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Fall Shorebird Migration

Millions of shorebirds, including 75% (over 2,500,000) of the world’s population of Semipalmated sandpipers use Fundy’s inter-tidal and coastal areas.

Over twenty of Canada’s 47 shorebird species, pass through Atlantic Canada annually in late summer and fall, many of which visit Fundy (see list). Migrating shorebirds begin appearing in Fundy in early July. Numbers steadily increase, peaking by mid-August and then declining through to late September. At the height of the migration, enormous flocks of thousands of birds weave across the Fundy skies.

Illustration: Robert Lyon

Fundy Shorebirds Main Page

What Are Shorebirds?

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Three sections of the Bay of Fundy support the overwhelming majority of migrating shorebirds: Shepody Bay and Mary’s Point in New Brunswick; and the Minas Basin in Nova Scotia. Features common to these regions are isolated sand cobble beaches and enormous stretches of tidal mud flats.

Fundy is a resting and refuelling stopover. Each year, migratory shorebirds move between arctic nesting areas and southern wintering areas – a total distance of more than 3000 km -- in a few long hauls. Migrating shorebirds stop in the region to rest and feed while en route to wintering grounds in South and Central America. Accordingly, the availability of high quality habitat to feed and rest (roost) in the Bay of Fundy is essential to the success of the shorebirds’ fall migration.

The Bay of Fundy guest list of shorebirds:

  • Black-bellied plover*
  • American golden plover
  • Semipalmated plover*
  • Greater yellowlegs*
  • Lesser yellowlegs*
  • Solitary sandpiper
  • Willet
  • Spotted sandpiper
  • Upland sandpiper
  • Whimbrel
  • Hudsonian godwit
  • Ruddy turnstone*
  • Red knot*
  • Sanderling*
  • Semipalmated sandpiper*
  • Least sandpiper*
  • White-rumped sandpiper*
  • Baird’s sandpiper
  • Pectoral sandpiper
  • Dunlin*
  • Buff-breasted sandpiper
  • Short-billed dowitcher*
  • Long-billed dowitcher

    * common in Fundy



Text prepared by Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources (NSDNR)
Graphics provided by NSDNR unless otherwise indicated
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Page last updated 6 January, 2006 4:28 PM