Rideau Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Mallard in flight
Photo: © Thinkstockphotos.ca. Mallard in flight.

The Rideau Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) includes a section of the Rideau River and Rideau Canal (the canal waterway follows the river) that begins within the Village of Merrickville and extends west and then southwest to cover a distance of 5.6 km by water. The waterway is managed by the Parks Canada Agency and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, while the upland area includes various public and private owners.

Along the first 2.4 km, on either side of the river, there are extensive marshes composed of cattails and wild rice with broadleaf emergent aquatic plants, as well as floating, free-floating and submerged vegetation. Behind these marsh areas are swamps. Alder and tamarack grow in these sites, and moss and sedges cover the ground. As the soil becomes less saturated, eastern white cedar grow in dense stands.

The remainder of the river is open, and few submerged aquatic plants are encountered. Scattered clumps of emergent plants grow close to the shores, which are dry and are extensively developed as cottage and residential developments. The remainder of the terrestrial part of the sanctuary is composed of privately owned farmlands and upland woodlots (sugar maple, basswood and elm).

Importance of the Migratory Bird Sanctuary

The Rideau MBS provides suitable habitat for waterfowl staging owing to the abundance of aquatic plants that provide both shelter and food. On any single day during fall migration, up to 1000 Canada Geese and 1000 ducks-mainly dabblers such as Mallards, American Black Ducks and Blue-winged Teals, as well as Ring-necked Ducks-gather in the sanctuary. The MBS also provides waterfowl that are staging on the Rideau River with an undisturbed refuge during the hunting season.

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.

The standard prohibitions under the Migratory Bird Sanctuary Regulations apply to Rideau MBS: 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.

Access prohibitions or restrictions by the MBS landowners (private, the Parks Canada Agency, the Province of Ontario and the Corporation of the Village of Merrickville) may also apply.

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 Rideau Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Long description for the Map

Map showing the location of Rideau Migratory Bird Sanctuary relative to Ontario, Merrickville and the Rideau River. The map shows the boundaries of the sanctuary, which run along the Rideau River and extend inland from both shores. 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. Rideau 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 Rideau Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Category Information
Protected Area designation Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Province or territory Ontario
Latitude/longitude 44°54' N, 75°52' W
Size in hectares (ha) 752 ha
Date created (Gazetted) 1957
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) management category N/A
Additional designations
Main habitat type Marsh (10%), swamp (10%), upland forest (10%), crop and hay land (40%), open water (30%)
Key bird species Canada Goose, Mallard, American Black Duck, Blue-winged Teal and Ring-necked Duck
Listed species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) None
Management agency Canadian Wildlife Service, Ontario Region
Landowners Corporation of the Village of Merrickville, Parks Canada Agency, Province of Ontario and private

Contact Information

Environment and Climate Change Canada - Ontario Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
Ecosystem Conservation
4905 Dufferin Street
Toronto ON M3H 5T4
Toll Free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)
Email: ec.enviroinfo.ec@canada.ca
Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Privacy statement

Thank you for your help!

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

Date modified: