Cape St. Mary's Ecological Reserve

At the southwest tip of the Avalon Peninsula, washed on three sides by the restless Atlantic, lies Cape St. Mary's - one of the most spectacular (and most accessible!) seabird colonies in North America.

For over a century, naturalists and lovers of the outdoors have been drawn here, amazed by the immensity; the whirling clamour of 70,000 seabirds; the awesome power of giant whales

Come and see for yourself what famous ornithologist Roger Tory Peterson meant when he wrote: "the birds...swirl past the cliff face like a blizzard of snow"

Since 1983 this irreplaceable natural treasure has been strictly protected as a Provincial Ecological Reserve. In 1995 a modern Interpretive Centre was completed.

From May to October, resident naturalists will welcome you, guide you across the barrens, and introduce you to an experience of unspoiled Nature you will never forget.

Gas and groceries, home cooked meals and comfortable accommodations are conveniently available in the nearby communities of St. Brides and Branch.

Getting To Cape St. Mary's.

From St. John's, take the Trans Canada Highway (Route 1) to the intersection with Route 90, turn left and follow the signs for the Cape Shore and the ecological reserve. From Argentia, proceed to Placentia and follow Route 100 to the Cape. The turnoff to the reserve access road is about 5 km. east of St. Bride's and 15 km. west of Branch.

How To Prepare For Your Visit.

Cape St. Mary's Ecological Reserve exists to protect wildlife and habitat, not people. The cliffs are high (most well over 100 metres), the terrain rough, and the site exposed to cool, wet weather conditions. A few basic precautions are recommended for your comfort and safety:

Wear warm, windproof clothing and sturdy, water resistant hiking boots.
Stay on designated trail for safety and to avoid damaging vegetation.
Avoid cliff edges and steep slopes, especially in fog or wind.


Help Protect The Reserve

The opportunity to view a seabird colony at such close quarters and to explore an ecological reserve on foot is a rare privilege. Every visitor can help in the task of conservation and protection by observing a few simple rules.

Do nothing that will disturb the birds, their nests, or their eggs.
Remove no natural object (rocks, wild flowers, plants, etc) from the site.
Pick up any litter and place in receptacles at the Interpretive Centre.
No pets (except working seeing eye dogs) may enter the reserve.


A complete set of regulations may be consulted at the Interpretive Centre.

What To Look For.

The seabird cliffs are the main attraction at Cape St. Mary's. Here is what you will see:

The largest accessible gannet colony in Newfoundland.
The world's most southerly colony of Thick-billed Murres.
Bald Eagles, Ravens, and other predators.
In July, feeding pods of humpback, fin and minke whales.
Nesting Water Pipits and Horned Larks on the upland barrens.
Migrating shorebirds feeding on abundant wild berries.
Wintering flocks of Common Eider and endangered Harlequin Ducks.


Facilities and Services: The Cape St. Mary's Interpretive Centre offers an active environmental education program: see a scale model of the reserve, discover the fascinating life history of seabirds, get your first breathtaking view of Bird Rock. Resident Interpretive Naturalists will enrich your visit with: illustrated talks and audio visual presentations, guided walks and nature hikes, special seasonal activities.

Season: May & Oct, 9am - 5pm, June - Sept, 8am - 7pm

Location: Cape St Mary's

Mailing Address:
33 Reid's Lane
Deer Lake, NL, A8A 2A3

Telephone: 709-277-1666 / 635-4520

Fax: 709-635-4521

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