This site is located 20 kilometres west of the town of Peace River, and six kilometres northwest of Grimshaw in northern Alberta. There is a well-developed road system around the lake, and the southeast corner of Cardinal Lake is part of Queen Elizabeth Provincial Park.
A large portion of the land surrounding the lake is used for agriculture, but there are some small freshwater marshes. Mixed wood forests are also found in the area.
Cardinal Lake is host to more than 20,000 ducks during fall migration. Thus, this site is a globally significant site for staging and moulting ducks.
In addition to ducks, Cardinal Lake is also an important staging area for Canada, Greater White-fronted and Snow Geese, and Tundra and Trumpeter Swans. Locally significant numbers of non-breeding Red-necked and Western Grebes also occur at this site, and Bald Eagles commonly nest in the area.
Nesting species present during inventories from July, 2000, include 1,190 nests of Eared Grebes, 15 nests of of Western Grebe, and 1,530, 100 and 150 pairs of Franklins, Ring-billed and California Gulls, respectively. These totals are conservative estimates considering many of the nests were in thick bullrush beds so were inaccessible by airboat and difficult to see otherwise.
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Cardinal Lake. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 17/01/2021.