Get to Know Your Important Bird Area

Image of a duck and its babies

Taken by Don Hackett at Andrew Haydon Park

Here in the National Capital Region, we’re lucky to have an Important Bird Area right in the heart of the city. Just minutes from the downtown core and accessible by public transportation, the Lac Deschênes Important Bird Area (IBA) is a piece of natural habitat that is cherished by Ottawans and residents of Gatineau and is an important area for the region’s birds and other species.

Why is it so important?

The Lac Deschênes – Ottawa River Important Bird Area is one of the most important places for migrating and breeding birds in Ottawa-Gatineau.

Thousands of waterfowl and waterbirds congregate here each spring and fall as they migrate between breeding grounds in northern Quebec and Ontario to areas farther south. Tens of thousands of songbirds also use the river and its forested borders for food and shelter. It’s like a wildlife super highway.

Over 300 bird species have been observed in the IBA, making it one of the region’s premier birding locales. Ring-billed Gulls, Double-crested Cormorants, Great Egrets and Black-crowned Night Herons breed on some mid-channel islands. The Britannia Conservation Area comes alive in spring with up to 100 species of songbirds returning from southern wintering grounds.

Impressive numbers of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, plants and insects are found at the IBA. Some are regionally or nationally at-risk, including Harlequin Duck, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Peregrine Falcon, Common Nighthawk, Barn Swallow, Red-headed Woodpecker and Wood Thrush.

If you live in the Ottawa-Gatineau region, why not come out this weekend and help us clean-up the IBA while getting to know the local wildlife? For upcoming events at our IBA, check out Lac Deschênes website.

Nature Canada is a partner, with Bird Studies Canada, in delivering the Important Bird Areas Program in Canada. Canada’s IBA Program plays a critical role in national bird conservation efforts. Major support for the program comes from TransCanada Corporation, Wildlife Habitat Canada, and the Government of Canada.

To learn more about the program and to find out if you live near an IBA, visit the IBA website.