Welcome to the Queens County Heritage
For The Birds
In 1997 Queens County Heritage received a collection of bird specimens prepared by a local woman, Leora Simpson (1856-1951). Miss Simpson was descended from Loyalists on her mother's side and members of her family were long-time residents of Gagetown and Queens County. Besides serving as the local postmistress, Miss Simpson also had an interest in natural history and science, and taxidermy and birds specifically. Upon her death in 1951, the collection and original cabinets were bequeathed to the local school. In 1997 the collection was given to Queens County Heritage and consists of over 100 specimens featuring several species of hawks, owls, ducks, geese, songbirds, shorebirds and others. As a reflection of the natural heritage of Queens County, the Simpson Bird Collection is a premier example. It showcases not only the talents of a woman in a period when females did not seek employment outside the home, but also captures the environmental heritage of our region. For the Birds was the signature summer exhibition at the Court House in 2013 which featured selections from the Simpson Collection.
Explore pages about the collector, Miss Simpson, find birds common to our area, and don't miss the special learning section for lessons and activities!
Lakes, Rivers and Wetlands
Numerous lakes and rivers and wetlands dominate the geography of Queens County. Some of the largest include Grand Lake, Washademoak Lake, the St. John River, the Canaan River, the Salmon River and Grand Lake Meadows.
These water-based resources contribute approximately 13 % of the area of the county (53,270 ha) and provide habitat for great diversity of wildlife. The wetlands associated with the St. John River, for example, are some of the most fertile in Atlantic Canada and are extensively used by a wide variety of birds both during spring migration and in the summer period.
A testament to the significance of these habitats is demonstrated by the large numbers of bird watchers that visit this area annually, especially in spring when large migrations of birds pass along our shores and wetlands.
The rivers and lakes in the St John River system have an abundance of fish and are therefore attractive to many fish eating birds such as the common loon, belted kingfisher, double-crested cormorant and common merganser. One of our most visible bird species, that is closely tied to the fishery resource, is the osprey which often nests close to these water bodies. Wetlands, too, provide habitat for a long list of bird species. Many kinds of waterfowl use the marshes during migration and for breeding and brood rearing. The most abundant of these are; American black duck, mallard, blue and green- winged teal, common wigeon, northern shoveler, wood duck and common goldeneye. Other water birds found here include pied-billed grebe, great blue heron, sora and Virginia rail. These wetlands are also home to a variety of smaller birds such as red-winged black bird, swamp sparrow, marsh wren, Nelson's sharp-tailed sparrow and common yellowthroat. Certainly the lakes, rivers and wetlands are critical resources for the bird life of Queens County.
These habitats are a bountiful and rich resource for the birds that inhabit them, for the tourism they foster, for the occasional visitor and for all of us who wish to retain this rich sector of our environment.