L'Isle-Verte Migratory Bird Sanctuary

The L'isle-Verte Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) is located east from Rivière-du-Loup, in Québec. It is an important location for many migratory birds to rest.

Importance of the sanctuary: migratory birds and other wildlife

L'Isle-Verte Migratory Bird Sanctuary is located on the south shore of the St. Lawrence Estuary, near the municipality of L'Isle-Verte, east of Rivière-du-Loup. Established in 1986, this 376-hectare protected area, part of which is located in the heart of the Baie-de-L'Isle-Verte National Wildlife Area (NWA), was created to safeguard waterfowl during migration season. The diversity of habitats within this sanctuary attracts and supports an impressive array of birds year-round.

Greater snow geese, Canada geese and numerous ducks feed and rest within this site. During the spring migration, the most common species of ducks spotted here are:

  • northern pintail
  • mallard
  • gadwall
  • northern shoveler
  • green-winged teal
  • blue-winged teal
Mallard. Photo: Daniel Bordage

This protected area, along with the Baie de L'Isle-Verte National Wildlife Area and other neighboring habitats, is used by many species of birds for nesting and is one of the most important breeding sites for the American black duck. This species nests in the higher area of the marsh as well as along the edges of the scrubland, bodies of water and neighbouring peatland. Once hatched, the chicks and their parents spend much of their time in the marsh as the brackish ponds (water that is saltier than normal freshwater) are teeming with insects and this assortment of small bodies of water allows broods to remain separate from one another. Common eider crèches can also be observed in the sanctuary from June to August.

Did you know?

In some species of birds, including the common eider, young fledglings gather together into groups called crèches. This behaviour generally occurs in species that breed in large colonies and whose eggs all hatch around the same time. This behaviour is advantageous because being one in a crowd of youngsters means that each baby is less likely to be targeted by a predator.

Other birds, such as Nelson's sparrow and savannah sparrow also nest in this site and many others can be observed in the area during the nesting season including the short-eared owl (a species of concern), certain species of warblers, like the common yellowthroat, and several other species of sparrows, such as the white-throated sparrow and the song sparrow. Shorebirds also frequent the areas in and around the sanctuary including:

  • whimbrel
  • greater yellowlegs
  • black-bellied plover
  • spotted sandpiper
  • hudsonian godwit
  • Wilson’s snipe
  • pectoral sandpiper
  • least sandpiper
  • semipalmated sandpiper


L'Isle-Verte Migratory Bird Sanctuary encompasses a variety of habitats, including an alder grove and farmlands, but its predominant feature is an expansive salt-water cord grass marsh (salt-meadow grass) that is riddled with brackish ponds.

Tidal marsh. Photo: Christine Lepage

Map of the area

Map of L'Isle Verte MBS
  • Long description

    Map showing the location of the L'Isle-Verte Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) in relation to Québec, l'Isle-Verte, l'Ile Verte, rivière Verte and Saint-Lawrence River. The boundaries of the Refuge and the Baie-de-L'Isle-Verte National Wildlife Area (NWA) are shown. The terrestrial portion of the MBS overlaps a section of the NWA, but much of the sanctuary spreads in the nearby intertidal zone. The MBS is divided in zones, scattered on the shore. The protected areas are north to the highway 132. The scale is in kilometers. Permanent waters, intertidal waters, roads and highways are shown on the map. An inset shows the location of the shelter in Canada.

Access to the sanctuary

Migratory Bird Sanctuaries, such L'Isle-Verte, are established across the country to protect migratory birds during critical periods of their migration. Whether these areas are used for feeding, resting or nesting, they play an important role in the survival of many species. 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, that are in place to conserve the wildlife that call it home. It is also important to remember that pets are not welcome 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 L'Isle-Verte Migratory Bird Sanctuary in particular, please contact our regional office.

Key facts about L'Isle-Verte Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Protected Area designation Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Province or territory Quebec
Latitude/longitude 48° 01' N 69° 21' W
Size 376 hectares
Date created (Gazetted) 1986
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) management category Habitat/Species Management Area (IV)
Additional designations Overlaps with Baie de L'Isle-Verte National Wildlife Area
Marais de la baie de L'Isle-Verte Important Bird Area
Ramsar site
Main habitat type Diversity of habitats: estuarine waters, alder grove, tidal marsh of salt-meadow cordgrass, salt-meadow grass prairie
Key bird species American black duck, greater snow goose
Other species Birds: Canada goose, whimbrel, greater yellowlegs, black-bellied plover, spotted sandpiper, hudsonian godwit, Wilson's snipe, pectoral sandpiper, least sandpiper, semipalmated sandpiper, northern pintail, mallard, gadwall, northern shoveler, blue-winged teal, green-winged teal, Nelson's sparrow, savannah sparrow, common eider, double-crested cormorant, short-eared owl, common yellowthroat, white-throated sparrow and song sparrow
Mammals: Snowshoe hare, raccoon, striped skunk, muskrat and short-tailed shrew
Amphibians: American toad, spring peeper, wood frog, leopard frog
Fish: Blackspotted stickleback, threespine stickleback, ninespine stickleback
Plants: Alder, salt-meadow grass, salt-meadow cordgrass, prairie cordgrass
Listed species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) Short-eared owl
Management agency Canadian Wildlife Service, Quebec Region

Related link

L'Isle-Verte Migratory Bird Sanctuary on Google Maps (Please note that the Google map is a complementary source of information and does not represent the official map or site name)

Contact information

Environment and Climate Change Canada – Quebec Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
Protected Areas Unit
801-1550, avenue d'Estimauville
Québec, Quebec G1J 0C3

Toll-free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)
Email:  ec.enviroinfo.ec@canada.ca

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