Port Joli Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Wintering American Black Ducks
Photo: Colin MacKinnon © Environment and Climate Change Canada. Wintering American Black Ducks at Robertson Lake in Port Joli Migratory Bird Sanctuary.

Port Joli Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) is located in the southern coastal lowlands region of Nova Scotia, an area characterized by low hills and ridges with intervening lakes and bogs and prominent coastal inlets. The sanctuary is located at the uppermost limits of a 10-km inlet that varies in width from 1 to 4 km. The tidal waters within the sanctuary are extremely shallow, and a tidal range of 1.2-2.4 m exposes extensive areas of mud and sand flats at low tide. Several small rocky islets and ledges occur within the sanctuary, and the shores are rocky and strewn with large boulders. A small band of salt marsh often occurs between the rocky shoreline and the edge of the mud-flat zone.

Importance of the Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Port Joli MBS, in concert with the nearby Port Hebert and Sable River sanctuaries, supports upwards of 4000-5000 geese annually. This represents around 40% of the wintering Canada Geese in the Atlantic provinces. However, these numbers are largely weather dependent, as geese are often more widely dispersed during mild winters with little ice cover.

American Black Ducks, in numbers sometimes exceeding 1000, are also attracted to the rich eelgrass beds and also use the MBS throughout fall and winter. During fall migration, over 1000 American Green-winged Teal feed in the shallows of Port Joli harbour by day and move into nearby Louis Lake at night along with smaller numbers of Northern Pintail. Diving ducks including Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead, scaups, scoters and mergansers arrive in late fall and remain in small numbers through the winter.

Access and Activities

MBSs are established for the protection and conservation of migratory birds. Activities that could harm migratory birds, their nests or their eggs are prohibited.

MBSs can be and have been established on private, provincial, territorial and federally owned lands. Access to each MBS varies by site and is at the discretion of the landowner and land manager.

Where MBSs are located on federal land, Environment and Climate Change Canada is responsible for the management and protection of migratory birds, nests, eggs and habitat. Where MBSs are located on provincial land, Environment and Climate Change Canada is responsible for the protection of migratory birds and their nests, while the chief game officer of the province is responsible for the management of habitat. Where MBSs are located on private or municipal land, Environment and Climate Change Canada is responsible for the protection of migratory birds and their nests. Habitat management is the responsibility of the landowner.

Public access to Port Joli MBS is not restricted. The standard prohibitions under the Migratory Bird Sanctuary Regulations> apply to this site: hunting migratory birds is prohibited, and no person shall disturb, destroy or take the nest of a migratory bird or have in his or her possession a live migratory bird, or a carcass, skin, nest or egg of a migratory bird, except under the authority of a permit issued by Environment and Climate Change Canada or unless authorized by the Regulations. Possession of firearms or other hunting appliances is prohibited. Dogs and cats must not be allowed to run at large.

For more information on entry, activities and permits in MBSs, please visit the Management and Activities section of the Migratory Bird Sanctuaries website. For more information on Environment and Climate Change Canada's protected areas, please contact the regional office.

For greater certainty, nothing in this document shall be construed so as to abrogate or derogate from the protection provided for existing Aboriginal or treaty rights of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada by the recognition and affirmation of those rights in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.

Map of the Area

  • Map of Port Joli Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Long description for the Map

Map showing the location of Port Joli Migratory Bird Sanctuary in relation to Nova Scotia, Port Joli and Stuarts lake. The map shows the boundaries of the sanctuary, which encompasses a portion of Port Joli as well as a small amount of the surrounding land. The scale of the map is in tenths of a kilometer.

This map is for illustrative purposes only and should not be used to define legal boundaries. Port Joli MBS can also be viewed using Google Maps. Please note that the Google map is a complementary source of information and does not represent the official map or site name.

Summary Table

Summary Table for Port Joli Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Category Information
Protected Area designation Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Province or territory Nova Scotia
Latitude/longitude 43°52' N, 64°55' W
Size in hectares (ha) 397 ha
Date created (Gazetted) 1941
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) management category Ia - Strict Nature Reserve
Additional designations Part of Nova Scotia South Shore (Port Joli Sector) Important Bird Area
Main habitat type Shallow estuary and intertidal flats (80%), salt marsh (5%), mixed second-growth forest (15%)
Key bird species Canada Goose, American Black Duck, American Green-winged Teal, Northern Pintail, Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead, Greater Scaup, scoters and mergansers
Listed species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) None
Management agency Canadian Wildlife Service, Atlantic Region
Landowners Canadian Wildlife Service, Province of Nova Scotia and private

Contact Information

Environment and Climate Change Canada - Atlantic Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
Protected Areas Program
17 Waterfowl Lane
Sackville NB E4L 1G6
Toll Free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)
Email: ec.enviroinfo.ec@canada.ca
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