Grand Manan Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary

The Grand Manan Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) is located near Seal Cove, New Brunswick. It is home to many waterfowl, such as the black duck.

Importance of the sanctuary: migratory birds and other wildlife

The Grand Manan Migratory Bird Sanctuary is located on the southeastern coast of Grand Manan Island, between the communities of Grand Harbor and Seal Cove in Charlotte County, New Brunswick. The sanctuary, which is connected to The Anchorage Provincial Park and campground, is known to be an important migration and wintering area for a variety of waterfowl. The most common of these is the American black duck. As many as 750 birds of this species have been recorded on-site at once and there are generally 150 to 250 individuals that winter in the sanctuary. While many bird watchers would consider the sanderling to be the iconic species of the area, this site is particularly important as a protected area for a small number of bufflehead.

Throughout the spring months as well as during early fall, small numbers of Canada geese, ring-necked duck, northern pintail and American wigeon frequent this migratory bird sanctuary. During the same timespan, large numbers of common eider and brant make use of the area along the beach. Occasional broods of American black duck, green-winged teal, ring-necked duck and American wigeon have also been observed on the ponds during early summer, while great black-backed gulls and herring gulls are known to frequent the ponds throughout the year.

American Black Duck
American black duck. Photo: © C. MacKinnon

While the numbers of any individual species found within the sanctuary are relatively small, this sanctuary serves as an important refuge for migrating and wintering waterfowl within the greater Grand Manan archipelago.


Two large, freshwater ponds, known as Long Pond and Great Pond, are the main features within this migratory bird sanctuary. The Long Pond–Great Pond complex is a good example of a coastal barrier-beach pond formation, in which an expanse of beach protects the ponds from the harsh waves of the nearby ocean. In this case, the protective beach is a wide sand-gravel beach backed by dunes that are stabilized with beach grass. This complex is the best example of this type of ecosystem on Grand Manan. While little aquatic growth occurs within these two ponds, there is a small marshy area near the outlet of Great Pond.

The high tidal range in this area (6 to 8 meters) exposes large sand-gravel flats as well as rockweed-covered reefs adjacent to the beach. The area surrounding the ponds to the northwest is a low shrubby bog-heath that gradually transitions into a low spruce forest.

Sign in field
Grand Manan Migratory Bird Sanctuary. Photo: © C. MacKinnon

Map of the area

Map of Grand Manan Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Did you know?

The common eider is the largest duck in the northern hemisphere.  Female common eiders exhibit a high degree of philopatry, a behavior wherein these females return to their place of birth to breed.

Planning your visit

The Grand Manan Migratory Bird Sanctuary is adjacent to The Anchorage Provincial Park where you will find many exciting activities including camping, hiking, cycling, whale watching and more.

Migratory Bird Sanctuaries, such as Grand Manan, 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 Grand Manan Migratory Bird Sanctuary in particular, please contact our regional office.

Key facts about Grand Manan Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Protected Area designation Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Province or territory New Brunswick
Latitude/longitude 44°40' N, 66°48' W
Size 250 hectares
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%) and 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

Related links

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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