Murray Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary

The Murray Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) is located north of Battleford, in Saskatchewan. It preserves quality habitat for many ducks to rest and feed.

Importance of the sanctuary: migratory birds and other wildlife

In 1948, five new migratory bird sanctuaries were created in order to replace five other areas where sanctuary status was being removed due to drought conditions. After careful consideration and several evaluations by the Canadian Wildlife Service, it was decided that Murray Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary would be created as one of these new protected areas. This decision was partially based on the fact that the site is recognized as an important resting and feeding area for waterfowl. Located 30 kilometers north of North Battleford, Saskatchewan, and east of Jackfish Lake, the sanctuary is highly used in the spring and fall by waterfowl.

Birds gathering where Lost Horse Creek flows into Murray Lake
Birds gathering where Lost Horse Creek flows into Murray Lake. Photo: Vera Csada

Large numbers of ducks, as many as 6000 at one time, have been recorded here as well as smaller numbers of geese. Several species of ducks are also known to breed in the marshy areas of Murray Lake.

Did you know?

Ducks have an oil-secreting gland located at the base of the tail. During preening, a duck will spread this oil all over its feathers in order to keep them lustrous and water repellant.


Murray Lake is a large, deep lake, located in Saskatchewan’s Aspen Parkland ecoregion. The water levels fluctuate very little, as it is connected to the much larger Jackfish Lake by a short canal. This lake also receives runoff from the surrounding rolling landscape through several creeks including Crystal Creek and Lost Horse Creek. The shoreline around the lake is steep in several areas and vegetated mostly with sedges and grasses, while the aquatic plants in the lake consist mostly of pondweed beds in the deeper water. The Lost Horse Creek and Crystal Creek deltas, where the creeks feed into Murray Lake, support dense stands of emergent and wet meadow plant species. There is also a large, steep-sided island in the southeastern portion of the lake where a variety of grasses, shrubs and trees grow.

Dawn at Murray Lake. Photo: Len Langevin

Map of the area

Map of Murray Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary
  • Long description

    Map showing the location of the Murray Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) in relation to Saskatchewan, Cochin, Moosomin, Pelicam Point, Summer-field Beach, Lanz Point, Metinota, Jackfish Lake and Murray Lake. The map shows the boundaries of the refuge, which enclose Murray Lake and some nearby lands. The MBS is located east of Highways 26 and 4. 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 Murray 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. Please respect that public access to the sanctuary is at the discretion of the many private landowners adjacent to the lake. 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 Murray Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary in particular, please contact our regional office.

Key facts about Murray Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Protected Area designation Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Province or territory Saskatchewan
Latitude/longitude 53°04' N, 108°19' W
Size 1165 hectares
Date created (Gazetted) 1948
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Management Category VI – Protected area with sustainable use of natural resources
Additional designations None
Main habitat type Open water (60%), sedge meadow/marsh (36%) and island (4%)
Key bird species Diving and dabbling ducks, geese, pied-billed grebe, western grebe, Franklin's gull, Forster's tern, black tern, sora, killdeer, Wilson's snipe, Wilson's phalarope, American white pelican, ring-billed gull, common tern and American avocet.
Other species Birds: Red-winged blackbird, yellow-headed blackbird, brown-headed cowbird, marsh wren, purple martin, tree swallow, barn swallow, mountain bluebird, warbling vireo, red-eyed vireo, common yellowthroat, Baltimore oriole, clay-colored sparrow, vesper sparrow, savannah sparrow, LeConte's sparrow, Nelson's sparrow and song sparrow.
Listed species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) None
Management agency Canadian Wildlife Service
Landowners Province of Saskatchewan and private

Related links

Murray 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)

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

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

Date modified: