The Point Lepreau Bird Observatory (PLBO) is a strategically situated seabird migration monitoring station in Southwestern New Brunswick. It was established by the Saint John Naturalists’ Club in 1995.
Located along the North American Atlantic Flyway, the observatory is at the tip of Point Lepreau which juts out three kilometers into the Bay and represents the most prominent point of land on the Southern New Brunswick coast. The mouth of the Bay of Fundy acts as a gigantic funnel for birds following the North Atlantic coastline during northward migration.
It is quite possible that the majority of seabirds wintering south of the Bay of Fundy pass within a short distance of Point Lepreau in spring on their way to more northern nesting areas. In fall, the birds return to the Atlantic Coast from scattered locations in the North, resulting in little concentration in the Bay of Fundy.
Seabird counts have been conducted annually in spring and fall for over 25 years, with the bulk of bird traffic observed during the month of April. The most abundant species are Black Scoter and Surf Scoter with Black outnumbering Surf by approximately two to one.
The data that is collected is a growing source of valuable information that has never been available before. 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.
Interested in learning more?
Learn how you can support our work and volunteer:
The PLBO relies heavily on volunteer assistance to avoid any gaps in migration data collection. If you have a passion for birds and would like to become a volunteer seabird migration counter, we’d love to hear from you. You don’t need to know how to identify seabirds, we’ll teach you what you need to know.
Spring migration monitoring takes place from March 15 to May 9.
Fall migration monitoring takes place from September 17 to November 18.
Once you have been fully orientated, you may sign up for morning sessions (8 am to noon) or afternoon sessions (noon to 4 pm).
Security Clearance Required
The access road to the PLBO passes through property owned and controlled by NB Power’s Point Lepreau nuclear generating station. Therefore, anyone visiting PLBO must have security clearance in advance. This process could take several weeks. It involves a criminal record check by local police authorities. However, once a criminal record check has been done, a volunteer does not have to repeat that process and can continue to visit in future years.
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Important Bird Area Canada
The Point Lepreau-Maces Bay region is recognized as an Important Bird Area by IBA Canada. For more information click here.
The PLBO gratefully acknowledges funding received from: New Brunswick Wildlife Trust Fund and Ducks Unlimited Canada.
PLBO Report to SJNC AGM 2022
PLBO Report to SJNC AGM 2021
PLBO Report to SJNC AGM 2020
PLBO Report to SJNC AGM 2019
PLBO Report to SJNC AGM 2018
PLBO Report to SJNC AGM 2017
PLBO Report to SJNC AGM 2016
PLBO Report to SJNC AGM 2015
PLBO Report to SJNC AGM 2014
PLBO Report to SJNC AGM 2013
Point Lepreau Bird Observatory Committee:
Jim Wilson (Chair)
Dr. Donald McAlpine
Vicki Cowan (Ex-officio)
Dr. Tony Diamond
Dr. Heather Major