New Brunswick

Black-capped Chickadee Parus atricapillus ©Dubi Shapiro Website

New Brunswick is one of the thirteen provinces and territories of Canada. It is one of the three Maritime provinces and one of the four Atlantic provinces. It is roughly square in shape and is bordered by Quebec to the north, Nova Scotia to the east, the Gulf of Saint Lawrence to the northeast, the Bay of Fundy to the southeast, and the US state of Maine to the west. New Brunswick is over 80% forested, glaciation left much of the uplands with only shallow, acidic soils, and its northern half is mountainous, occupied by the Appalachians.  New Brunswick has a surface area of just under 73,000 km2 (28,000 square miles) and has around 700,000 inhabitants. Atypically for Canada, only about half of the population lives in urban areas. New Brunswick’s largest city is Moncton, while its capital is Fredericton.

New Brunswick’s climate is more severe than that of the other Maritime provinces, which are lower and have more shoreline along the moderating sea. It has a humid continental climate, with slightly milder winters on the Gulf of St. Lawrence coastline. Elevated parts of the far north of the province have a subarctic climate. Generally, the province’s climate is continental with snowy winters and temperate summers.

Today less than one per cent of old-growth, endangered, Acadian forest remains. Following the frequent large scale disturbances caused by settlement and timber harvesting, the Acadian forest is not growing back as it was, but is subject to borealisation. This means that exposure-resistant species that are well adapted to the frequent large-scale disturbances common in the boreal forest are increasingly abundant. These include jack pine, balsam fir, black spruce, white birch, and poplar. Forest ecosystems support large carnivores such as the bobcat, Canada lynx, and black bear, and the large herbivores moose and white-tailed deer.

Birding New Brunswick

Although one of Canada’s smallest provinces, New Brunswick is remarkably diverse. From the contrasting coastlines of the Bay of Fundy and the Gulf of St. Lawrence, it rises to 820m Mount Carleton in the northern highlands. The human population is concentrated near the sea and the major rivers that drain the picturesque rolling landscape. More than 400 species of birds have been found in the province.

Big Salmon River – Fundy Trail ©Tony Webster San Francisco CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Most visiting birders come to this province for maritime species, including taking pelagics off Grand Manan, and inshore seabirds and shorebirds at many points along the coast. Island seabird colonies are most numerous in the western Bay of Fundy, with a few in Miramichi Bay and Baie des Chaleurs. Salt-water lagoons and sandy beaches are found mainly along the eastern coast, whereas the Fundy shore is more rugged and rocky with very large tides that expose an extensive tidal zone. Salt marshes (Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow is the characteristic nesting bird) are found mainly near river mouths, especially at the head of the Bay of Fundy and along the eastern coast.

In most areas the forest is a mixture of coniferous and deciduous trees but conifers dominate in the cooler climates of the northern uplands and along the Fundy coast, and deciduous woods are found on many well-drained hilltops and slopes and along river flood plains. A good variety of warblers and other birds nest in these forests. Species of boreal distribution, mainly in the highland areas, are of particular interest to birders from warmer climates.

There are numerous lakes and rivers. Freshwater marshes occur mainly along the lower Saint John Valley and in lowlands near the coast. Man-made impounded marshes attract a wide variety of water birds. Open bogs, most common along the north-eastern coast, are less diverse. Towns, villages and farmlands contribute to the variety of bird species that may be seen.

The best time to visit is from late May to mid-July for breeding species, and the last week in July to mid-September for shorebird migration. From mid-April through May offers the best of spring migration, late August to mid-October is best for autumn movements. In winter the best birding is generally for ducks and seabirds in the outer Bay of Fundy, but some years incursions of northern finches or birds of prey may be of interest in other areas. Most of the northern and eastern coast is frozen by early January.

