Quill Lakes Birding Tour from Saskatoon, Moose Jaw or Regina – 2 great options for finding birds at Canada’s largest saline lake ♿


Quill Lakes Birding Tour

Private Tours

Private Full Day Tours from late April – August

Public Group Tours

  • Friday, May 17, 2024
    9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Self-Drive Escorted Birding Tour

Estimated Return Driving Distance from Saskatoon: 450 km


  • PRINCE ALBERT (2 h 30 m to Dafoe)
  • REGINA (1 h 40 m to Dafoe)
  • MOOSE JAW (2 h 20 m to Dafoe)
  • YORKTON (1 h 40 m to Dafoe)

SASKATOON starting point: 9:00 AM
DAFOE starting point: 11:00 AM
DAFOE ending point: 4:00 PM
Saskatoon ending point: 6:00 PM

PUBLIC WASHROOMS: available in gas stations at Colonsay, Dafoe, Wynyard, Wadena, Watson

Where to see Birds at Quill Lakes, Saskatchewan?

Quill Lakes Birding Tour Description

Join Stan Shadick for a guided private or group tour of the best birding hotspots at the Quill Lakes Important Bird Area. Trip starts in Saskatoon but can meet up with visitors from Regina, Yorkton, Prince Albert and other parts of the province. A high quality spotting scope is available for obtaining the best possible views of the birds.

The Quill Lakes Birding Tour will visit the best place in Saskatchewan for observing Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons and Black-crowned Night Herons as well as many ducks, gulls and other water birds. Nesting Bald Eagles are sometimes seen searching for food.

Rare migrating Trumpeter Swans are often found on Quill Lakes during the month of May. During the peak of the shorebird migration – north in May and south in July – August, about 200 thousand individuals have been counted in a single day! During this time, several percent of the world populations of White-rumped, Baird’s, Least and Stilt Sandpipers occur here along with significant numbers of Hudsonian Godwits, dowitchers and American Avocets.

Originally composed of 3 separate lakes (Big Quill, Little Quill and Mud Lakes), recent high water levels have merged the Quill Lakes into 1 great “sea”, the largest saline lake in Canada!

Both novice and experienced bird watchers are welcome. A loaner pair of binoculars may be available if requested. The leader will bring a spotting scope to allow you to view the birds under high magnification.

Pelicans at Quill Lakes
American White Pelicans

Quill Lakes Birding Highlights

  • Herons and Egrets occur in greatest numbers at Quill Lakes from late April through July.
  • Ruddy Turnstone, Red Knots, White-rumped Sandpipers and Golden-Plovers occur mainly in late May.
  • Other migratory shorebirds are numerous during mid to late May plus July through mid-August.
  • High concentrations of ducks, grebes, cormorants and pelicans are present from late April to August.
  • Tundra Swans occur in late April and a few Trumpeter Swans in mid-May.
  • This tour is ideal for low-mobility clients because they may choose to remain in their vehicle during this driving tour and still see all of the birds.

The full-day (8-hour) tour will visit the best birding hotspots on the south side of Quill lakes.

An optional evening extension allows us to circumnavigate the lakes and additionally visit Clair Lake plus look for prairie species at the grasslands and other hotspots on the north side of the Quill Lakes.

Suggested items to Bring:

  • Clothes suitable for the weather (rain jacket, sun hat, etc.)
  • Water bottle
  • Binoculars and camera (optional)


Participants on these tours need to drive their own personal or rented vehicle. RVs and vehicles pulling trailers are permitted on private tours but not on group tours. Owners of full electric vehicles should plan to stay overnight in Humboldt and charge up there before joining the tour at Lanigan.

Carpooling on Group Tours

If you would like to share the costs of a group tour with other interested birders, then complete the Carpooling Section of the Registration Request Form below or email the tour name, your name, phone number and email address to birdtours@sasktel.net

Quill Lakes Birding Tour Fee (2 Options)


Private Full Day Tour Fee: CA$890 (about US$665, £570) for party of 1 – 4 persons. Taxes included.
Fee includes guiding services only for 8 hour Quill Lakes tour.  Client supplies their own transportation in personal or rented vehicle. Meals, transportation and accommodation are NOT included.
SAVE $150 if you have room to transport leader during tour from Saskatoon and back.

