More than 360 species of birds have been spotted across the Bay of Fundy area, including such endangered species as the peregrine falcon and the piping plover. The Bay is a fantastic destination for a lot of birdwatchers, especially during migration season, due to its convenient location along the Atlantic Flyway. It’s computed that between two and three million birds migrate along the Atlantic Flyway annually; three-quarters of which stop in the Fundy region, making it the most vital stopping point along all of the Eastern seaboard.
Mary’s Point Bird Sanctuary – situated along the Fundy shores in Albert County, New Brunswick between Fundy National Park and the well-known Hopewell Rocks – is one of the prime locations along the Bay for watching shorebirds, especially the semipalmated sandpiper.
Hundreds of thousands of semipalmated sandpipers stop in Fundy each summer as part of their migration from their Arctic breeding areas to their winter home of South America. Why? Well, they come here to become fat. The birds follow the tide line as it advances and recedes. At high tide the sandpipers roost but as the Fundy tide recedes, these little birds scurry from one hole to the next. Using sight and their comparatively long bills, each sandpiper will eat between 9600-23000 mud shrimp each tide cycle. During their time in the Bay of Fundy area, the sandpipers will double their weight of approximately 20 grams so as to increase their fat reserves to complete the remaining 4000km of their migration, non-stop!
As well as Mary’s Point, these sandpipers have shown preference for Grande-Anse, Starrs Point and Evangeline Beach. The first semipalmated sandpipers generally do not arrive in Fundy until mid-July.
Another favourite bird seen in Fundy area is the Atlantic Puffin. Located nearer the mouth of the Bay, Machias Seal Island is the temporary home to not only nesting puffins but also nesting arctic and common terns and razorbills. Access to this little island is limited and landing is done at one’s own risk as the terrain can be quite slippery and uneven. The sanctuary is protected by the Canadian Wildlife Service.