By Lori Janeson
Birding is a wonderful way to learn about the different species and experience the great outdoors. The Hecla Park Manitoba Region is full of exciting destinations for experienced birders as well as beginners.
Here are some of the most popular and exciting bird watching sites in the area, sorted by region. Get ready to add to your life list.
Lake Winnipeg’s white pelicans delight birders every year. The Interlake Region consists of Hecla Grindstone Provincial Park and Camp Morton Provincial near Gimli, and Birds Hill Provincial Park and Oak Hammock Marsh, near Selkirk.
Both Hecla Grindstone Provincial Park and Oak Hammock Marsh give birders ample opportunities to see birds with developed bird sites on trails that include blinds, lookout towers, benches, overlooks, viewing telescopes and informational signs.
“Birds Hill Park boasts as many as 200 bird species that include indigo buntings, clay-colored sparrows, horned larks, goshawks, red-tailed hawks, hairy woodpeckers and yellow-bellied sapsuckers.” — Lori Janeson
In all, over 300 bird species have been sighted in the Interlake Region, including birds that make many lifer lists, including snowy owls, bald eagles, short-eared and great gray owls and gyrfalcons. If you’re a birder, you’re sure to find a life list species or two.
Although the list in this region is short, it doesn’t lack for bird watching attractions. Turtle Mountain Provincial Park is located close to Brandon. Turtle Mountain is a protected wildlife management area (WMA). Birds and wildlife are abundant. Whitewater Lake is near Boissevain and is a designated Canadian Important Bird Area (IBA), WMA and a recognized Manitoba Heritage Marsh.
Over 260 bird species have been recorded at the Riding Mountain National Park close to Dauphin. The Swan River area has two active bird watching attractions in Duck Mountain Provincial Park and Porcupine Provincial Forests.
Resident and migrating birds nest, feed and rest in the region making nearly any season the perfect time to watch birds. Recorded bird species in the Parkland region include sandhill cranes, several species of owls and ducks, prairie horned larks, belted kingfishers, American white pelicans, rose-breasted grosbeaks and great blue herons.
The northern region provides opportunities to see a wide variety of bird species. Wapusk National Park near Churchill is a protected birding site and favorite resting place for many migratory birds.
Other favorite bird watching locations in the north include Grass River Provincial Park, Clearwater Lake Provincial Park and the Saskeram Provincial Wildlife Management Area.
Tundra swans, snow geese, ptarmigans, several owl species, Arctic terns, gyrfalcons and peregrine falcons are just a few of the many species you can see here.
Bird species in the central region include American white pelicans, American redstarts, Tennessee warblers, great blue herons, sandpipers, least flycatchers and piping plovers. Visit the Delta Marsh near Portage La Prairie and Big Grass Marsh close to Gladstone for the best views.
Pembina Valley Region
More than 200 bird species have been recorded in this region near Morden. The biggest attractions by far are the golden and bald eagles that frequent the area. Vultures, chickadees, towhees, red-tailed hawks and woodpeckers are also abundant during the summer and migratory months.
Lori Janeson and her husband David are the owners of the Gull Harbour Marina on Hecla Island