Birds that are worth a visit
Keep your eyes peeled! Here are some rare or special interest birds that you might spot in the different national parks.
- Wood Thrush - Parc national d’Oka
- Common Loon - Parc national du Mont-Tremblant
- Whip-poor-will - Parc national d’Opémican
- Barred Owl - Parc national du Mont-Saint-Bruno
- Red Crossbill - Parc national d’Anticosti
- Canada Warbler - Parc national d’Aiguebelle
- Three-striped Warbler - Parc national des Monts-Valin
- Golden Eagle - Parc national de la Gaspésie
- Orange-crowned Warbler - Parc national du Mont-Orford
- Peregrine Falcon - Parc national du Fjord-du-Saguenay
- Bald Eagle - Parc national du Lac-Témiscouata
- Sandhill Crane - Parc national de la Pointe-Taillon
- American Kingfisher - Parc national de la Yamaska
- Canada Chickadee - Parc national des Grands-Jardins
- Bicknell's Thrush - Parc national du Mont-Mégantic
- Tawny Sparrow - Parc national des Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie
- Prothonotary Warbler - Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier
- Barn Swallow - Parc national des îles de Boucherville
- Common Eider - Parc national du Bic
- Black Tern - Parc national de Plaisance
- Russet-crowned Warbler - Parc national de Frontenac
- Razorbill - Parc national de l’Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé
Wood Thrush – Parc national d'Oka
In Québec, the wood thrush population dropped by 86% between 1970 and 2017. However, this endangered species is still relatively common in bitternut-hickory maple groves, such as the one in Parc national d’Oka. The reproduction of the species in the park remains under the careful scrutiny of researchers. Let its flute-like song guide you, and you can spot it by its red back and heavily black spotted breast.
Common Loon – Parc national du Mont-Tremblant
Its haunting call echoes throughout the summer at dusk in Parc national du Mont-Tremblant. During the day, this outstanding swimmer and diver shows off its elegant black head, white collar, and checkered back. If you witness its take-off, you’ll watch it run on the water for tens of metres before taking off at speeds of 120 km/h!
Whip-poor-will – Parc national d’Opémican
The whip-poor-will, a threatened species in Canada, is fond of pine forests. For this reason, Parc national d’Opémican is one of the few places where you have a good chance of spotting it. Because the whip-poor-will is camouflaged in the dead leaves with its grey, brown, and black plumage, it’s easier to hear at night when it whistles the "whip-poor-will" song that gave it such a name.
Barred Owl – Parc national du Mont-Saint-Bruno
The powerful hooting of the barred owl is often heard between Lac Seigneurial and Lac à la Tortue in Parc national du Mont-Saint-Bruno. More active during the day than other owl species, the barred owl shows off its round head, its gray-brown and white plumage, and its large black eyes. Since the barred owl is satisfied with a territory of one or two square kilometres to nest in, this bird is never far away.
Red Crossbill – Parc national d’Anticosti
It was thought that the percna subspecies of the crossbill bred only on the island of Newfoundland and that it was threatened by the introduction of the red squirrel. It has since been discovered that it also nests on Anticosti Island, where the red squirrel is nowhere to be seen. The red crossbill can be distinguished by its plumage, red in the male and olive in the female, but especially by its two crossing mandibles that allow it to feed on conifer seeds.
Canada Warbler – Parc national d’Aiguebelle
The Canada warbler stands out with its black collar and yellow "eyeglasses." Listed as an endangered species in Canada, it remains widespread in Abitibi-Témiscamingue. Parc national d’Aiguebelle is a great place to admire its eye-catching appearance!
Three-striped Warbler – Parc national des Monts-Valin
When the three-striped warbler heads to South America for the winter, it flies nearly 3,000 kilometres non-stop across the Atlantic in just three days! Upon its return, this warbler nests in the Valin mountains in summer, where it can be recognized by its black cap and white cheeks. Not everyone can hear the three-striped warbler for its song sometimes reaches high frequencies that are imperceptible to some.
Golden Eagle – Parc national de la Gaspésie
Its blond neck and brown plumage stand out against the blue sky of the Chic-Chocs mountains. Since 2004, the golden eagle’s nesting in Parc national de la Gaspésie has been a well known fact. You can admire this bird’s imposing presence when it soars over long distances, with its wingspan exceeding two full metres.
Orange-crowned Warbler – Parc national du Mont-Orford
In the early morning, the orange-crowned warbler sings in crescendo. Despite its orange crown with two black grooves, it often goes unnoticed, walking unobtrusively among the dead leaves where it builds its nest. The orange-crowned warbler has staked a claim to all of Parc national du Mont-Orford, except for the stunted forests at higher elevations.