Top Sites
  • Campobello Island

    InformationSatellite View
    Campobello Island is another good birding spot in the Quoddy Region. The Roosevelt-Campobello International Park contains most of the same nesting warblers as Quoddy Head State Park with higher numbers of Cape May, Mourning, Palm, Bay-breasted, and Tennessee Warblers plus Northern Waterthrush. Boreal Chickadee, Gray Jay, and Black-backed Woodpecker nest here. The park road which passes behind the Campobello Island Information Center has most of the boreal nesting species in fairly high densities. A Bicknells Thrush responded to playbacks along the road to Fox Farm in 1993.
  • Grand Manan Island

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Grand Manan Island is the main birding destination in New Brunswick. Of special interest there are seabirds (Common Eider, Black Guillemot, Double-crested Cormorant, gulls) that nest on several smaller surrounding islands and islets, and the Arctic Tern, Atlantic Puffin, Razorbill and Common Murre found only on Machias Seal Island or the Murr Ledges. From mid-summer through fall thousands of pelagic birds (shearwaters, storm-petrels, Northern Gannet, Black-legged Kittiwake, jaegers, phalaropes, alcids) gather to feed in the rich turbulent waters offshore. Some of these may be seen from the ferry that serves the island from Blacks Harbour on the New Brunswick mainland but better opportunities likely can be had from a seabird or whale-watching boat tour. For details of Grand Manan Island see the website. Grand Manan itself has a nice variety of breeding songbirds, and during migration it can offer both abundance and diversity of migrating land birds. It is well known for frequent occurrence of rare vagrants during migration. Closer to the mainland, the waters around Campobello and Deer Islands in Passamaquoddy Bay also offer a variety of seabirds year round. During late summer and fall, gulls gather in abundance to feed in the strong currents of the passages between these islands.
  • Jemseg Wetlands

    InformationSatellite View
    Inland, the wetlands of the Jemseg area, east of Fredericton, the provincial capital, are well known for the ducks and geese that pause there during high water levels in spring. Many ducks and rails nest in the area but are mostly retiring and difficult to see.
  • Miscou Island

    InformationSatellite View
    Low-lying Miscou Island, and the shores of the Acadian Peninsula, the northeastern tip of New Brunswick, offer extensive beach, bog and estuary habitat good for gulls, terns, and shorebirds, including breeding Piping Plovers. Noteworthy concentrations of songbirds occur during fall migration.
  • New Brunswick Parks

    New Brunswick's three main parks, Fundy National Park, Kouchibouguac National Park, and Mount Carleton Provincial Park, each have excellent trail systems that give great opportunities to observe the breeding birds of forest habitats. Remote Mount Carleton (50km NE of Plaster Rock) has the strongest representation of boreal species. Bicknell's Thrush is a specialty in that area. Besides forest and bogs, Kouchibouguac has a coastal system of estuaries, sand beaches and dunes that have breeding Common Tern, Osprey and Piping Plover and autumn migrant shorebirds. Fundy is also on the coast, not far from the late summer concentrations of small shorebirds at Marys Point and the impounded marshes of Shepody National Wildlife Area.
  • Restigouche Estuary

    Information PDFSatellite View
    The Restigouche estuary upriver from Dalhousie is an important staging ground for tens of thousands of Black Scoters during their migration in late April and the first half of May. Open water near a power plant just east of Dalhousie attracts a few hundred over-wintering Barrow's Goldeneyes.
  • Tantramar Marsh

    InformationSatellite View
    The town of Sackville, is situated adjacent the open fields, pastures and wetlands of the Tantramar Marsh. The boardwalks and trails of the town`s Waterfowl Park and Tantramar Wetlands Centre offer excellent viewing of ducks and other marsh birds. Sackville is a short drive from the shorebird concentrations of the Dorchester Cape - Johnsons Mills area on Shepody Bay.
  • David Christie

    Albert County, New Brunswick, Canada |

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 441

    As at May 2024.

    Provincial Bird - Black-capped Chickadee Parus atricapillus

  • Avibase

    PDF Checklist
    This checklist includes all bird species found in New Brunswick , based on the best information available at this time. It is based on a wide variety of sources that I collated over many years. I am pleased to offer these checklists as a service to birdwatchers. If you find any error, please do not hesitate to report them.
  • Nature NB

    PDF Checklist
    This checklist includes all 411 bird species currently ac - cepted by the New Brunswick Bird Records Commitee (NBBRC). The names are those adopted by the American Ornithologists’ Union (AOU) as of 2006. Observations of any species not on the list or classed as accidental should be documented by sending written details, photos, etc. to the N.B. Bird Records Committee (address and forms available at - dex.html).
  • Wikipedia

    Annotated List
    New Brunswick is a Maritime province within Canada, bordered by Quebec to the north, Nova Scotia to the east, the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the northeast, the Bay of Fundy to the southeast, and the U.S. state of Maine to the west.
  • eBird

    Illustrated Checklist
  • Fundy Bird Observatory

    Observatory WebsiteSatellite View
    Brian Dalzell, a local naturalist, has been the driving force behind the establishment of a bird observatory on Grand Manan. He began banding migrating land birds in 1995 from the Grand Manan Archipelago and established the Grand Manan Bird Observatory to accomplish this goal…
Museums & Universities
  • Gaskin Museum of Marine Life

    The GMWSRS fully agreed with the principals of the Grand Manan Bird Observatory (GMBO) and had been acting in an administrative function until it was decided to dissolve the GMBO and create the Fundy Bird Observatory (FBO) as a project of the GMWSRS. The FBO, if successful, will become another link in the long term monitoring of bird populations. A fund raising effort began in the winter of 1999 to interest enough people in supporting the costs of a spring and fall migration monitoring program. With the generous support of donors both seasons were achieved and a newsletter has been published.
  • Club D’ornithologie du Madawaska

    Le Club d'ornithologie du Madawaska Ltée (COML) œuvre dans la région depuis 1987. L’organisme a pour but d’y faire connaître la faune ailée aux personnes intéressées par ce monde fascinant des oiseaux. Le COML s’est aussi donné comme mission de voir à la protection des marais et des milieux humides.
  • Club de Naturalistes de la Péninsule Acadienne

    La Péninsule acadienne PA est située au nord-est du Nouveau-Brunswick sur la côte est du Canada. La Péninsule est une pointe de terre qui s'avance dans l'océan entre la baie des Chaleurs et le golfe du St-Laurent.
  • Club des Ami(e)s de la Nature du Sud-Est

    Des liens vers notre programme d'activités, nos albums de photos, notre page Facebook, notre blogue sur les champignons, ... et autres ressources.
  • Fredericton Nature Club

    Thanks to an increase in membership, the enthusiasm of members, and a rich variety of presentations and outings, 2023 was a good year for our club. Autumn 2023 was notable with planning for the club year completed ahead of time, with a social time at the beginning of meetings, and with special events like the two-part birdwatching workshops.
  • Hampton Nature Club

    Facebook Page
    The Hampton Nature Club is a group of nature enthusiasts wanting to share knowledge through meetings and outings. When posting photos, please identify the species and indicate where and when the photo was taken.
  • Nature Miramichi

    The Miramichi Naturalists’ Club is made up of members who enjoy the natural environment and meet on a regular basis to share experiences, ideas and programs. New members are welcome. Please contact club president.
  • Nature Moncton

    All meetings, outings and workshops dates are subject to change and more get added as the season progresses so be sure to check the Info-line and website regularly.
  • Nature New Brunswick

    Facebook Page
    Established in 1972, Nature NB is a non-profit, charitable organization whose mission is to celebrate, conserve and protect New Brunswick's natural heritage through education, networking and collaboration
  • Nature Restigouche

    Facebook Page
    Restigouche Naturalists Club, c/o Mike Lushington, 214 Rosebery Street, Campbellton, NB E3N 2H5
  • Nature Sussex

    Nature Sussex meets on the 4th Mondays of September to November and January to May at St. Mark’s Anglican Church Hall, in Sussex Corner, N.B. at 7:00 pm. We have regular field trips and outdoor events throughout the year. You will find them listed in the Our Events page as soon as arrangements are finalized.
  • Nature Trust of New Brunswick

    Facebook Page
    Established in 1987, the Nature Trust of New Brunswick is a charitable land conservation organization that is responsible for conserving over 7000 acres (2600 hectares) in more than 50 beautiful and diverse nature preserves throughout the province.
  • New Brunswick Birders

    Facebook Page
    We are looking for all members, no matter your skill level. Sightings with any accompanying photos can be posted in the "Birding Forum" under the "Birding Q&A" or "Sightings" categories.
  • New Brunswick Birds Records Committee

    The New Brunswick Bird Records Committee was formed to ensure that adequate information is preserved about unusual occurrences of birds in New Brunswick, to provide a process for formal acceptance of bird species to the provincial list, and generally to advance knowledge of birds in New Brunswick. The committee consists of five voting members, who are experienced birders, and a representative of the New Brunswick Museum, the repository for the bird documentation.
  • Saint John Naturalists' Club

    Established in 1962, the Saint John Naturalists' Club welcomes everyone interested in the study, conservation, and enjoyment of nature in New Brunswick.
  • The Miramichi Naturalists’ Club is made up of members who enjoy the natural environment and meet on a regular basis to share experiences, ideas and programs. New members are welcome. Please contact club president.

    Facebook Page
    Fostering an awareness of the natural world

Abbreviations Key

  • Grand Manan Whale & Seabird Research Station

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Grand Manan is a paradise for bird-watchers. Puffins and Arctic terns, marsh-dwelling cranes and heron, magnificent eagles and peregrine falcons -- the island boasts hundreds of species. The outer island of greatest importance to bird-watchers is Machias Seal Island, 19 kilometres (12mi.) off Southern Head. This lonely outcropping is a nesting ground for a variety of marine birds. Arctic terns, Leachs petrels and common puffins spend the nesting season here before heading out to sea where they spend the remainder of the year. The Machias Seal Island sanctuary is carefully supervised by both Americans and Canadians. During July, boats from Seal Cove, Grand Manan, will take bird-watchers for a memorable visit.
  • IBA Shepody Bay

    InformationSatellite View
    The bay is important for the large numbers of shorebirds using the site. Along with Mary's Point, the Shepody Bay site hosts the largest numbers of Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla with maximum numbers at roosting sites occasionally exceeding 400,000 birds…
  • IBA Tabusintac Lagoon & River Estuary

    InformationSatellite View
    Bay is protected from the Gulf of St. Lawrence by the Tabusintac Beach barrier beach and dune system, a 15km long system comprised of shoals, beaches, islands and dunes…
  • NP Fundy

    InformationSatellite View
    List of trails etc…
  • NP Kouchibouguac

    InformationSatellite View
    Kouchibouguac National Park lies in the New Brunswick lowlands, part of the physiographic region classified as the Maritime Plain. Sloping gently to the coast, the land is generally flat, relived by some small knolls separating river basins and short, steep river basins and short, steep river banks in spots…
  • NPr Blueberry Hill

    WebpageSatellite View
    The Blueberry Hill Nature Preserve is one of the last undeveloped properties in the area and supports a variety of ecosystems and walking trails. The Friends of Blueberry Hill serve as stewards of the preserve.
  • NPr Caughey-Taylor

    WebpageSatellite View
    The hills surrounding Sam Orr’s Pond were originally covered with local climactic vegetation of spruce, fir, cedar, beech, maple and birch. Today, there is a considerable second growth that has overgrown fields and clear cuts. The surrounding marsh supports dense populations of grasses and marsh plants. Wigeon sea grass, Ruppia marina and Zostera marina are the dominant pond plants while Fucus vesiculosus and Enteromorpha sp. are common in the rapids. Enteromorpha dominates the isolated ponds in the marsh.
  • NPr Connors Bros. Nature Preserve at Pea Point

    WebpageSatellite View
    The ecological diversity and significance of this property is linked to the Fundy tides. The large volume of water passing through the narrow passages in and out of the Bay produce upwellings that move nutrients and organic materials that can support high concentrations of the plankton that many birds and marine mammals feed on. Pea Point is a migratory stopover site for the eastern population of the harlequin duck, a species at risk. The nearby Machias Seal Island is one of the few known nesting spots for the Arctic tern and supports the largest Atlantic puffin colony in the Maritimes. The Quoddy Region has been proposed as a Marine Protected Area because of the large congregation of birds and marine mammals.
  • NPr Hyla Park

    WebpageSatellite View
    Hyla Park has a number of wetlands and ponds that vary in size with the seasons. In addition to the gray tree frog, this preserve is home to six other species of frogs and toads which is significant due to the concern about their declining populations.
  • NR Daly Point

