Haley Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Haley Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Photo: © Environment and Climate Change Canada. Haley Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary: landscape.

Established in 1980, Haley Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) is located in Shelburne County, approximately midway between Port Hebert Harbour and the Sable River estuary. Typical of most lakes of the granite-based southern uplands of Nova Scotia, Haley Lake is shallow and rocky. Several prominent rock outcroppings surrounded by gravel bars lie within the 95-ha lake. Its waters and substrate of low nutrient content are incapable of supporting more than scattered plant life. Its shores of large granite boulders are encroached upon by thick shrub growths of sweet gale and speckled alder, and to the east and west of the lake, the land rises abruptly and encloses the lake with prominent woodland ridges.

Importance of the Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Haley Lake MBS supports concentrated numbers of American Black Duck and Canada Geese during the fall migration, providing a loafing and preening area. During the early fall period, Canada Geese and American Black Duck fly into Haley Lake from the surrounding saltwater harbours and estuaries. The principal flight times into the lake are during rising tides, when feeding sites in the harbour become inundated. Waterfowl spend most of their time preening and resting on the rock ledges in the lake and on the granite boulders along the shores.

The lake also affords the waterfowl fresh water and gravel. Haley Lake has for a number of years been one of the principal freshwater lakes in the area to be frequented by fall flights of Canada Geese and American Black Ducks. Records indicate that at any one time, up to 1000 birds may be present, depending on the tide and weather conditions. A small colony of Great Blue Herons nests on two of the rocky ledges within the lake. The colony has been in existence since at least 1944 and is the only known instance of ground-nesting herons in the Maritimes.

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 Haley Lake 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 landowner (Province of Nova Scotia) 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 showing the Haley Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Long description of the map

Map showing the location of Haley Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary in relation to Nova Scotia, Timber Island Brook and Haley Lake. The map shows the boundaries of the sanctuary, which encompasses Haley lake and a tiny portion of surrounding land. 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. Haley Lake 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 Haley Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Category Information
Protected Area designation Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Province or territory Nova Scotia
Latitude/longitude 43°50' N, 65°00' W
Size in hectares (ha) 95 ha
Date created (Gazetted) 1980
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Management Category Ia - Strict Nature Reserve
Additional designations Part of Nova Scotia South Shore (Port Joli Sector) Important Bird Area
Main habitat type Open water (99.5%), rocky ledges (0.5%)
Key bird species American Black Duck, Canada Goose and Great Blue Heron
Listed species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) None
Management agency Canadian Wildlife Service, Atlantic Region
Landowner Province of Nova Scotia

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)
Email: ec.enviroinfo.ec@canada.ca
Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Privacy statement

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: