McGregor Lake and Travers Reservoir

Country/territory: Canada

IBA Criteria met: -
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 25,000 ha

Birds Canada / Nature Canada

Site description
McGregor Lake and Travers Reservoir are in southern Alberta, approximately 27 km east of the town of Vulcan. In addition to these lakes, the site also includes Little Bow Lake Reservoir and Little Bow Provincial Park. All three bodies of water are reservoirs and form part of the Carseland-Bow River Headworks System; McGregor Lake is part of the Oldman River drainage basin and was created in 1920 by two dams bracketing Snake Lake. None of the lakes have extensive marshy areas but there are mudflats at the north end of McGregor Lake. Native mixed grasslands, badlands, and eroding coulees surround the reservoirs. The underlying bedrock is the Bearpaw and Horseshoe Canyon formations, consisting mostly of sandstone, mudstone and shales. The Low Milk Vetch, a rare plant in Alberta, is found at the site as are Mule and White-tailed deer.

Key biodiversity
Over 1,050 non-breeding American White Pelicans can be found at McGregor Lake and Little Bow Lake Reservoir in summer (about 1% of the Canadian population). Numbers of non-breeding pelicans seen here are amongst the highest observed in Alberta. Many colonial waterbirds nest on the numerous small islands on the Little Bow Lake Reservoir. The species include: California Gull (195 nests), Ring-billed Gull (47 nests), and Double-crested Cormorant (26 nests). The site is provincially significant for staging geese (>5,000) and breeding Canada Geese. Both ducks and shorebirds stage here at locally significant numbers (2,000 5,000) in spring and fall migration. Away from the lake, species of note are: Golden Eagle, Ferruginous Hawk (nationally vulnerable), Prairie Falcon, Burrowing Owl (nationally endangered), and Long-billed Curlew (nationally vulnerable). Historically, the nationally threatened Peregrine Falcon has nested along the north shore of the western arm of Travers Reservoir.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: McGregor Lake and Travers Reservoir. Downloaded from on 29/11/2021.