This site is located east of the Saguenay River, four kilometres northeast of Tadoussac, Quebec. It extends from Ponte aux Vaches to Baie du Moulin à Baude, on the north coast of the St. Lawrence River. It is located by an old delta of the Saguenay River and includes sandy tidal flats extending down from this delta. The habitat is largely open with many clumps of small shrubs, and forested areas of conifers, White Birch and aspen. These forested areas are mainly located on hilly terrain immediately around the site.
Tadoussac is known for the large number and diversity of hawks seen during fall migration. The St Lawrence River here is oriented in a southwest-northeast direction so southbound migrants that have arrived at the shore follow the coast rather than crossing the river – this creates a bottleneck effect for raptors and landbirds. Raptor movements have been monitored since 1992 by the Observatoire d’oiseaux de Tadoussac (Tadoussac Bird Observatory). An average of 16,430 hawks (1993-1999) have been tallied, with a high of 24,690 birds in 1999, and a low of 7,009 in 1996.
Eight of these raptor species are seen in significant numbers (all numbers are seven-year (1993-99) average seasonal totals). About 747 Osprey are seen between mid-September and early October; this is just over 2% of the national population. The one-day maximum for Osprey was 146 on September 30, 1992. Sharp-shinned Hawk is the most numerous raptor migrant. An average of 5,178 birds pass by each season, representing approximately 2% of the Canadian population. The uncommon Northern Goshawk appears here in nationally significant numbers (average of 236 birds). On October 4, 1992, a one-day high of 57 goshawks were seen. The seven-year average for Red-tailed Hawks is 6,377 birds, which is almost 2% of their North American population. Rough-legged Hawks reach significant numbers at Tadoussac; from 1993-1999 an average of 518 birds were recorded annually (1% of the North American population). A high one-day count of 138 occurred on October 19, 1993.
Two falcons reach globally significant numbers: Merlin, with a four-year average of 197 birds (almost 2% of the North American population), and the nationally threatened anatum Peregrine Falcon, with a seven-year average of 54 birds (about 1% of the North American population). American Kestrel occurs in nationally significant numbers, with a four-year average of 1,588 birds (about 1% of the Canadian population).
Other raptor species that occur here include Turkey Vulture (rare), Bald Eagle (average 70 per fall), Northern Harrier (average 285 per fall), Broad-winged Hawk (average 1,017 per fall), Golden Eagle (average 57 per fall) and Gyrfalcon (rare).
Many other birds can be seen at Tadoussac in less significant numbers. In fall, several thousand Bonaparte’s Gulls and Black-legged Kittiwakes can be seen, as can numerous Black-backed and Three-toed woodpeckers, warblers and sparrows, and many Boreal and Northern Saw-whet owls (three-year average, 1997-99: 220). Spring is dominated by waterfowl and warbler migration. Finally, breeding species include Dark-eyed Junco, White-throated Sparrow and many warblers.
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Tadoussac. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 25/09/2021.