Bonaventure island – Canada


Bonaventure Island, also known as Île Bonaventure and Percé Rock Migratory Bird Sanctuary is located in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, off the southern coast of Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula. The island is covered by forests, meadows, and towering cliffs, making it a great bird habitat. The land was found in 1534 by Jacques Cartier and was vital in the cod industry. The island became a bird sanctuary in 1919 and since its opening, has had 218 different species of birds live, migrate, or visit the island. This diversity of bird species makes Bonaventure Island an ideal location for nature photographers.

Conservation efforts have been very successful over the years. In the 1930s, the Northern Gannet colony had a mere 8,000 birds, 75 years later, the colony had 60,000 pairs of these birds. Currently, the Northern Gannett population has stayed at roughly 48,000 to 60,000 pairs. The Northern Gannett is one of the largest seabirds and dives to collect fish on the coast of the Northern Atlantic. These activities are ready to be captured by nature photographers visiting the island. This bird is very special to Owen and it is featured on the cover of his book, Bringing Back the Birds. These birds are a common sight, but not the only popular species that inhabit the island. Other important species that can be found on the island are the common murre and black-legged kittiwake.

Nature photographers get ready to photograph the birds along four unique hiking trails that allow for views all throughout the island.

Owen traveled to Bonaventure Island in August 2008.

© Ilona Bellotto

Birds found here