Cap-Saint-Ignace Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Marsh habitat in the Cap-Saint-Ignace Migratory Bird Sanctuarypicture
Photo: Matthieu Allard © Environment and Climate Change Canada. Marsh habitat in the Cap-Saint-Ignace Migratory Bird Sanctuary.

The Cap-Saint-Ignace Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) is located in the middle estuary of the St. Lawrence, on the south shore of the river, near the town of Cap-Saint-Ignace. Its boundaries are defined by the high and low water lines, between the wharf and the east side of Cap Saint-Ignace. Thus, the tide has a major impact on shoreline movement and on land vegetation.

The site was established in 1986 to protect waterfowl. This 131 hectare protected area is characterised by its wetlands and brackish water. The sanctuary's habitat consists mainly of herbaceous meadows rich in American Bulrush. Other companion plants growing in the marsh include Wild Rice, Grassleaf Arrowhead, Erect Arrowhead, Northern Arrowhead, Water-parsnip, Common Boneset, Rice Cutgrass and Tufted Hairgrass (or Spike Rush sp.). The shrub layer, periodically covered by water, is dominated by Speckled Alder. Other features of the site include muddy sediments and rocky outcrops.

Importance of the Migratory Bird Sanctuary

The Cap-Saint-Ignace MBS is part of a stretch of coastline recognised as a waterfowl concentration area. Large numbers of Greater Snow Geese and a variety of ducks visit the site during migration. Over 2000 Greater Snow Geese and 300 dabbling ducks, including several American Black Ducks and numerous Green-winged and Blue-winged Teals have been observed during the fall season. The site also supports migrating shorebirds, such as Dunlin, and several Semipalmated Sandpipers. The nesting season welcomes breeding ducks, among them the American Black Duck, Northern Pintail and Mallard, to the site. Some passerines, like the Horned Lark and Savannah Sparrow have been recorded during nesting season. Several species at risk, including the Peregrine Falcon, have also been sighted during migration.

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 Cap-Saint-Ignace 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 specifically authorized by the Regulations. Possession of firearms or other hunting appliances is prohibited, and dogs and cats must not be allowed to run at large.

Access denial or restrictions imposed by the owners of land within the MBS 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 protected areas managed by Environment and Climate Change Canada in Quebec, 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 of Brador Bay Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Long description for the Map

Map showing the location of Cap-Saint-Ignace Migratory Bird Sanctuary relative to Quebec, Cap-Saint-Ignace and the St. Lawrence River. The map shows the boundaries of the sanctuary, which covers a portion of the waters off of the coast of Cap-Saint-Ignace. 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. Cap-Saint-Ignace Migratory Bird Sanctuary 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 Cap-Saint-Ignace Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Category Information
Protected Area designation Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Province or territory Quebec
Latitude/longitude 47° 02' 30" N 70° 28' 30" W
Size in hectares (ha) 131 ha
Date created (Gazetted) 1986
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) management category Ia - Strict Nature Reserve
Additional designations Cap-Saint-Ignace Important Bird Area
Main habitat type American Bulrush dominated herbaceous meadow
Key bird species Greater Snow Goose and Semipalmated Sandpiper.
Other species Birds: American Black Duck, Green-winged Teal, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Pintail and Mallard Plants: American Bulrush, Wild Rice, Grassleaf Arrowhead, Erect Arrowhead, Northern Arrowhead, Water-parsnip, Common Boneset, Rice Cutgrass, Tufted Hairgrass, Spike Rush sp. and Speckled Alder.
Listed species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) Peregrine Falcon
Management agency Canadian Wildlife Service, Quebec Region

Contact Information

Environment and Climate Change Canada - Quebec Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
Protected Areas Unit
801-1550, avenue d'Estimauville
9250 - 49th Street
Québec, Quebec G1J 0C3
Toll Free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)
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