Peregrine Falcon – Parc national du Fjord-du-Saguenay
As fast as 389 km/h! This is the speed that a peregrine falcon can reach when it swoops down on its prey. There are 10 or so nesting sites along the rock faces of Parc national du Fjord-du-Saguenay, a sign that this bird of prey is making a comeback since the banning of a pesticide, DDT, which had led to the rapid decimation of its populations.
Bald Eagle – Parc national du Lac-Témiscouata
It is the avian emblem of the United States, but also of Parc national du Lac-Témiscouata. It was even the star of a reality show! A camera was installed on top of a large pine tree where a pair of birds nested every year. The images were broadcast live to Anse-à-William Discovery Centre. It’s not uncommon for the bald eagle to hover over fish-rich Lac Témiscouata, waiting to eat its fill.
Sandhill Crane – Parc national de la Pointe-Taillon
The mating dance of the sandhill crane is a sight to behold. You can witness the choreography of this bird, as big as a heron, but twice as heavy, at Parc national de la Pointe-Taillon, one of its breeding grounds. A show that you’ll want to crane around to see!
American Kingfisher – Parc national de la Yamaska
Choinière reservoir offers the American kingfisher an excellent place to catch fish with its long, straight, pointed bill. Early in the morning, at Parc national de la Yamaska, you might see its disproportionately large blue head and small body, always ready for a new fishing adventure.
Canada Chickadee – Parc national des Grands-Jardins
The Canada chickadee sometimes incubates its eggs in March under the snowfall. In Parc national des Grands-Jardins, you’re more likely to encounter this mischievous bird in summer. During the warm season, it stores provisions in multiple places under the bark of trees or under lichens, in order to get through the rigours of the Laurentian winter.
Bicknell's Thrush – Parc national du Mont-Mégantic
Rare and endangered, this discreet forest bird is mainly found at high altitudes, in dense coniferous groves in Parc national du Mont-Mégantic. You can hear its flute-like song and sometimes observe it at the top of a spruce or fir tree during a hike on the Cimes trails, on the slopes of Mont Mégantic and Mont Saint-Joseph.
Tawny Sparrow – Parc national des Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie
The likelihood of encountering the tawny sparrow in Parc national des Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie has increased over the past few decades. So stay on the lookout. You’ll recognize this plucky bird by its plump silhouette, its red back, and its white belly streaked with red feathers.
Prothonotary Warbler – Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier
Rain or shine, the prothonotary warbler stands out from the vegetation with its bright orange throat and black mask around its eyes. This warbler likes yellow birch fir forests, like the one in Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier. It can be heard singing early in the morning or at sunset, in a sky the same colour as its throat.
Barn Swallow – Parc national des Îles-de-Boucherville
The barn swallow is happiest in the fields. But grain crops and pesticide use caused its population to drop by more than 90% in Québec between 1970 and 2014. To help this species that COSEWIC has designated as of special concern, custom-made nests have been built on Île de la Commune in Parc national des Îles-de-Boucherville, in collaboration with QuébecOiseaux. Now you may more often admire its high fluttering and its forked tail, waiting in the wings!
Common Eider – Parc national du Bic
Scanning Anse à l'Orignal on the aptly named Pointe aux Eiders, in Parc national du Bic, you can easily observe a flock of eiders. Nearby Île Bicquette hosts one of the largest common eider colonies in the St. Lawrence estuary. The females group the ducklings together to better protect them from predators and lead them into the bay to feed them on molluscs and crustaceans.
Black Tern – Parc national de Plaisance
Although it frequents the open sea in winter, the black tern stays in fresh water during the summer. Two colonies are found in the shallow marshes of Parc national de Plaisance, an oasis for this silver-winged tern that faces several threats, including the proliferation of common reed, which cuts off its access to open water where it can hunt for aquatic insects and small fish.
Russet-crowned Warbler – Parc national de Frontenac
The bog is without a doubt the favourite playground of the russet-crowned warbler, recognizable by its russet cap and bright yellow auburn-striped belly. This is why the bog in Saint-Daniel sector of Parc national de Frontenac is the ideal place to observe this bird in action and hear its trill during the nesting season, between May and July.
Razorbill – Parc national de l’Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé
The razorbill could have suffered the same fate as its cousin the great auk, which disappeared in the 19th century, had it not been for measures taken in the early 20th century to curb razorbill hunting. Today, between 2,000 and 3,000 individuals nest in the crevices and cliff edges of Île Bonaventure. This black-headed bird with a beak crossed by fine white lines can be admired there when it isn’t searching for its prey 100 metres underwater.