Saint-Omer Migratory Bird Sanctuary

The Saint-Omer Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) is located in the municipality of Carleton-sur-Mer, in Québec. Many birds live in this refuge, including gulls and terns.

Importance of the sanctuary: migratory birds and other wildlife

The Saint-Omer Migratory Bird Sanctuary, located in the municipality of Carleton-sur-Mer, on the Gaspé Peninsula, was established in 1986 to safeguard nesting colonial birds, such as gulls and terns.

Image of a Ring-billed Gull on land
Ring-billed Gull. Photo: Benoît Audet

An inventory of the birds in this sanctuary in 2013 showed that the ring-billed gull was the most abundant species (4522 individuals). This same inventory revealed that this protected area also supported herring gulls (648 individuals), common tern (356 individuals) and great black-backed gulls (142 individuals), making them some of the most numerous species present. Other species observed, resting at the refuge, were great blue heron, osprey, black-crowned night heron and several species of shorebirds, including lesser yellowlegs.

Did you know?

The great black-backed gulls has a predator-like behavior, more pronounced than most of the other gulls. The bird species most affected by his captures are the Atlantic puffin and razorbill which he destroys their nesting site.


This 56-hectare protected area stretches over 1.5 kilometres in Chaleur Bay, covering the entire inner cove as well as a portion of the sand bank to the southwest.

Image of Saint-Omer MBS landscape
Saint-Omer Migratory Bird Sanctuary. Photo: Benoît Jobin

At high tide, the entire inner cove is covered by water, which gradually gives way to a vast expanse of sand as the tide recedes. Additionally, the sanctuary encompasses a dune and a herbaceous meadow that is also completely flooded at high tide.

Map of the area

Map of Saint-Omer MBS
Map of Saint-Omer MBS
Long description

Map showing the location of the Saint-Omer Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) in relation to Québec, Carleton-sur-Mer, Laviolette Island, Rivière Nouvelle Bassin, Tgracadigache Bay and Chaleur Bay. The MBS is located south of road 132. The map shows the boundaries of the refuge, which enclose a part of the Laviolette Island and part of the surrounding waters. The scale of the map is in kilometers. Permanent waters, intertidal water and roads are located on the map. An inset shows the location of the refuge in Canada.

Access to the sanctuary

Migratory Bird Sanctuaries, such as Saint-Omer, 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, as a visitor, you can help protect this sanctuary and, before accessing the site, 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 Saint-Omer Migratory Bird Sanctuary in particular, please contact our regional office.

Key facts about Saint-Omer Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Table summary
Protected area designation Migratory bird sanctuary
Province or territory Quebec
Latitude/longitude 48° 6' 30" N 66° 14' 00" W
Size 56 hectares
Date created (Gazetted) 1986
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) management category Natural Monument or Feature (III)
Additional designations None
Main habitat type Sand dune and herbaceous meadow
Key bird species Ring-billed gullherring gull, great black-backed gull, and common tern
Other species Birds: Great blue heronospreyblack-crowned night-heronlesser yellowlegs, and common eider
Listed species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) None
Management agency Canadian Wildlife Service, Quebec Region

Related links

Saint-Omer 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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