With the extensive variety and mix of woodlands, plant species, food sources and wetlands, the BMBCL is able to offer considerable options for bird habitat. One of the species of interest is our common loon, so well known to Canadians. If you are aware of a nesting pair on any of the many lakes found within the BMBCL, please let us know, and we will confirm their status and register their presence with the Birds Canada, national loon survey.

Bird Species Recorded

Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes Wilderness Area &

Buffer Lands (partial list)


  1. Mallard

  2. Mallard x Black Duck cross

  3. Common Merganser

  4. Ring-necked Pheasant

  5. Ruffed Grouse

  6. Common Loon

  7. Osprey

  8. American Kestrel

  9. American Woodcock

  10. Herring Gull

  11. Great Black-backed Gull

  12. Rock Dove

  13. Mourning Dove

  14. Barred Owl

  15. Long-eared Owl

  16. Northern Saw-whet Owl

  17. Common Nighthawk

  18. Ruby-throated Hummingbird

  19. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

  20. Downy Woodpecker

  21. Hairy Woodpecker

  22. Northern Flicker

  23. Pileated Woodpecker

  24. Eastern Wood-Peewee

  25. Yellow-bellied Flycatcher

  26. Alder Flycatcher

  27. Blue-headed Vireo

  28. Red-eyed Vireo

  29. Grey Jay

  30. Blue Jay

  31. American Crow

  32. Common Raven

  33. Tree Swallow

  34. Black-capped Chickadee

  35. Boreal Chickadee

  36. Red-breasted Nuthatch

  37. Brown Creeper

  38. Winter Wren

  39. Golden-crowned Kinglet

  40. Ruby-crowned Kinglet

  41. Swainson’s Thrush

  42. Hermit Thrush

  43. American Robin

  44. European Starling

  45. Cedar Waxwing

  46. Nashville Warbler

  47. Northern Parula

  48. Yellow Warbler

  49. Chestnut-sided warbler

  50. Magnolia Warbler

  51. Cape May Warbler

  52. Black-throated Blue Warbler

  53. Yellow-rumped Warbler

  54. Black-throated Green Warbler

  55. Blackburnian Warbler

  56. Palm Warbler

  57. Black and White Warbler

  58. American Redstart

  59. Ovenbird

  60. Mourning Warbler

  61. Common Yellowthroat

  62. Song Sparrow

  63. Lincoln’s Sparrow

  64. Swamp Sparrow

  65. White-throated Sparrow

  66. Dark-eyed Junco

  67. Red-winged Blackbird

  68. Common Grackle

  69. Pine Grosbeak

  70. Purple Finch

  71. Red Crossbill

  72. White-winged Crossbill

  73. Pine Siskin

  74. American Goldfinch


Notes from a Birder:  Birch Cove Lakes Area

With thanks to the author, Bob McDonald, Halifax NW Trails

My initial excursions into the Blue Mountain – Birch Cove Lakes area were on field trips sponsored by the NS Bird Society along a historic logging road off Kearney Lake Rd near the site of a former drive-in.  (Does anyone else recall a drive-in here?)  These field trips took place in the early 1980’s before any development in Kingswood, Bedford West or off Kearney Lake Rd.  The trips took place in spring and summer with a focus on warblers and flycatchers.  A few years later, when there was the pressure of development in ‘our’ birding area, several of us assembled a bird list of 103 species which had been sighted during these outings.

During the second Maritime Breeding Bird Atlas (2006-2010), my 10X10-km square included much of the BMBCL area and I censused birds along many of the existing trails into Susies and Charlies Lakes and into Blue Mountain.  There were fewer trails then than there is now.   The BMBCL Wilderness Area was designated in 2009, the same year that a BioBlitz, sponsored and organized by St Mary’s University, took place.  This BioBlitz was a one-day inventory of all flora and fauna which we could find.  The “Bird Twig” which consisted of ornithologists (and their students) from local universities as well as many members of the NS Bird Society were able to detect (see or hear) 75 bird species during this 24-hour period!!  As part of the BioBlitz, two of us spent several hours doing a nocturnal owl survey along the Blue Mountain trail where we heard Northern Saw-whet, Barred and Long-eared Owls.

In September 2017, the Ecology Action Centre organized a second BioBlitz in BMBCL and although the timing as not the best for bird surveys, more species were counted.

Currently, many keen birders use an “app” called ebird to keep personal lists of species seen, as well as location lists.  Significant locations for birds are designated as “hotspots”. 


HOTSPOTS: I checked recently and it looks as though there are only 2 hotspots so far in BMBCL, one along the Blue Mountain and surrounding trails (54 species) and the other is the trail into Susies lake from Bayers Lake Business Park (11 species).  I encourage others to post their bird sightings on either of these hotspots or at other user-specified locations within BMBCL.

I have attempted to compile a master list of birds which have been observed (by me or others) in the BMBCL area and came up with a collection of some 114 species.  It is worth noting that this list includes several species-at-risk and uncommon species including Common Nighthawk, Black-backed Woodpecker, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Canada Warbler and Rusty Blackbird.

Birders are invited to contact us with updates and recent sightings.


From Ash Lake area: July 2021- bird sightings filed here on eBird (27 species).

iNaturalist:  dedicated page for all types of flora/fauna sightings for the BMBCL.  See here.