Montmagny Migratory Bird Sanctuary

The Montmagny Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) is located in the city also called Montmagny, in Québec. It preserves an important habitat for the greater snow goose and many other birds.

Importance of the sanctuary: migratory birds and other wildlife

The Montmagny Migratory Bird Sanctuary, which borders the south shore of the St. Lawrence River in Montmagny, is recognized as an important resting and feeding area for the greater snow goose as well as for several species of ducks.

The most recent occasional species surveys (2018-2019) showed up to 20,000 greater snow geese during the spring migrations. They also gather during the fall migrations, but in lesser number. Next to the greater snow goose, the most abundant species in the sanctuary is the northern pintail, followed by the American black duck and the green-winged teal. Other species found in smaller numbers within this protected area include mallard, blue-winged teal, ring-necked duck and Canada goose.

Greater Snow Geese. Photo: Chantal Lepire

Several species of shorebirds also use this site during migration. semipalmated sandpiper, dunlins, spotted sandpiper, lesser yellowlegs and white-rumped sandpiper have also been observed in the Montmagny area. During the breeding season, green-winged teal, American black duck and mallard use the sanctuary.

Did you know?

In the majority of shorebird species, the babies are nearly self-sufficient when they hatch. These chicks still follow their parents around for protection; however they are able to feed themselves almost immediately.


Established in 1986, this 122-hectare protected area is characterized mainly by wetlands and brackish water. As it is located in the Upper Estuary of the St. Lawrence, the sanctuary is bordered to the north and the south by the high and low water lines and to the east by the Rivière du Sud.

Montmagny Migratory Bird Sanctuary. Photo: Matthieu Allard

Tides have a major impact on the vegetation within this sanctuary and the substantial accumulation of sediment in this area has led to the formation of large mudflats and the development of both aquatic and terrestrial herbaceous habitats. Although the aquatic herbaceous habitat is made up mostly of American bulrush, other species, notably wild rice, water parsnip and arrowhead, are also present. Closer to the shore other well established herbaceous plants include giant bur-reed, joe-pye weed, purple loosestrife and reed canary grass.

Did you know?

The bulrush, a wetland plant of fresh water, is uncommon in Quebec. Its rhizomes are an important source of food for the greater snow goose; this is partly why the species is present in such high numbers in this sanctuary.

Map of the area

Map of Montmagny MBS
Long description

Map showing the location of the Montmagny Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) in relation to Montmagny, Bassin and Saint-Lawrence River. The map shows the boundaries of the refuge, which runs along the coast near Montmagny and spread to the Saint-Lawrence River. The MBS is located north of highways 20 and road 132. The scale of the map is in kilometers. Permanent water, intertidal water, roads and highways are located on the map. An inset shows the location of the shelter in Canada.

Access to the sanctuary

Migratory Bird Sanctuaries, such as Montmagny, 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, as a visitor, you can help protect this sanctuary and, before accessing the site, 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 Montmagny Migratory Bird Sanctuary in particular, please contact our regional office.

Key facts about Montmagny Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Table summary
Protected area designation Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Province or territory Quebec
Latitude/longitude 46° 59' 30" N 70° 33' 30" W
Size 122 hectares
Date created (Gazetted)   1986
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) management category Natural Monument or Feature (III)
Additional designations Montmagny Important Bird Area
Main habitat type Herbaceous meadows
Key bird species Greater snow goose
Other species Birds: Semipalmated sandpiper, northern pintailspotted sandpiperlesser yellowlegswhite-rumped sandpiper, green-winged tealAmerican black duck and mallard

Plants: American bulrush, wild rice and arrowhead
Listed species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) None
Management agency Canadian Wildlife Service, Quebec Region

Related links

Montmagny 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)

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