migratory bird, except under the authority of a permit issued by Environment and Climate Change Canada or unless authorized by the Regulations. Possession of firearms or other hunting appliances is prohibited. Dogs and cats must not be allowed to run at large. The site is also protected as a National Wildlife Area and is administered under the Wildlife Area Regulations of the Canada Wildlife Act.

For more information on entry, activities and permits in MBSs, please visit the Management and Activities section of the Migratory Bird Sanctuaries website. For more information on Environment and Climate Change Canada's protected areas, please contact the regional office.

For greater certainty, nothing in this document shall be construed so as to abrogate or derogate from the protection provided for existing Aboriginal or treaty rights of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada by the recognition and affirmation of those rights in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.

Map of the Area

Long description for the Map

Map showing the location of Amherst Point Migratory Bird Sanctuary in relation to Nova Scotia, Amherst, Amherst point, the Maccan River, the Cumberland Basin as well as the John Lusby Marsh National Wildlife Area and the Chignecto National Wildlife Area. The map shows the boundaries of the sanctuary, which overlaps the majority of the Chignecto National Wildlife Area. The scale of the map is in tenths of a kilometer.

This map is for illustrative purposes only and should not be used to define legal boundaries. Amherst Point MBS can also be viewed using Google Maps. Please note that the Google map is a complementary source of information and does not represent the official map or site name.

Summary Table

Summary Table for Île aux Canes Migratory Bird Sanctuary
CategoryInformation
Protected Area designationMigratory Bird Sanctuary
Province or territoryNova Scotia
Latitude/longitude45°48' N, 64°16' W
Size in hectares (ha)433 ha
Date created (Gazetted)1947
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Management CategoryIV - Habitat/Species Management Area
Additional designations
Main habitat typeCattail marsh and bog (27%), controlled water-level impoundments (33%), open water (6%), mixed forest (24%), open upland fields (10%)
Key bird speciesAmerican Black Duck, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Blue‑winged Teal, American Wigeon, Northern Shoveler, Ring-necked Duck, Pied-billed Grebe, American Bittern, Sora, Gadwall, Virginia Rail, Common Gallinule, American Coot and Black Tern
Other speciesPlants: Rich plant diversity associated with the underlying gypsum deposits
Listed species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA)None
Management agencyCanadian Wildlife Service, Atlantic Region
LandownersCanadian Wildlife Service and private

Contact Information

Environment and Climate Change Canada - Atlantic Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
Protected Areas Program
17 Waterfowl Lane
Sackville NB E4L 1G6
Toll Free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)
Email: ec.enviroinfo.ec@canada.ca
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