For bird watchers, Nova Scotia is the perfect place to see a wide variety of both land and sea birds. From watching majestic eagles and energetic piping plovers, to spotting rare species like the Northern Oriole and Eastern Meadowlark and migratory geese, hawks and osprey, the forests and coasts of Nova Scotia offer some of the best year-round bird watching opportunities in North America.
One of the most popular bird watching destinations is Sheffield Mills, located near Canning in the Annapolis Valley. Here, hundreds of Bald Eagles arrive to spend the winter months feeding on shellfish from the Bay of Fundy. The best time to visit is in late January, when a week is dedicated to feeding the eagles and giving dedicated bird watchers the opportunity to see these incredible birds up close. Year round you’ll find Bald Eagles soaring over many areas throughout Nova Scotia, such as Cape Breton’s Bras d’Or Lakes or the St. Mary’s River on the Eastern Shore.
A close cousin of the Bald Eagle is the Osprey, a bird of prey that feeds almost exclusively on fish. That makes the Osprey perfectly at home in this seacoast province and has become such a common sight that it has been named Nova Scotia’s official bird.
Another popular destination in Nova Scotia for bird watchers is Cape Breton’s Bird Island, located between Baddeck and North Sydney. Between May and September, Bird Island Boat Tours and Donelda's Bird Island Puffin Tours offer unique views of Atlantic Puffins, Razorbills, Black-legged Kittiwakes and Great Cormorants – just to name a few!
Away from the ocean coast, amidst forests and around Nova Scotia’s many rivers and lakes, bird watchers will find even more birding sites to explore. Old growths of oaks, maples and birches are home to an array of songbirds, doves and woodpeckers while the ground below provides coverage for pheasants, partridges, and grouse. Loons, herons and a wide variety of ducks can be found plying Nova Scotia’s waters, while Common Yellowthroats, Chestnut-sided Warblers and White throated Sparrows dart through open fields.
Given how Nova Scotia is both home and a migration stopover to many species of birds, it is no wonder the province has become a popular place for bird watchers. All that is required are sharp eyes, keen ears and some quiet time in Canada’s seacoast province.