Sutherland Migratory Bird Sanctuary

The Sutherland Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) is located in Saskatoon, in Saskatchewan. It preserves an important habitat for many ducks, swans and geese.

Importance of the sanctuary: migratory birds and other wildlife

On May 5, 1925, the Sutherland Migratory Bird Sanctuary was established in the City of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The sanctuary encompassed a Dominion Forestry Station that produced trees for farm shelterbelts, which was operational until 1965. At this time, half of the property was transferred to the City of Saskatoon to be used as a park and the other half became an Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Research Station. At present, the sanctuary includes a park, a zoo known locally as the Forestry Farm and an Agricultural Crop Research Station.

There are a few wild species of waterfowl that use the migratory bird sanctuary, though a variety of captive native and exotic species of waterfowl including ducks, geese and swans use the ponds in the zoo. Of course there are other types of wild birds to be found in the sanctuary and the surrounding area; the majority of these are generalists common to urban areas in the Prairie Provinces including:

  • shorebirds
  • gulls
  • sparrows
  • swallows
  • kingbirds
  • warblers
  • blackbirds
  • woodpeckers
  • chickadees
  • grosbeak
  • hawks
  • owls
Black-capped Chickadee
Black-capped chickadee. Photo: Guy Lamarre


There is only a minimal amount of natural vegetation remaining within the sanctuary and, except for approximately 7-hectares of native grassland and shrubland within the boundaries of the zoo, most of the Forestry Farm Park landscape is made up of manicured lawns adorned with exotic trees and shrubs. Two large artificial ponds are maintained within the zoo portion of the park and the manmade islands within them are vegetated with grasses, herbaceous plants, shrubs and trees. The Agriculture Research Station is mostly cultivated land with numerous field shelterbelts and trees along the perimeter as well as several buildings. The City of Saskatoon has recently begun converting some Agricultural Research Station lands into a residential neighborhood.

Did you know?

A farm shelterbelt is generally one or several rows of trees or shrubs that are planted on a farming property to protect it from harsh weather conditions. For example, a shelterbelt can be planted along a field to prevent soil erosion or to protect crops from wind damage. Shelterbelts can also be planted around a farmstead to protect human or animal habitations from the cold winter winds, provide shade for the animals, control snowdrifts, etc.

Map of the area

Map of Sutherland Migratory Bird Sanctuary
  • Long description

    Map showing the location of the Sutherland Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) in relation to Saskatchewan, Saskatoon and South Saskatchewan River. The map shows the refuge boundaries, which cover a rectangle land part and contain many small pieces of water. The MBS is located east of Highway 5, north of Highway 5 and west of Highway 41. 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

While public access to certain areas of the Sutherland Migratory Bird Sanctuary may be restricted by the landowners, you can also find some great public activities within this sanctuary.

Visit the Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park and Zoo where you can see some spectacular animals, learn exciting answers to questions you never knew that you had (Do porcupine have teeth? Can pythons close their eyes?) and explore the beautiful grounds of the park.

Migratory Bird Sanctuaries, such as Sutherland, 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. Please respect that public access to this sanctuary is at the discretion of the landowners (City of SaskatoonAgriculture and Agri-Food Canada and private landowners). 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 Sutherland Migratory Bird Sanctuary in particular, please contact our regional office.

Key facts about Sutherland Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Protected Area designation Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Province or territory Saskatchewan
Latitude/longitude 52°09' N, 106°35' W
Size 130 hectares
Date created (Gazetted) 1924
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Management Category N/A
Additional designations None
Main habitat type City park and zoo (35%), cultivated land (60%), native grassland/trees/shrubs (5%)
Key bird species Birds: Shorebirds, gulls, sparrows, swallows, kingbirds, warblers, blackbirds, woodpeckers, chickadees, grosbeak, hawks, owls
Listed species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) None
Management agency Canadian Wildlife Service
Landowners City of Saskatoon, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, and private

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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