Duncairn Reservoir Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Photo of Mallard female
Photo: © Environment and Climate Change Canada. Mallard female.

Duncairn Reservoir Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) is situated 32 km southwest of Swift Current, Saskatchewan. Duncairn Reservoir, also known as Reid Lake, is an impoundment formed by a Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration dam on the Swift Current Creek. The MBS was one of five sanctuaries established in 1948 to replace five other sanctuaries that had become unsuitable as a protected migratory bird area because of drought conditions.

Located in the semi-arid Mixed-Grass ecoregion of Saskatchewan, the Y-shaped reservoir is relatively deep and capable of maintaining favourable water levels except during periods of extreme drought. There are no islands in the reservoir. For the most part, the banks of the reservoir are high and steep. Vegetation on the banks consists of native grassland and shrubland. Mud flats of variable width between the banks and the water have scattered clumps of willows, sedges and a variety of other wet meadow species. Emergent aquatic vegetation is lacking because of the steep shoreline and extensive wave action; however, isolated beds of pondweeds are present. Surrounding uplands outside the boundaries of the MBS are a mix of native grasslands grazed by livestock, irrigated and dryland crop production, and two resort communities that have developed along the shorelines. Sixteen public roads provide access to points along or across the MBS.

Importance of the Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Duncairn Reservoir MBS is an important fall staging area for ducks (mainly Mallards), geese and Tundra Swans in the drought-prone, semi-arid region. Inadequate riparian habitat limits the value of this reservoir as a breeding and moulting area for waterfowl, and the lack of islands means that the reservoir is not used as a breeding site for colonial nesting water birds.

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 Duncairn Reservoir MBS is at the discretion of the many private landowners adjacent to the reservoir, or via the many provincial and municipal road access points. There are limited municipal road access points. 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.

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 Duncairn Reservoir Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Long description of the map

Map showing the location of Duncairn Reservoir Migratory Bird Sanctuary relative to Saskatchewan, Duncairn, Simmie and Reid Lake. The map shows the boundaries of the sanctuary, which covers Reid Lake and a small amount of surrounding land. The scale of the map is in kilometers.

This map is for illustrative purposes only and should not be used to define legal boundaries. Duncairn Reservoir 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 Duncairn Reservoir Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Category Information
Protected Area designation Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Province or territory Saskatchewan
Latitude/longitude 50°02' N, 108°06' W
Size in hectares (ha) 1615 ha
Date created (Gazetted) 1948
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Management Category V - Protected Landscape/Seascape
Additional designations None
Main habitat type Open water and mud flats (100%)
Key bird species Mallard, Tundra Swan, geese
Other species Birds: American White Pelican, terns, Great Blue Heron, Killdeer, Spotted Sandpiper, Willet, Wilson's Phalarope, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Baird's Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Sanderling, American Avocet
Listed species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) None
Management agency Canadian Wildlife Service, Prairie and Northern Region
Landowner Province of Saskatchewan

Contact Information

Environment and Climate Change Canada - Prairie and Northern Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
Protected Areas and Stewardship
115 Perimeter Road
Saskatoon, SK S7N 0X4
Toll Free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)
Email: ec.enviroinfo.ec@canada.ca
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