Lenore Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary

The Leonore Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) is located north-east of Saskatoon, in Saskatchewan. It offers a resting, nesting and feeding habitat for many birds.

Importance of the sanctuary: migratory birds and other wildlife

The Lenore Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary is located 25 kilometers north of Humboldt, Saskatchewan and is an important fall resting and feeding area for waterfowl.

Over 30 000 ducks, mainly mallards and assorted diving ducks, as well as 700 Canada geese and 300 tundra swans have been observed on the lake at one time. The protected bays in Lenore Lake provide good breeding and moulting habitat for both dabbling and diving ducks, and the island habitat has been known to be used by 19 to 39 pairs of breeding Canada geese, as well as pairs of breeding ducks. This lake is also a local sport fishing hotspot for walleye, northern pike, perch and whitefish.

Canada Geese
Canada geese

Did you know?

When you see a duck tip forward to put the front half of its body underwater and stick its tail up in the air, you’re probably looking at a dabbling duck. These ducks feed near the surface of the water in contrast to diving ducks, which dive below the surface to feed.

Dabbling ducks
Dabbling ducks


Lenore Lake was one of 12 lakes reserved for sanctuary purposes in 1915; all vacant quarter sections around the lake were also included in the reserved area. In 1917 to 1918, Lenore Lake and its islands were recommended to be protected as a bird sanctuary and on March 9, 1925, the Lenore Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary was established. The boundaries of the sanctuary were revised in 1949 to 1950 to remove the quarter sections so that only the lake and the islands within it were included. In 2001, this lake was designated as an Important Bird Area due to its global significance for land bird concentrations, wading birds and waterfowl.

Did you know?

A quarter section was a common subdivision of land under the Dominion Land Survey; this method was used to divide most of Western Canada into one-square-mile sections for agriculture and other purposes. A quarter section represents one-fourth of a square mile or 160 acres.


Lenore Lake, situated in Saskatchewan’s Boreal Transition ecoregion, is large and slightly saline with an average depth of 5.2 metres. Its water levels undergo drastic fluctuations, as the lake is dependent upon spring runoff and seasonal rains. Most of the runoff that reaches the lake comes through several small creek channels or from the nearby Ranch Lake, which frequently spills over into Lenore Lake due to the restored drainage channel that connects the two.

Raven Island, also designated as a National Wildlife Area, is the largest of several islands in the lake. Previous to the drainage channel being restored, Raven Island was essentially a peninsula, which only became an island during particularly wet years.

During the course of the summer, as water levels recede, wide expanses of mudflats appear along the low-relief shoreline. Between the water/mudflats and dry land grows a 45 to 180-metre strip of wet or dry sedge meadow with associated grasses. Beyond this, the land surrounding the lake consists of native and tame grasslands used for pasture, as well as agricultural lands being cultivated for hay, cereal and oilseed crops.

Map of the area

Map of Lenore Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary
  • Long description

    Map showing the location of the Lenore Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) in relation to Saskatchewan and the Raven Island National Wildlife Area (NWA). The boundaries of the MBS, and the ones for the NWA, are shown. Both protected areas are location west of highway 368. The MBS entirely covers Lenore Lake, including Raven Island, as the NWA covers most part of Raven Island and a small part of the surrounding waters. The scale of the map is in kilometers. Permanent and intermittent waters are shown on the map, as are roads and highways. An inset on the map shows the location of the shelter in Canada.

Access to the sanctuary

Migratory Bird Sanctuaries, such as Lenore Lake, 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. You can access the sanctuary via one of the 14 public roads leading to it, however please respect that there are many private landowners adjacent to the lake. Lenore Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary is less than 10 kilometers southeast of Basin and Middle Lakes Migratory Bird Sanctuary. 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 Lenore Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary in particular, please contact our regional office.

Key facts about Lenore Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Protected Area designation Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Province or territory Saskatchewan
Latitude/longitude 52°30' N, 105°00' W
Size 8830 hectares
Date created (Gazetted) 1925
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Management Category IV – Habitat/Species Management Area
Additional designations Part of Lake Lenore Important Bird Area
Main habitat type Open water and mud flats (97%), sedge meadow (2%), island (1%)
Key bird species Canada goose, mallard, American white pelican, double-crested cormorant, great blue heron, black-crowned night heron, western grebe, Franklin's gull, ring-billed gull, California gull, common tern, black tern and piping plover
Other species Birds: Tundra swan, sandhill crane, American avocet, killdeer, willet, spotted sandpiper, sora, marbled godwit and Wilson's phalarope
Fish: Walleye, northern pike, perch and lake whitefish
Listed species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) Piping plover (circumcinctus subspecies)
Management agency Canadian Wildlife Service
Landowner Province of Saskatchewan

Related links

Lenore Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary on Google Maps (Please note that the Google map is a complementary source of information that can help locate the migratory bird sanctuary and does not represent the official map or site name)

Contact information

Environment and Climate Change Canada
Canadian Wildlife Service
Protected Areas – Prairie Region
115 Perimeter Road
Saskatoon, SK S7N 0X4

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

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