Optional Additional Evening Extension Fee: CA$190 adds 3 additional hours of birding to the regular tour.


May 17, 2024 Full Day Group Tour Fee: CA$590 (about US$430, £340) for a party of 1 – 4 persons. Taxes included.
Fee includes guiding services only for 9 hour Quill Lakes tour.  Client supplies their own transportation in personal or rented vehicle. Meals, transportation and accommodation are NOT included.
Tour begins in Saskatoon at 9 AM and returns about 6 PM. Participants may join us at Dafoe at 11:00 AM.

SAVE $150 if you have room to transport leader during tour from Saskatoon and back.
Tour is limited to a minimum of 2 vehicles and a maximum of 5 vehicles plus the leader.

TAX RECEIPT: A tax receipt for 50% of the tour fee will be issued to the person paying for the tour.

Tax Receipts






CANCELLATION POLICY: Refunds less a $50 administration fee will be given if cancellation notice received 14 days before date of tour.
No refunds if cancellation notice received less than 14 days before date of tour unless another client takes your place.

All proceeds support the work of Living Sky Wildlife Rehabilitation charity. https://livingskywildliferehabilitation.org/


RESERVATIONS for Quill Lakes Birding Tour: Send your full name(s), mailing address, email address and requested tour dates.

E-mail: birdtours@sasktel.net
Phone: 306-652-5975

Full payment due at time of booking. Payment instruction will be emailed to you after registration form is received.

Use landline if you don’t have a cell phone.
Mailing address needed for tax receipt.
Select all that apply. Payment instructions will be emailed to you after form is submitted.
Check best response.
Smoking is allowed only inside your own personal vehicle. No smoking is permitted outside during birding stops or hikes.

If you do not hear back from us within 24 hours, please email birdtours@sasktel.net

Monthly Newsletter

Learn about special offers and new tours.
CLICK HERE to sign up for the monthly electronic Newsletter from Saskatoon Custom Bird Tours.

Black-crowned Night Heron
by Nick Saunders

Quill Lakes Birding Tour

Yellow-headed Blackbird
by Nick Saunders
Western Grebe
by Nick Saunders

Photographing pelicans at Quill Lakes

Can I bring my pet dog on this tour?

Dogs are permitted on private tours provided they are kept on a leash. Dogs should not be let out of the vehicle at birding stops. Dogs are not permitted on group tours.

Gift Certificates Available Now

GIFT CERTIFICATES: Click here for information about purchasing a gift certificate for this Quill Lakes tour or any of our other tours.

Covid Safety Policy on Tours

  1. Your tour leader is fully vaccinated.
  2. Clients must normally drive themselves in their own personal or rented vehicle. The leader will usually drive in a separate vehicle. We will use cell phones to communicate between each other during the tour.
  3. This policy may change when public health orders change or when Covid case numbers decrease.
  4. Please contact us before booking tour if you have any special requests with regard to this policy. In certain cases, if requested, leader may be willing to ride in client’s vehicle or drive client’s vehicle.

How to get to Saskatoon

Air: Saskatoon International Airport (YXE) is served by Flair, Air Canada, Westjet and their U.S. partners United and Delta.

Air Canada Star Alliance partners also include Aegean, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels, Copa, Croatia, EgyptAir, Ethiopian, EVA, Lot, Lufthansa, SAS, Shenzhen, Singapore, South African, Swiss, TAP, Thai, Turkish, United.

Westjet international partners include AeroMexico, Air France, Air Transat, Azores, Cathay Pacific, China, China Eastern, China Southern, Delta, Emirates, Hainan, Hong Kong, Japan, KLM, Korean, LATAM, Philippine, Quantas, Virgin Atlantic, Xiamen.

Train: Saskatoon’s  Train Station is served by Via Rail’s Canadian train serving Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Jasper and Vancouver.

Bus: Saskatoon – Edmonton and Saskatoon – Regina bus service

Car: Saskatoon is located on Canada’s Yellowhead cross-country highway plus 6 other major highways connecting with all cities in Canada and USA. If you drive, you do not need to rent a car for our tours.

Other Tours

This Quill Lakes Birding Tour may be taken in conjunction with any of the following summer birding tours.

CLICK HERE for a complete list of upcoming birding and bird photography tours.

Multiple Tours Discount

Can’t decide which tour to take?

Check out our multiple tours discount described here.