5 Places to Go Birdwatching this Spring

Updated on Mar 28, 2024

Finally, spring has arrived, along with the great return of our feathered fauna, and of course, the Eastern Townships region offers a vast range of magnificent birdwatching sites. However, we asked a field professional to select five of these just for you! So, let yourself be guided by Bernard Héraud of the Société de loisir ornithologique de l’Estrie.

By Marie-Claude Masse

©Julie Pier Laurent

Johnville Bog and Forest Park

Located only 15 minutes outside of Sherbrooke, the Johnville Bog and Forest Park with its 5.8 km trail network, offers several ecosystems welcoming an abundance of wildlife. Of course, there’s the forest, which is beautiful, but if you head out towards the bog, you may come across some rare bird species that nest there, such as the rufous-capped warbler, which is normally found in Northern Québec, or the lovely little Lincoln’s sparrow. So keep your eyes open!

3999 North Road, Cookshire-Eaton

©Daphné Caron

Étang Burbank

In the Danville area, Étang Burbank pond is a must for birdwatching. More than 200 species have been inventoried to date! The site is very accessible, and the walk along the paths is very pleasant, not to mention the famous 300-metre-long footbridge which offers several magnificent viewpoints! If you’re lucky, you might spot a majestic bald eagle or an osprey, two very large raptors that will surely impress you!

150 Water Street, Danville

©Charles Dion

Marais Réal-D.-Carbonneau

With its many features, such as its observation towers, lookouts and stilted walkways, the Marais Réal-D.-Carbonneau is an ideal destination for anyone hoping to come across several species without having to put in too much effort. In the spring, you’ll likely come across more than 30 species in a single visit, since many choose this section of the marsh for nesting. Through the cattails, you may even spot a least bittern, a tiny, adorable heron!

23, rue Lévesque, Sherbrooke

©Charles Dion

Île du Marais

During springtime, this site is literally taken over by our feathered friends! Île du Marais in Sainte-Catherine-de-Hatley will totally amaze you with its many aquatic and forest species, such as the distinguished red-breasted merganser or the very rare eastern meadowlark, if you’re really lucky! Over 190 bird species have been observed so far in this enchanting site where you can also enjoy picnicking!

425, des Sapins Street, Sainte-Catherine-de-Hatley

The Tomifobia Nature Trail

Finally, according to M. Héraud, this is the most worthwhile site for an ornithological outing because, within 30 minutes, you can spot up to 50 bird species! The most important asset of the Tomifobia Nature Trail, a 19-kilometre route linking Ayer’s Cliff to Stanstead, is to have you discover prairies, forestland, the magnificent Tomifobia River, numerous warblers and who knows, perhaps even a beautiful scarlet tanager. To explore on foot or by bike!

150 Tyler Street, Ayer’s Cliff, and the intersection of Dufferin and Maple streets, in Stanstead

Some Tips from a Pro

First of all, a birdwatching outing is best planned early in the morning. Bring a good pair of compact binoculars that won’t be too heavy to carry around. Finally, download the Merlin application, which is a very practical addition to help you identify the bird species you’ll come across. Now, to your binoculars!

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