The Point Lepreau Bird Observatory
Most naturalists in the Province
are aware of the activities at the PLBO, which was built in the fall of 1995 and
started housing volunteers for four-hour sea watches in the spring of 1996. The
building is situated at the very tip of Point Lepreau and provides a commanding
270-degree view of the Bay. Thousands of migrating seabirds as well as many
passerines and raptors can be seen on a good day, although visibility is very
much dependent on weather conditions.
The purpose of activities is to identify all seabirds
migrating through the Bay of Fundy near the Point in spring and fall and to
record the species, numbers and pattern of movement. All the data taken during
four-hour sessions over many weeks is entered into a database, along with
information on tide, weather conditions and visibility so as much can be learned
as possible about which birds occur and when. These data gathered over a number
of years are a growing source of valuable information that was never before
available. It could be very useful to help determine if certain seabird
populations are increasing or decreasing, when to expect peak passage, and what
might be the potential for damage to Eastern seabird populations in the event of
a disaster such as a major oil spill.
The access road to the PLBO passes through property owned and
controlled by NB Power's Point Lepreau nuclear generating station. For obvious
reasons anyone entering must have "security-clearance" in advance, and this
process could take up to two weeks. It involves a criminal record check by local
police authorities. However, once a personal criminal record check has been done
once, a volunteer does not have to repeat that process and can continue to visit
in future years. It's really relatively painless.
2005 Spring; the observation blind
Sea Duck Migration Periods at the PLBO
2014 marks the 19th year of the sea duck migration project at the PLBO. Spring monitoring will take place from March 15 to May 9.
The fall migration period begins on September 17 and ends on November 18
If you have security clearance, you may sign up for morning sessions (8 am to noon) or afternoon sessions (noon to 4 pm). If nobody else has signed up for the next session,
you may stay beyond your allotted time. You may volunteer for the same day every week or for single sessions.
It takes about 48 hours to add an observer to the schedule.
A $10 travel subsidy is available per observation party and payable after December 1st.
If you do not have security clearance:
- Contact your local police force to find out how to obtain a “Criminal Record Check”.
The requirements for the residents of Saint John can be found at this site.
- If your police department requires a letter from the PLBO, send an email to
firstname.lastname@example.org, include the following information:
We will prepare the letter as a signed PDF and email it back to you so you can deliver it to them.
- the name of the department to whom the letter should be addressed
- the address of the police department
- your name (first, middle and surname)
- your full address, including city or town and postal code
- After you receive the Criminal Record Check from your police department, send another email to request instructions on the next steps.
Once your name is on the list of volunteers with security clearance, you may sign up for observation sessions by sending a message to
The PLBO can comfortably seat three people.
The Point Lepreau-Maces Bay region is recognized as an
Important Bird Area by IBA Canada.
A report from IBA Canada is available from the
Canada site, or here
(these open in a new window).
Information on the Black Scoter migration video, produced with
the support of the SJNC, is also available from the IBA Canada site:
The PLBO gratefully acknowledges funding received in 2011
and 2012 from: