Johnson's Mills, NB (Photo by Mike Dembeck)
Johnson's Mills, NB (Photo by Mike Dembeck)

Johnson's Mills Shorebird Reserve and Interpretive Centre

Boardwalk at the Johnson's Mills Shorebird Interpretive Centre, New Brunswick (Photo by NCC)

Boardwalk at the Johnson's Mills Shorebird Interpretive Centre, New Brunswick (Photo by NCC)

An internationally renowned NCC property in Atlantic Canada

Johnson's Mills, New Brunswick is truly a birder's paradise and is well photographed by people around the world. Every summer, massive flocks of shorebirds journey through the Bay of Fundy from the Canadian Arctic before heading to South America. Johnson's Mills becomes the stage for one of nature's great spectacles as its beaches serve as a temporary stopover for more flocks of shorebirds numbering up to a quarter million individual birds.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) owns 472 acres (191 hectares) in the area and actively promotes conservation, education and stewardship on-site. We operate an interpretive centre in July and August so visitors can respectfully enjoy the magnificent conservation area.

Johnson's Mills at a glance

  • Johnson's Mills is located near Dorchester New Brunswick, 35 kilometres south of Moncton.
  • It earned international prominence when it was added to the Ramsar list of Wetlands of International Importance.
  • It was also designated as Canada's first Western Hemispheric Shorebird Reserve.
  • The pebble beach and mudflats make the area the perfect resting place for migratory shorebirds.

Conservation values

Approximately 80 percent of the world's population of semipalmated sandpipers stop at the Upper Bay of Fundy to feed and rest.

In just a few weeks, The birds double their weight by eating the mudshrimp exposed at low tide before departing for South America.

Other shorebirds commonly observed include:

  • semipalmated plover
  • least sandpiper
  • sanderlings
  • black-bellied plovers
  • white-rumped sandpiper
  • ruddy turnstone

Treading light around the shorebirds

During their short stay, it is imperative that the birds be able to feed and rest undisturbed. They are most vulnerable at high tide when they need to rest on the beach.

Shorebirds are easily startled and something as simple as a passer-by can scare them into flight, depleting the fat stores the sandpipers and other birds need for their long flight south.

Stewardship

NCC, with the help of Conservation Volunteers, has planted native trees and strategically placed shrubs that will further develop the protected area. This is in addition to purchasing the land surrounding the beach.

NCC aims to ensure that the shorebirds have a successful respite with minimal stress before making their non-stop 4300 kilometre flight to South America.

Our vision for Johnson's Mills

NCC is currently responsible for 24 properties and wishes to secure additional lands at Johnson's Mills. Since 1994, NCC has worked with partners and willing landowners to obtain critical shoreline areas. Stewardship remains a key focus and NCC is currently raising money for an endowment fund and for future land securement. This fund will provide for the on-going management of all of the area properties, as well as for the Interpretive Centre.

Support

The Nature Conservancy of Canada wishes to recognize and thank the New Brunswick Wildlife Trust Fund (NBWTF) for its generous and ongoing support of our work at Johnson's Mills.  Financial contributions from NBWTF for NCC projects over many years have been instrumental in helping us carry out our conservation and stewardship efforts.  For more information on the New Brunswick Wildlife Trust Fund, visit:  www.nbwtf.ca

Want to read more about Johnson's Mills?

Top 10 facts about Johnson's Mills is a perfect stop for shorebirds >

Visitor Information on NCC's Interpretive Centre at Johnson's Mills > 

 

10 comments

  • ATLadmin September 03, 2014 - 2:06
    Thanks for the discussion and feedback on the Tide Table. It is appreciated. For additional information here is a good resource: http://tides.gc.ca/eng/find/zone/30 For tide times, we encourage people to also phone the Nature Conservancy of Canada's Johnson's Mills Shorebird Reserve and Interpretive Centre. The number is 379-6347. The Centre has operated since 2000. Saturday September 6th is World Shorebirds Day. It is a first and is organized through WHRSN. http://www.whsrn.org/alertsupdates/update/20140808. Nature Conservancy of Canada is participating at Johnson’s Mills as one of the Global Counting Sites. You are encouraged to drop by and join!

  • Anonymous August 11, 2014 - 9:40
    The tide tables can be found on the following web site: http://tides.gc.ca/eng This provides a clickable map for all of Canada. For the Johnson's Mills area goto the following link (zone 30) and click on Hopewell Rocks as it's across the Bay from Johnsosn's Mills. http://tides.gc.ca/eng/find/zone/30 Hope this helps, and in my opinion it would be easy for the Web Admin to provide the link to this Gov site on the page. Best regards Trevor Awalt

  • Nickname July 20, 2014 - 2:42
    I was wondering if you could post the 2014 tide times. And as of July 20th, is it just the beginning of their arrival? I am guessing that tide times aren't updated here annually as I sent a request last year & got them but this year there is no update even after a google search. Thanks in advance

  • NCC web admin August 16, 2013 - 9:48
    Yes, there should still be shorebirds in early September. The numbers probably won’t be as high as they are now, but, the migration should still be underway. Interestingly, although the numbers won’t be as high, there is usually a better chance at seeing a larger variety of shorebird species (maybe up to 8 or 9 species as opposed to the typical 5-6 species). Additionally, the Interpretive Centre will still be open, with interpreters available to answer questions.

  • ep August 15, 2013 - 8:19
    Visitors from Norway coming September 4 - 6 -- any chance there would be shore birds or others still there then?

  • NCC web admin July 31, 2013 - 12:16
    Hi there cgoodwin and Anonymous. As per your request we have now posted the tide table on the left of this page in the related links. Thank you for your interest!

  • Anonymous July 31, 2013 - 8:59
    I too am looking for the tide table, would be much easier if it was found here.

  • cgoodwin July 29, 2013 - 2:22
    Don't you think it would be a god idea to put the tide table right on your web site?

  • D August 13, 2012 - 9:47
    The first shorebirds to arrive on the beaches and mudflats of Johnson’s Mills were noted on July 10th this season. Already, by the end of July, the roosting numbers were upwards of 50,000-60,000 shorebirds. Typically, the peak of the migration in this area is around mid-August, which would be right around this time. Remembering that there are never any guarantees when it comes to viewing wildlife, the best time to come to our Johnson’s Mills Interpretive Centre to try and see shorebirds is usually around high tide – that is 2 hours before to 2 hours after high tide, when the birds are close enough to see. The shorebird numbers observed around Johnson’s Mills during these last few days have fluctuated a lot, going from an estimated 55,000 at the end of the week to approximately 10,000 over the weekend (August 11-12). It is hard to predict what the actual numbers will be during the week of August, but based on previous years, the show should still be spectacular!

  • dkagnew August 12, 2012 - 10:41
    Hi I was wondering what the population of the Sandpipers might be the week of August 20th. You can respond to me by email as it would be the simplest. Thanks for your help, David

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