Birding in SSM
Birding Hotspots in Sault Ste. Marie and Area
Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site and Whitefish Island – this site is one of the best birding locations in the area due to it’s variety of habitats and location as a greenspace within a city. There are a series of easily walkable trails throughout.
Fort Creek Conservation Area – this conservation area is maintained by the Sault Ste. Marie Region Conservation Authority. The Hub Trail travels through here and there are a series of other trails throughout as well. It’s a great place to find warblers and other forest-dwelling songbirds right within the city.
Bellevue Park – this city park has great vantage points along the St. Marys River and a variety of habitat for migrating songbirds.
Echo Bay and Bar River Area – in Echo Bay, there is a viewing platform at the north end of Lake Street, a boardwalk at the Loonie Monument on Highway 17B, and a variety of birds can often be found through the town itself. The agricultural fields in Bar River can host thousands of migrating waterfowl and grassland birds.
Pumpkin Point – there is a viewing platform on the north side of Pumpkin Point Road in Laird Township that overlooks a productive wetland. At the end of the road, Centennial Park offers a vantage point out into the St. Marys River where ducks will often concentrate.
St. Joseph Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary – also home of the Fort St. Joseph National Historic Site, a wide variety of birds can be found here, especially during migration. There are a series of trails through the forested portions and a great vantage point for raptor and waterbird migration atop the ruins of Fort St. Joseph.
Learn more about these hotspots and others on the Algoma District Birding Locations map.
Sharp-tailed Grouse – while they can be tricky to find once spring and summer hits, due to the fact that they can easily become hidden in the fields, they are still around. Knowing their unique flight pattern may help you identify them as they are often seen quickly flying up out of the field and landing again elsewhere within the same field.
Brewer’s Blackbird – these blackbirds can be found each year during the spring and summer in the agricultural fields east of Sault Ste. Marie, especially in the Desbarats area. Watch for them sitting on fence posts or utility lines at the edge of the road.
Mourning Warbler – this warbler species often has a reputation of being hard to find during migration in southern Ontario, but once they arrive on their breeding grounds here, they can easily be found just about anywhere as they sing loudly from the treetops.
Canada Jay – for most other boreal specialties, trips well north of Sault Ste. Marie are required, but Canada Jays can be found with some regularity out near the airport or other “boreal-like” habitats.
LeConte’s Sparrow – if the conditions are right, these sulky sparrows can be heard singing throughout the spring and summer in wet fields. Listen closely!
Yellow-headed Blackbird – while still rare, they can be found each spring and fall mixed in with large blackbird flocks, so make sure to keep those thoroughly.