Beckett Creek Migratory Bird Sanctuary

The Beckett Creek Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) is located northeast of Ottawa, Ontario. It hosts many ducks and valley-birds.

Importance of the sanctuary: migratory birds and other wildlife

Beckett Creek Migratory Bird Sanctuary, located on the south bank of the Ottawa River, Ontario, was established not only to aid in the protection of migratory birds, but also to protect a hotspot for migratory bird research and education. In this capacity, the sanctuary is currently managed by the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board as the MacSkimming Outdoor Education Centre for elementary and secondary school students.

The sanctuary supports bird populations that are representative of the Ottawa Valley including dabbling ducks (ducks that feed near the surface of the water) such as the blue-winged teal that nests in the wetlands near the river as well as other birds like great blue heron, belted kingfisher and northern harrier that are common visitors to this area. The artificial pond in the sanctuary is particularly popular in the fall and waterfowl tend to gather in it at dusk. The lands within Beckett Creek Migratory Bird Sanctuary are host to a community of songbirds (passerines) typical of the area, which nest in both a sugar maple grove and in the white pines within the sanctuary.

Male blue-winged Teal
Male blue-winged teal

Did you know?

The MacSkimming Outdoor Education Centre hosts, on average, 19 000 students each year. This outdoor education program focuses on helping its students explore, experience, appreciate and learn about natural science and outdoor activities in an outdoor setting.


Approximately 16 hectares of the sanctuary includes the Ottawa River and its adjoining wetland. Becketts' Creek itself runs into the Ottawa River at the western waterfront boundary of the sanctuary. The creek carries a high sediment load and this suspended material is deposited at both the mouth of the creek and along the low offshore islands to the east.

The predominant soil type of the wetland part is heavy marine clay which has limitations for agricultural use due to poor drainage. A variety of emergent, submergent and floating plants form the aquatic vegetation component. Southward, along Beckett Creek, a river terrace supports a grove of mixed deciduous trees, including silver maple, American elm, basswood, red ash and white pine. Beyond the grove, farm buildings are surrounded by fields and meadows used for grazing.

Beckett Creek Migratory Bird Sanctuary: landscape

A man-made pond was also created in farm area to accommodate tame waterfowl. Between the farmland and a well-traveled road (major highway) that forms the southern barrier of the sanctuary, is a forest that is primarily composed of sugar maple, with some striped maple, yellow birch and white pine as well.

Map of the area

Map of Becketts Creek Migratory Bird Sanctuary
  • Long description

    Map showing the location of the Beckett Creek Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) in relation to Ontario, Quebec, Beckett Creek and the Ottawa River. The map shows the boundaries of the refuge, which covers a small portion of the Ottawa River and extends into the interior of Ontario's coastline, on both sides of Highway 174. Map scale is in kilometers. Permanent waters, roads and highways are shown on the map. An inset on the map shows the location of the shelter in Canada.  

Access to the sanctuary

Migratory Bird Sanctuaries, such as Beckett Creek, are established across the country to protect migratory birds during critical periods of their life cycle. Whether these areas are used for feeding, resting or nesting, they play an important role in the survival of many species. Access to each migratory bird sanctuary varies by site and is at the discretion of the landowner and land manager. Please ensure that you are aware of how you can help protect this sanctuary and please read the restrictions, including those on firearms and hunting, which are in place to conserve the wildlife that call it home. Dogs and cats must not be allowed to run at large inside Migratory Bird Sanctuaries.

If you would like further information on what is permitted in Migratory Bird Sanctuaries, please visit the Management and Activities section of the website. For more information on the Beckett Creek Migratory Bird Sanctuary in particular, please contact our regional office.

Key facts about the Beckett Creek Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Protected Area designation Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Province or territory Ontario
Latitude/longitude 45°31' N, 75°21' W
Size 103 hectares
Date created (Gazetted) 1969
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) management category National Park
Additional designations None
Main habitat type Wetland, crop and hay land, upland forest (sugar maple and white pine)
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

Related links

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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