Philipsburg Migratory Bird Sanctuary

The Philipsburg Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) is located in Saint-Armand, in Québec. It preserves an important habitat for songbirds.

Importance of the sanctuary: migratory birds and other wildlife

Located on the eastern shore of Missisquoi Bay, an incursion of Lake Champlain in Quebec, Philipsburg Migratory Bird Sanctuary was established in 1955 to safeguard the many species of birds that breed within this area. This sanctuary is bounded to the south by the American border.

A sizeable array of breeding songbirds (passerines) and waterbirds live side by side within the boundaries of this sanctuary and many migratory birds stop at this site during their yearly journey. Within the more forested areas of the sanctuary the species most often spotted include:

  • great horned owl
  • ovenbird
  • indigo bunting
  • scarlet tanager
  • brown thrasher
  • black-billed cuckoo
  • barred owl
  • yellow-bellied sapsucker
  • yellow-throated vireo

In recent years, Wild Turkeys have also been spotted within this protected area as have several species at risk, including the cerulean warbler and the least bittern.

Image of a Cerulean warbler on a branch
Cerulean warbler. Photo: Carl Savignac


This 527-hectare protected area is vital nesting habitat for so many species in part due to fact that it encompasses a wide variety of habitats including a pond, marshland, farm fields, hills, and forests of maple, poplar and alder. The agricultural fields within the sanctuary attract bird species like killdeer and eastern bluebird, while the wetter sections of the sanctuary are attractive for green heron, wood duck and swamp sparrow.

Image of Eastern bluebirds feeding
Eastern bluebirds. Photo: Steve Byland

Did you know?

Eastern bluebirds generally have more than one successful brood of chicks each year. Babies from the early broods usually leave their parents during the summer; however chicks from late broods often remain with their parents throughout the winter months as well.

Map of the area

Map of Philipsburg MBS
Map of Philipsburg MBS
Long description

Map showing the location of the Philipsburg Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) in relation to Québec, United-States, Saint-Armand and Missisquoi Bay of Lake Champlain. Road 133 crosses the MBS from north to south. The map shows the boundaries of the refuge, which spreads est coast from the coast of Champlain's Lake towards Saint-Armand through the United-States border. The scale of the map is in kilometers. Permanent waters, international border and roads are shown on the map. An inset shows the location of the refuge in Canada.

Access to the sanctuary

Migratory Bird Sanctuaries, such as Philipsburg, 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 Philipsburg Migratory Bird Sanctuary in particular, please contact our regional office.

Key facts about Philipsburg Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Table summary
Protected area designation Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Province or territory Quebec
Latitude/longitude 45° 01' 34" N 73° 04' 33" W
Size 527 hectares
Date created (Gazetted) 1955
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) management category Habitat/Species Management Area (IV)
Additional designations None
Main habitat type Maple, poplar and alder groves
Key bird species Cerulean warblerleast bitterntufted titmouse
Other species

Birds: Green heronwood duckgreat horned owlyellow-bellied sapsuckerscarlet tanagereastern bluebirdyellow-throated vireobrown thrasherblack-billed cuckoo and ovenbird 

Amphibians and reptiles: Wood frog, green frog and eastern newt, milksnake, watersnake, spotted salamander

Mammals: Southern flying squirrel, woodland vole, short-tailed shrew, white-tailed deermuskrat.

Listed species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) Cerulean warblerleast bittern
Management agency Canadian Wildlife Service, Quebec Region

Related links

Philipsburg 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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