Redberry Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary

The Redberry Lake Mitgratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) is located north-west of Saskatoon, in Saskatchewan. It offers a place to rest and feed for many birds, such as the whooping crane.

Importance of the sanctuary: migratory birds and other wildlife

The Redberry Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary is located 11 kilometres east of Hafford, Saskatchewan. The lake itself is an important spring and fall stopover for migratory birds.

The tundra swan, the critically endangered whooping crane, and approximately 30 000 ducks, regularly rest and feed at the lake during their migratory journey. Canada geese also use the sanctuary during migration and their numbers on Redberry Lake and the surrounding wetlands are on the rise. Up to 20 pairs of piping plovers have been spotted on the sandy beaches along the lake. The islands within Redberry Lake support several large nesting colonies of waterbirds. These include over a thousand California and ring-billed gulls; several hundred American white pelicans, common terns and white-winged scoters as well as dozens of double-crested cormorants, great blue herons and black-crowned night herons. In total, 188 species of birds have been recorded in the sanctuary, many of which regularly nest in the area.

Northern Pintails
Northern pintails. Photo: Guy Lamarre


Redberry Lake is the final water body in a closed-basin watershed located in the Aspen Parkland ecoregion of Saskatchewan. As such, the salinity of the water in Redberry Lake is sometimes too high to support fish populations or many submerged aquatic plants.

Did you know?

A watershed, or drainage basin, is an area of land where surface water from rain or melting snow converges. Most watersheds drain into larger bodies of water such as rivers and eventually the ocean. A closed watershed, on the other hand, has no outlet for its water, so water escapes only by evaporation or seepage. As the water escapes, the salts and minerals are left behind causing these bodies of water to become salty. In some cases they can be many times saltier than the ocean.

Summer afternoon at Redberry Lake. Photo: Edward Pyle

Along the lakeshore, sandy beaches are swept by waves, which prevent much vegetation from taking root. During long periods of dry weather, the water levels have been known to vary significantly, occasionally causing islands within the lake to connect to the mainland, although this is rare. These islands are dominated by salt-tolerant herbaceous plants near the shore such as salt grass and red samphire. Further inland on the islands you can find shrubs like gooseberry and silver buffaloberry as well as willow and several species of trees. the landscape around the lake and adjacent to the lakeshore is mostly made up of rolling hills. These alternate between fescue prairie on the slope shoulders, shrublands made up of Saskatoon berries, chokecherries, beaked hazel and dogwood mid-slope and forests of trembling aspen and balsam poplar at the bottom of the slopes.

Map of the area

Map of Redberry Migratory Bird Sanctuary
  • Long description
    Map showing the location of the Redberry Lake Mitgratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) in relation to Saskatchewan, Hafford, Krydor, Redberry Lake, Rabbit Lake and Blaine Lakes. The map shows the refuge boundaries, which enclose Redberry Lake. The MBS is located east of Highway 340 and south of Highway 40. 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.

Planning your visit

Redberry Lake and the lands surrounding it support a residential farming community, a marina and a Biosphere Reserve interpretive centre at the northwest end of the lake as well as a summer camp on the east shore.

Migratory Bird Sanctuaries, such as Redberry 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. As some of the land surrounding Redberry Lake is privately owned, please ensure that you have the landowner’s permission before accessing private lands. 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 Redberry Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary in particular, please contact our regional office.

Key facts about Redberry Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Protected Area designation Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Province or territory Saskatchewan
Latitude/longitude 52°39' N, 107°12' W
Size 6395 hectares
Date created (Gazetted) 1925
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Management Category II – National Park
Additional designations Redberry Lake Important Bird Area
Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve
Main habitat type Open water (95%), grass/shrubs/trees – islands (1%) and marsh (4%)
Key bird species Mallard, northern pintail, Canada goose, tundra swan, whooping crane, peregrine falcon, piping plover and American white pelican
Other species Birds: Double-crested cormorant, California gull, ring-billed gull, common tern, white-winged scoter, lesser scaup, common loon, pied-billed grebe, horned grebe, eared grebe, red-necked grebe, western grebe, Bonaparte's gull, sparrows, barn swallow, cedar waxwing, yellow warbler, red-winged blackbird, Brewer's blackbird, western meadowlark, eastern kingbird, horned lark, American goldfinch, great blue heron, black-crowned night heron, spotted sandpiper, killdeer, American avocet, willet, upland sandpiper, marbled godwit, Wilson’s snipe, and Wilson’s phalarope
Mammals: White-tailed deer, ground squirrel, coyote, red fox, and badger
Listed species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) Whooping crane (grus americana), peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus anatum/tundrius) and piping plover (circumcinctus subspecies)
Management agency Canadian Wildlife Service
Landowner Province of Saskatchewan

Related links

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)

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