    WebpageSatellite View
    Daly Point Nature Reserve, located just northeast of the Bathurst Harbor on Carron Drive, is a naturalist's dream as it boasts some 100 acres of pristine salt marsh, wooded plots and an extensive network of trails.
  • NR Irving Nature Park

    Facebook PageSatellite View
    Welcome to the Irving Nature Park located in Saint John, New Brunswick along the Bay of Fundy coastline. Some of the park's natural charms are its long sandy beaches and well-groomed woodlands, great for back packing and hiking. Over 20 kilometers of nature trails clearly marked for ease of access. Here you can enjoy bird watching, from a vast variety like: Cormorants, the Black-Capped Chickadee (New Brunswick's provincial bird), Tree Swallows, Loons, Great Blue Herons, Sandpipers, Geese, Black Ducks and many more. Over 250 species have been recorded in this area alone…
  • NWA Cape Jourimain

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Welcome to the Cape Jourimain Nature Centre. The Centre is located in a 675 hectare National Wildlife Area, and has been developed in cooperation with the Canadian Wildlife Service. Cape Jourimain was designated a National Wildlife Area to conserve important wildlife habitat.
  • New Brunswick Nature Trust - List of Reserves

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Annotated list
  • PP Mount Carleton

    WebpageSatellite View
    According to Deichmann (1970), over 100 species of birds have been recorded in the park. Some of the more common species are the tree swallow, the robin, the hermit thrush, the evening grosbeak, and the white-throated sparrow…
  • SR Mary's Point

    InformationSatellite View
    Although only a small part of Shepody National Wildlife Area, Mary's Point is unique for several reasons. Situated on the upper Bay of Fundy, it lies on the migratory route of many species of birds. But why does this location have one of the biggest concentrations of shorebirds on the North American coast?
  • WP Sackville

    InformationSatellite View
    Discover a wetland world beneath your feet…
Sightings, News & Forums
  • New Brunswick Birders

    A place to post sightings, photos and questions about birds of New Brunswick. We welcome all new members, and ask everyone to review the entire…
  • eBird

    The report below shows observations of rare birds in New Brunswick. Includes both unreviewed and reviewed/approved observations.
Guides & Tour Operators
  • Bird Treks

    Tour Operator
    Bird Treks has been providing small group and custom birding tours for over 20 years. Visit their website to see the incredible tours available, including pelagic birding and whale watching in New Brunswick!
  • Eagle-Eye Tours

    Tour Operator
    Incredible shorebird migration along the shores of Bay of Fundy
Trip Reports
  • 2017 [09 September] - Barry Zimmer

    PDF Report
    ...Great Black-backed Gulls followed our boat looking for a handout, and several Common Loons were spotted nearby. We slowed down as we approached Black Rocks and found them covered with Great Cormorants...
  • 2023 [08 August] - Jared Clarke & Dominic Cormier

    Our group of ten nature lovers and two guides explored birding hotspots across New Brunswick (including the beautiful island of Grand Manan) from August 11-20.
Places to Stay
  • Owen House - B&B

    The Owen House is a large historic colonial inn on a headland overlooking Passamaquoddy Bay. The old house still has much of its origional construction and furniture, and quilts and fireplaces which add warmth and charm. We are famous for our breakfasts and beautiful location.
Other Links
  • Alain Clavette

    Birder, Columnist, Ornithology Teacher Photographer, Free lancer, Tour Leader; Obsessed with birding ;) Tweets about my birding in Acadia(New-Brunswick, Canada)
  • Grand Manan Birds

    There are 391 New Brunswick bird species currently accepted by the New Brunswick Bird Records Committee…
Photographers & Artists
  • Artist - Lars Larsen

    Lars Larsen, wildlife artist (painter) at Studio on the Marsh
  • Artist - Steven Smith - Birds of Crocker Hill

    Lured by a botanical banquet, birds pause for their portraits in the lush riverside gardens that surround Gail and Steve Smith`s Crocker Hill Studios in New Brunswick, Canada. Ruby-throated hummingbirds whir in the bee balm, and, as the mists lift off the St. Croix River in the morning, you might see a family of bald eagles soaring in search of breakfast. Bit by bit, the birds influenced both our planting and my painting, says Steve.

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