Binoculars in-hand, the national parks in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and PEI offer excellent birdwatching vacations. Hiking trails and beach access allow visitors to enter undisturbed or rarely visited habitats where piping plovers strive to nest, great blue herons wait patiently for a catch, warblers dart along branches, and ospreys circle high above looking for a flash of scales.
Nova Scotia Bird Watching in Keji Park
Visitors can seek out Nova Scotia bird watching opportunities on coastal beaches as well as in forest areas. Kejimkujik National Park has a great blend of coastal and inland bird watching. The large inland body of water, Lake Kejimkujik, teems with waterfowl. Loons, mergansers, and black ducks can be see swimming on the lake or heard in the morning mist. Forest bird watching may highlight woodpeckers or owls.
Facilities in Kejimkujik National Park for bird watching include sitting areas along the shore, ecological viewing towers, or on the water in a kayak or canoe. The national park website notes more than 170 species of birds in the park including 20 species of warblers. At the Keji Seaside Adjuct, watch for shore birds such as piping plovers.
Kejimkujik National Park, Nova Scotia, 902-682-2772
PEI Bird Watching
PEI National Park offers further opportunities for shorebird watching and includes more than 300 species of birds throughout the park. Besides the endangered piping plover, look for great blue herons, cormorants, and ospreys.
If staying at a PEI bed and breakfast, ask in advance if they have a hummingbird feeder. In summer, hummingbirds are very active throughout the Maritimes and are particularly fond of the red feeders stocked with sugary liquid.
Prince Edward Island National Park, Northern shore of PEI, 902-672-6350
New Brunswick Bird Watching
About 200 species of birds live for all or part of the year in Kouchibouguac National Park on New Brunswick’s eastern edge. On the shore look for plovers or any of the nine species of sandpiper that nest here. Egrets, common eiders, red-tailed hawks, and woodpeckers also can be seen in the national park.
Kouchibouguac National Park, New Brunswick, 506-876-2443
Fundy National Park features tidal flats at Alma Beach where bird watchers can view semi-palmated sandpipers and plovers. A unique bird watching opportunity in the park includes spotting the Peregrine falcon. Also called a duck hawk, falcons had abandoned the area before the park became protected but the species has now been reintroduced.
Fundy National Park, Alma, New Brunswick, 506-887-6000
Bird Watching in the Canadian Maritimes
Bird watching supplies are fairly basic – a pair of good walking shoes and some patience are the starter kit for a bird watching expedition in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, or PEI. National parks offer excellent bird guides and brochures on species found within the park, making the activity more accessible for those new to bird watching. Shore birds are best viewed with binoculars and details on tide tables (especially for viewing ocean-reliant birds) and birding books are handy for intermediate bird watchers.