St. Joseph Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Fort St. Joseph National Historic Site

In addition to being a National Historic Site, the land and water around Fort St Joseph is also a designated migratory bird sanctuary! The St. Joseph’s Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary is located on the tip of St. Joseph’s Island, Ontario, and extends offshore to the International Boundary with the United States on the St. Mary’s River. This sanctuary was established in 1951 in order to protect migratory birds from the extensive hunting that was taking place in the area at that time.


Due to St. Joseph Island’s unique position in the Great Lakes region, migratory bird routes pass over the area to avoid long crossings over the vast waters of the lakes. Spring and fall migrations are particularly busy, with rare visitors from the north sometimes being seen on site. Over 200 different species have been recorded so far! The wide variety of environments around the Fort are host to water and shore birds, birds of prey, warblers and other woodland dwellers, as well as those species that prefer open fields. Stop at the Visitor Centre to pick up a brochure with all the birds you may see here, and add your sightings to our annual list.

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