A Day at Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve

It’s a bird! It’s a plane - no....no. It’s definitely a bird.

Cape St. Mary's | Bird observation | Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada

This post is not sponsored in any way. All opinions and images are the property of This is me, Merisa Lee! unless otherwise cited.

Zoos, nature parks, wilderness reserves - we've all been there, done that. These enclosed animal sanctuaries are always a thrill to visit and to explore, as you walk through trails looking from animal to animal (hoping that the llama right next to you won't do that spitting thing all over your face).

But what about places where nature is completely unrestricted, unenclosed, and uncaged? Places where you get a VIP ticket to experience wilderness in it's raw, untamed form? Those are the rare moments where we can truly take a step back in gratitude for God's creation. And if you're craving one of those "holy crap, is this really happening!?" moments - then Cape St. Mary's Ecological Reserve should be your next day trip destination.

How many birds is too many birds, do you ask? Well, Cape St. Mary's is home to approximately:

  • 24,000 northern gannets

  • 20,000 common murres

  • 20,000 black-legged kittiwakes

  • 2,000 thick-billed murres

Being only two and a half hours from St. John's, getting to "the Cape" was an easy voyage that was SO worth it. The site includes an Interpretive Centre with washrooms, an indoor seating area, an informational area on different bird species, and guided tours. The 1km hiking trail is a very easy walk and provides so many different scenic views. One thing to note is that there's around 200 days of fog at the Cape each year - so make sure to check the weather before you go so that you can make the best of your experience!

Jarrid and I didn't participate in a tour, but rather ventured the trail on our own terms, which gave us the opportunity to stop and go as we pleased. The landscape reminded me SO MUCH of the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland - it almost felt as if I were instantly taken back 3 years to that very moment I was overlooking the Irish sea. So the fact that I don't have to hop on a plane to see such astonishing views is a blessing in itself.

The birds that we got to experience up-close were the northern gannets, as they make their nests on "Bird Rock" which is a 100-metre tall sandstone extension that is separate from the viewing area - so you can stand just metres away from these amazing creatures as you watch them do their 'thang'. We also saw many murres that were happily resting on the cliff's edge or hanging out in their nests. You may even be lucky enough to spot not only birds, but perhaps some whales, or a seal or two (as we did!)

There's just something about being high up on the cliff’s edge and overlooking miles and miles of ocean that’ll wipe away your woes and worries. As one of the most accessible seabird colonies in the world - the Cape is one for the books.

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