Beckett Creek Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Beckett Creek Migratory Bird Sanctuary: landscape
Photo: © Environment and Climate Change Canada. Beckett Creek Migratory Bird Sanctuary: landscape.

Beckett Creek Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) is located on the south bank of the Ottawa River. It is managed by the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board as the MacSkimming Outdoor Education Centre for elementary and secondary school students. Approximately 16 ha of the area is composed of the Ottawa River and its adjoining wetland. A major highway passes through the MBS, and a travelled road forms the southern boundary. Beckett Creek empties into the Ottawa River at the western boundary of the waterfront lot. The creek carries a relatively high sediment load, and this material becomes deposited to form bay bars at the mouth and low offshore islands to the east.

The predominant soil type of the wetland part is Bearbrook clay. A variety of emergent, submergent and floating plants form the aquatic vegetation component. Grasses, sedges and rushes grow close to the water, as do shorter and taller shrubs.

Southward along the creek is a river terrace supporting a grove of mixed deciduous trees, including silver maple, American elm, basswood, red ash and white pine. Beyond that, around the farm buildings are fields and meadows where domestic animals are kept. In the back of the farmhouse, a pond was dug to accommodate tame waterfowl. Following this area and extending to the travelled road is a forest, which is a sugar maple stand with associated species of striped maple, yellow birch and white pine.

Importance of the Migratory Bird Sanctuary

The MBS was established to facilitate the protection of the area for purposes of migratory bird research and education. Dabbling ducks, mainly Blue-winged Teals, nest in the MBS in the wetland area close to the river. Great Blue Herons, Belted Kingfishers and Northern Harriers are common visitors to this area. In the fall, waterfowl gather at dusk in the artificial pond on the property. In the upland area, a typical community of passerine birds nest in the Sugar Maple grove and in the White Pines. As such, the MBS is representative of the bird fauna of the Ottawa valley.

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.

The standard prohibitions under the Migratory Bird Sanctuary Regulations apply to Beckett Creek MBS: 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.

Access prohibitions or restrictions by the MBS landowners (Ottawa-Carleton District School Board and Hydro One) may also apply.

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

  • Map showing the Beckett Creek Migratory Bird Sanctuary boundaries
Long description for the Map

Map showing the location of Beckett Creek Migratory Bird Sanctuary relative to Ontario, Quebec, Becketts Creek and the Ottawa River. The map shows the boundaries of the sanctuary, which covers a portion of the Ottawa river and extends inland into Ontario. The scale of the map is in hundreds of meters.

This map is for illustrative purposes only and should not be used to define legal boundaries. Beckett Creek 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 Beckett Creek Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Category Information
Protected Area designation Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Province or territory Ontario
Latitude/longitude 45°31' N, 75°21' W
Size in hectares (ha) 184 ha
Date created (Gazetted) 1969
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) management category II - National Park
Additional designations None
Main habitat type Wetland (10%), crop and hay land (40%), upland forest (Sugar Maple and White Pine) (50%)
Key bird species Blue-winged Teal, Great Blue Heron, Belted Kingfisher, Northern Harrier and Canada Goose
Listed species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) None
Management agency Canadian Wildlife Service, Ontario Region
Landowners Ottawa-Carleton District School Board and Hydro One

Contact Information

Environment and Climate Change Canada - Ontario Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
Ecosystem Conservation
4905 Dufferin Street
Toronto ON M3H 5T4
Toll Free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)
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