Baie de Brador Migratory Bird Sanctuary

The Baie de Brador Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) is located near Blanc-Sablon, in Québec. It preserves an important habitat for many seabirds to nest.

Importance of the sanctuary: migratory birds and other wildlife

The Baie de Brador Migratory Bird Sanctuary, located in the northeastern part of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, near the town of Blanc-Sablon, was established in 1925 to protect a major seabird nesting site.

Six major species of seabirds flock to the sanctuary’s two islands during the nesting season. One of these species is the Atlantic puffin and Quebec’s largest colony of these birds is found within this sanctuary. This colony has suffered significant declines from 62 000 birds counted in 1935 to a population estimated between 15 000 and 20 000 individual since 1999. Despite this population decrease, this colony is still considered to be an important one as the sanctuary still supports nearly three quarter of Quebec's Atlantic puffin population.

Atlantic Puffin
Atlantic puffin

The second most populous species in the sanctuary is the razorbill. These birds suffered a substantial reduction in number in the 1970s and 1980s, however their numbers have rebounded dramatically in recent decades. In 2015 it was estimated that there were 9300 razorbills in the sanctuary. Common murres are also found within the Baie de Brador sanctuary. Despite having disappeared from this site between 1965 and 1999, 14 birds made a tentative reappearance in 1999 and this population continued to grow over the following years. By 2015, the number of common murres had increased to 2170 individuals.

Did you know?

Unlike most birds, common murres don’t build nests. Instead, the female lays her eggs on the bare rock or soil of steep cliffs. These eggs don’t have the classic “egg shape”, instead they are shaped more like a pear. This keeps the eggs from rolling off the cliff’s edge when disturbed.

Other species of birds are found in smaller numbers in this protected area; varying from several individuals to several hundred depending on the species and time of year. These include black guillemot, great black-backed gull and herring gull. Several other species have been known to nest in this area, such as black-legged kittiwake, common eider and terns, however these species only make very occasional appearances. Canada's endangered short-eared owl is also periodically seen within the sanctuary.


The Baie de Brador Migratory Bird Sanctuary covers 567 hectares including two islands, Île aux Perroquets and Île Greenly, as well as the waters within 500 metres surrounding each of the islands. Both of these islands are mostly flat, only 15 to 19 metres in elevation and characterized by rocky outcrops with low-lying vegetation. Île aux Perroquets is located northwest of Lourdes-de-Blanc-Sablon in Anse des Dunes, while Île Greenly is situated further offshore, approximately three kilometres southwest of the town.

Île Greenly within Baie de Brador Migratory Bird Sanctuary. Photo: Jean-François Rail

The key habitats to be found on these two islands are rocky outcrops and sand deposits as well as grasses and rare shrubs.

Map of the area

Map of Baie de Brador MBS
  • Long description

    Map showing the location of the Brador Bay Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) in relation to Québec, Ile aux Perroquets, Ile Greenly, Ile-au-Bois, Lourdes-de-Blanc-Sablon, Blanc-Sablon, and the Saint-Lawrence Golfe. The map shows the boudaries of the refuge, which enclose Ile aux Perroquets and Ile Greenly and a part of the waters surrounding each islands. The MBS is located south of highway 138. The scale of the map is in kilometers. Permanent waters, intertidale zones, roads and highways are shown on the map. An inset shows the location of the shelter in Canada.

Access to the sanctuary

Migratory Bird Sanctuaries, such as Baie de Brador, are established across the country to protect migratory birds during critical periods of their migration. Whether these areas are used for feeding, resting or nesting, they play an important role in the survival of many species. 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. It is also important to remember that pets are not welcome 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 Baie de Brador Migratory Bird Sanctuary in particular, please contact our regional office.

Key facts about Baie de Brador Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Protected Area designation Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Province or territory Quebec
Latitude/longitude 51° 22'; 45" N 57° 11' 23" W and 51° 25' 46" N 57° 14' 05" W
Size 575 hectares
Date created (Gazetted) 1925
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Management Category Strict Nature Reserve (Ia)
Additional designations Baie de Brador Important Bird Area
Main habitat type Rocky outcrops, marine, grass
Key bird species Atlantic puffin and razorbill
Other species Birds: Common murre, black guillemot, great black-backed gull, and herring gull.
Listed species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) Short-eared owl
Management agency Canadian Wildlife Service, Quebec Region

Related links

Baie de Brador Migratory Bird Sanctuary on Google Maps (Please note that the Google map is a complementary source of information and does not represent the official map or site name)

Contact information

Environment and Climate Change Canada – Quebec Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
Protected Areas Unit
801-1550, avenue d'Estimauville
Québec, Quebec G1J 0C3

Toll Free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)

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