Gros Morne National Park of Canada

The Amazing Birds of Gros Morne National Park

A total of 239 species of birds have been placed on the Gros Morne National Park checklist. Out of the 239 species, 105 have nested, and 11 others have possibly nested in the park.

We welcome your observations in documenting any unusual species or ones not yet on the list. Please provide detailed notes, and if possible a photo to the Discovery Centre, Visitor Centre, to any staff member or contact us.


Rock Ptarmigan on Gros Morne Mountain
© Parks Canada

Spring Migration

Winter’s icy grip, released first along a narrow coastal strip, which becomes an open road for the first robins and hardier sparrows on their return north. By late May, the trickle swells to a flood as northern flickers, tree swallows, sparrows, and the bulk of the wood warblers arrive. The following sites are good places to observe spring migration: Mill Brook, the forest portion of the Gros Morne Mountain trail, Route 430 along Bottom Brook, Lobster Cove Head, Berry Head, Green Point, Cow Head, and Lower Head.

Summer Forest Birds

By mid-June, the migrants are settled into territories and time spent in the forest will provide opportunities to see and hear Swainsons and hermit thrushes, ruby-crowned kinglet, yellow-bellied flycatcher, winter wren, magnolia warblers, black-throated green warblers, black-and-white warblers, the restart and ovenbird. If near a brook or pool of water, add northern waterthrush as a possibility, too. Places to see summer forest birds include: Trout River valley, Green Gardens trail, Lomond valley, Gros Morne Mountain trail, and Bakers Brook trail.


Grey Jay
© Parks Canada

Special places and species

Bogs, Fens, and Old Growth Spruce

Between Sallys Cove and Western Brook, look for American bittern, northern harrier, greater yellowlegs, common snipe, Canada goose, northern raven, black-backed woodpecker, olive-sided flycatcher, Canada jay, spruce grouse, Wilsons warbler, and swamp sparrow.

Beaches and Coastal Ponds

Many of these water areas will yield spotted sandpiper, greater yellowlegs, green-winged teal, northern pintail, Lincolns and song sparrows, merlin, and common and arctic terns.


American Pipit
© Parks Canada

Fall Migration

The fall migration is more leisurely and is swollen by the young of the year. All inlets, coves, and headlands can yield surprises. The best location in the park is St. Pauls Inlet. The range of waterfowl includes a variety of ducks: black duck, both green-winged and blue-winged teals, American wigeon, hooded merganser, and common goldeneye. St. Pauls Inlet is a major staging area for Canada geese, and at least 25 species of shorebirds can be expected in any given season, including buff-breasted, stilt, pectoral, and white-rumped sandpipers, as well as whimbrel, godwit, golden plover, knot, dunlin, short-billed dowitcher, and ruddy turnstone.

Large flocks of horned lark, pipit, and late in fall, snow bunting pass through the park. All the fore-mentioned are attractive to raptors in fall, merlin, and sometimes peregrine falcon and gryfalcon appear. The coastal sandy beaches of Shallow Bay and Western Brook are also good places to observe shorebird fall migration.


Boreal Chickadee
© Parks Canada

Winter

The north winds in early winter often blow in white Arctic gulls: glaucous and Iceland. Sometimes lesser black-backs and Thayers gulls also appear.

If the cone crop is bountiful, pine siskin and the more colourful redpoll appear in active flocks. Pine grosbeak, purple finch, and both red and white winged crossbills may also be present. In a recent winter, a large highly-mobile flock of bohemian waxwings arrived in the area.

There is always the possibility of snowy owl visiting from the north. Anywhere in the coniferous forest, both boreal and black-capped chickadees, plus downy and hairy woodpeckers, and maybe a red-breasted nuthatch, can usually be spotted.