Grand Manan Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Grand Manan Island
Photo: © C. MacKinnon, 2014. Grand Manan Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary: landscape and signage.

Grand Manan Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) is situated on the southeast coast of Grand Manan Island between the communities of Grand Harbor and Seal Cove in Charlotte County, New Brunswick. The sanctuary adjoins “The Anchorage,” a provincial park and campground. Two large freshwater ponds (Long Pond and Great Pond) dominate the site. These “barrier-beach ponds” are separated from the sea by a wide sand-gravel beach backed by dunes that are stabilized with beach grass. Little aquatic growth occurs within the ponds; however, a small marshy area occurs at the outlet of Great Pond. Tidal waters do not enter the ponds, and thus freshwater conditions prevail here. The high tidal range (6-8 m) exposes extensive sand/gravel flats and rockweed-covered reefs adjacent to the beach. Surrounding the ponds to the northwest is a low shrubby bog-heath gradually merging to a low spruce forest.

Importance of the Migratory Bird Sanctuary

The Long Pond-Great Pond complex is a good example of a coastal barrier-beach pond formation and is the best example of this type of ecosystem on Grand Manan.

The sanctuary serves as an important migration and wintering area for a variety of waterfowl. The American Black Duck is the most common dabbling duck, with as many as 750 birds recorded-although usually only around 150 to 250 birds winter at the site. The MBS is particularly important as a protected area to a small number of Bufflehead, while many bird watchers consider the Sanderling as one of the area's iconic species. A few Canada Geese, Ring-necked Duck, Northern Pintail and American Wigeon frequent the MBS during early fall and in spring, while large numbers of Common Eider and Brant use the area along the beach. Occasional broods of American Black Duck, Green-winged Teal, Ring-necked Duck and American Wigeon have been observed on the ponds during early summer. Great Black-backed Gulls and Herring Gulls frequent the ponds throughout the year.

The sanctuary continues to serve as a migration and wintering area for a broad diversity of waterfowl. Although numbers of any individual species are relatively small, the area is an important refuge within the greater Grand Manan archipelago.

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 Grand Manan Island 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 (Province of New Brunswick via Anchorage Provincial Park and private landowners) 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 of Grand Manan Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Long description for the Map

Map showing the location of the Grand Manan Migratory Bird Sanctuary in relation to New Brunswick, Grand Manan Island and Long Pond Bay. The map shows the boundaries of the sanctuary, which overlaps part of Gran Manan Island as well as part of Long Pond Bay. 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. Grand Manan Island 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 Grand Manan Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Category Information
Protected Area designation Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Province or territory New Brunswick
Latitude/longitude 44°40' N, 66°48' W
Size in hectares (ha) 433 ha
Date created (Gazetted) 1931
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) management category N/A
Additional designations
Main habitat type Spruce forest (50%), open water (16%), bog heath (15%), intertidal reefs and flats (7%), beach and dunes (6%), marsh (6%)
Key bird species Bufflehead, Sanderling, Common Eider, Brant, Canada Goose, Ring-necked Duck, Northern Pintail, American Black Duck, Green-winged Teal, American Wigeon, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull and Black-crowned Night-Heron
Listed species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) None
Management agency Canadian Wildlife Service, Atlantic Region
Landowners Province of New Brunswick and private landowners

Contact Information

Environment and Climate Change Canada - Atlantic Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
Protected Areas Program
17 Waterfowl Lane
Sackville NB E4L 1G6
Toll Free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)
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