St. John's is as colourful as the plumage

With close to 30,000 km of coastline and dense boreal forests situated in-between, Newfoundland & Labrador is a paradise for birds and bird watchers alike. 350 species flock to our island destination, lovingly referred to as “the rock”, to find refuge, nest and feast off our rich sea and land.

In the capital city of St. John’s you’ll be surprised to discover an abundance of untouched wilderness that winds its way in and around the heart of our town. Simply step outside the comforts of your hotel to explore the famous East Coast Trail, which provides ample viewing of our coastal visitors, both big and small.

Experience the wonder of a migration of millions of seabirds who patter along the sea stacks or trek deeper into Newfoundland’s wilderness with perked ears and eyes waiting for the hollow pecks and chirps of the birds signing from above.


1 Witless Bay Ecological Reserve - image

Witless Bay Ecological Reserve

Spring-fall (check with boat tour operators)
30 minutes from St. John’s

Take a boat tour to Witless Bay Ecological Reserve’s four protected islands. An important seabird breeding area from early June to early September, the islands have the largest Atlantic puffin colony in North America (260,000 pairs), and the second largest Leach’s storm-petrel colony in the world (620,000 pairs).

Species to spot: Nesting species include Atlantic puffin, Leach’s storm-petrel, common murre, razorbill, black guillemot, black-legged kittiwake, herring gull, great black-backed gull, and in smaller numbers, northern fulmar and thick-billed murre.

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Salmonier Nature Park

45-minute drive from St. John’s
Open June 1 – Canadian Thanksgiving weekend

A popular destination for school groups and the general public, Salmonier Nature Park features walking trails to view local wildlife, plus three kilometres of boardwalk for viewing birds of the northern boreal forest in the wild. On-site staff and interpretive signs can help with species identification.

Species to spot: Gray jay, boreal chickadee, pine grosbeak, blackpoll warbler, white-winged crossbill. Occasional sightings of black-backed woodpecker and rusty blackbird.

3 Cape St. Mary's Ecological Reserve - image

Cape St. Mary's Ecological Reserve

Interpretive Centre open early May – early October.
2.5-hour drive from St. John’s

One of the best and most accessible colonies in the world to see nesting seabirds, Cape St. Mary’s features a cliff-top viewing station that faces a nest-covered sea stack. The Cape is the only place where thick-billed murre can be easily seen from land – ask for guidance.

Species to spot: Northern gannet (24,000 pairs), black-legged kittiwake, common and thick-billed murres, razorbill, black guillemot, double-crested and great cormorants, and a few pairs of northern fulmar, from April to late September.

Other Notable Birdwatching Areas

Cape Spear, Renews, and Cape Race Road, Terra Nova National Park. More info available here: Bird Finder Map.



We really are closer that you think. With short direct flights from major Canadian hubs including Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, your journey to St. John’s, Newfoundland can be as scenic as driving along the Atlantic coastline to soaring over the island from 10,000 feet in the comforts of a window seat.

Eastern Seaboard Locations

While in St. John’s we encourage you make the most out of our urban basecamp and spend a few days touring around rural Newfoundland & Labrador where the kettle is always on to welcome “Come From Aways”. Just like the award-winning Broadway musical proclaims, Newfoundlanders are colourful characters and always welcoming.



A special thanks to all involved
• Roger Maunder, 
Up Sky Down Films for filming and production
NL Tourism, Alik Tsui, Jared Clarke and Brad James for sharing their footage

Featured Interviews
• Jared Clarke —  Bird the Rock 

Featured Track
 Dwayne Andrews “Let Me Fish Off Cape St. Mary’s”