Birding at the Tabusintac Estuary (Photo by NCC)

Birding at the Tabusintac Estuary (Photo by NCC)

NCC saves key habitat for birds on Grand Manan

July 18, 2017
Grand Manan, NB


Bay of Fundy gets new conservation area

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has conserved 129 hectares (319 acres) of coastal wetlands and valuable wildlife habitat on the island of Grand Manan, which is located in a globally significant Important Bird Area (IBA) in the Bay of Fundy. 

NCC’s newest conservation area, located within the boundaries of both the Important Bird Area and the federal Grand Manan Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary, provides vital habitat protection for many species of birds. Neither the IBA nor the sanctuary designation previously protected the formerly privately owned habitat from development, making this area a high priority for conservation.

More than 350 species of birds have been recorded at Grand Manan, including 174 species of breeding birds. Grand Manan provides habitat for many endangered, threatened or special concern birds, as assessed by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), such as red knot, barn swallow, bank swallow, common nighthawk, Canada warbler, bobolink, olive-sided flycatcher, eastern wood-pewee and rusty blackbird.

In addition to the incredible diversity of bird species found on Grand Manan, the Bay of Fundy island hosts many large populations of seabirds and shorebirds; approximately 100,000 phalaropes, for example, were reported in the waters around the island in the early 1980s, a number that has since declined.

This conservation announcement includes both a donation and a partial donation from two New Brunswick families: a 6-hectare (15-acre) property was donated by Arlene Small, in memory of her parents, Hartford and Bessie (Trecartin) Ingalls; and a 123-hectare (304-acre) property was partially donated through the Ecological Gifts Program by Earl Brewer and Sandy Kitchen, in memory of Wayne B. Kitchen. 

NCC’s newest properties are located between the communities of Grand Harbour and Seal Cove, on the southeast side of Grand Manan, near Anchorage Provincial Park. They include the eastern shoreline of Great Pond, the largest freshwater pond on the island, as well as 500 metres of coastline with a sand and gravel beach. A 35-hectare (87-acre) bog, as well as other wetlands valuable for wildlife, are found on the properties. Just over half of the conservation area reserve is forested, with mature stands of white birch, balsam fir, American larch and black spruce.

With these two acquisitions, NCC has now protected close to 243 hectares (600 acres) on Grand Manan. The Nature Conservancy of Canada needs to acquire one more property in order to completely protect the habitat inside the Grand Manan Migratory Bird Sanctuary boundary.
Conservation of these properties was made possible with the support of funding from the Government of Canada through the Natural Areas Conservation Program (NACP). The NACP was established to accelerate the conservation of privately owned land in Canada. NCC’s Grand Manan project also includes a land donation made through the Government of Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program, which provides enhanced tax incentives for individuals or corporations donating ecologically significant land. The New Brunswick Wildlife Trust Fund, US Fish & Wildlife (under the North American Wetlands Conservation Act), Crabtree Foundation, Sir James Dunn Foundation, McCain Foundation and many private donors also contributed to the success of this conservation project.


“The Nature Conservancy of Canada wishes to thank the land donors, the Government of Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program and Ecological Gifts Program, and our many supporters for helping us conserve these outstanding habitats on Grand Manan. Our newly conserved properties are in a significant area for migratory birds in the Bay of Fundy and we are thrilled to be able to protect this area for the benefit of wildlife and the enjoyment of residents and visitors to Grand Manan.”
 Paula Noel,  NB Program Director, Nature Conservancy of Canada

“On behalf of my colleague, the Hon. Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, I want to congratulate the Nature Conservancy of Canada and its partners on the protection and conservation of 129 hectares of important bird habitat that lies within the boundaries of the Grand Manan Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary. The Government of Canada is proud to support this important habitat conservation initiative through the Natural Areas Conservation Program and the Ecological Gifts Program. Working collaboratively we can conserve and protect our natural environment.”
Hon. Karen Ludwig, Member of Parliament for New Brunswick Southwest


• The Nature Conservancy of Canada protects key bird habitats around the Bay of Fundy, an important Canadian stopover site for migratory birds on the Atlantic Flyway, through its Grand Manan nature reserve, its recently expanded Musquash reserve, its Johnson’s Mills shorebird reserve and its Brier Island, Nova Scotia, reserve. These projects have been funded under the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.

• Visited by ornithologist John James Audubon in the 1830s, Grand Manan has long been recognized as a critical breeding, wintering and migratory stopover site for a wide range of birds, including razorbill, common murre, American black duck, sanderling, purple sandpiper, bufflehead, Canada geese, ring-necked duck, northern pintail, American wigeon, common eider and North American brant.

• The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) has assessed several birds found on Grand Manan: red knot is endangered; barn swallow, bank swallow, common nighthawk, Canada warbler, bobolink, olive-sided flycatcher are threatened; eastern wood-pewee and rusty blackbird are special concern. Some of these species are also listed under the Canadian Species at Risk Act (SARA). The monarch butterfly, listed under both COSEWIC and SARA, has been sighted on NCC’s new Grand Manan properties. 
• The most comprehensive report of its kind, the State of the North America’s Birds Report 2016, sounded the alarm that one third of bird species in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico are now of “major conservation concern.” Loss of habitat is one of the key reasons for the decline in bird populations. For more information and to read the full report, visit

• Wetlands, like those protected by NCC on Grand Manan, provide shelter, food and habitat for a large number and variety of wildlife species, and provide benefits to surrounding communities, such as clean water and flood protection.


The Nature Conservancy of Canada is the nation's leading land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the plants and animals they sustain. Since 1962, NCC and its partners have helped to protect more than 1.1 million hectares (2.8 million acres) across the country. The Nature Conservancy of Canada has conserved more than 29,500 hectares (73,000 acres) in the Atlantic provinces. 

The Natural Areas Conservation Program (NACP) is a unique public-private partnership to accelerate the pace of land conservation across southern Canada. The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) manages the program. To date, $277.5 million has been invested in the NACP by the Government of Canada, with more than $500 million in matching contributions raised by NCC and Its partners. Habitat conserved under the NACP enhances natural corridors to other protected areas.

To learn more about the Ecological Gifts Program, visit or

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Kathryn Morse
Director of Communications - Atlantic Provinces

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