Indian Head migratory bird sanctuary

Photo of Mallard female
Photo: © Canada Goose.

Indian Head Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) lies 2 km south of Indian Head, Saskatchewan. It covers part of the former Agriculture Canada Experimental Farm and Tree Nursery, which lies in the Mixed Grassland ecoregion of Saskatchewan. The Tree Nursery at the Indian Head Experimental Farm, established in 1902 by the federal Department of the Interior, was given bird sanctuary status on May 5, 1924.

Within the Tree Nursery are three wetlands created by dams on Indian Head Creek. The impounded water from the reservoirs is used for irrigating trees and shrubs grown at the Tree Nursery. Only two of the reservoirs are in the sanctuary. The moderately steep shorelines are vegetated largely by aspen, maple and willow. A small band of mud flat and wet meadow occurs at the edge of the water. Very little emergent vegetation exists. Submergent aquatics consist of pondweed and water crowfoot. One small human-made island is found in the second wetland.

Most of the upland portion of the sanctuary is cultivated land for growing trees and shrubs. Surrounding lands are under cultivation. One public road provides access to the sanctuary.

Importance of the Migratory Bird Sanctuary

The original intent of the MBS was to eliminate indiscriminate shooting of migratory birds and to establish a sanctuary on federally owned land. A few migratory birds such as shorebirds and passerine species (songbirds) use the site. Waterfowl such as Canada Geese use the sanctuary, but numbers of birds are minimal because of habitat limitations and frequent human disturbance.

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 the MBS is at the discretion of the landowners. 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 Indian Head Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Long description for the Map

Map showing the location of Indian Head Migratory Bird Sanctuary relative to Saskatchewan and Indian Head. The map shows the borders of the sanctuary, which covers a portion of water and 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. Indian Head 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 Indian Head Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Category Information
Protected Area designation Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Province or territory Saskatchewan
Latitude/longitude 50°30' N, 103°42' W
Size in hectares (ha) 32 ha
Date created (Gazetted) 1924
International Union for Conservation of Nature
(IUCN) Management Category
Additional designations None
Main habitat type Wetland (8%), tree nursery (92%)
Key bird species Canada Goose
Listed species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) None
Management agency Canadian Wildlife Service, Prairie and Northern Region
Landowners Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and private

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)
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