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The Beaudet Reservoir is a rest stop on the birds’ 4,000-kilometre journey from their nesting grounds in the Arctic tundra to their wintering habitat along the Atlantic Coast of the southern United States

Photography by Bernard Brault

For several weeks each fall, the calm waters of the Beaudet Reservoir in Victoriaville, Que., transform into a sea of snow-white birds.

Throughout October and November, thousands of greater snow geese arrive in the community midway between Montreal and Quebec City. The reservoir is a rest stop on the birds’ 4,000-kilometre journey from their nesting grounds in the Arctic tundra to their wintering habitat along the Atlantic Coast of the southern United States.

Victoriaville’s tourism agency reported that by late last week, nearly 60,000 greater snow geese had arrived in the community. With hunting prohibited in the surrounding area, Beaudet Reservoir has become a popular sanctuary for birds – more than 200 species have been spotted in the region, according to Birds Canada.

The annual migration draws birdwatchers, photographers and artists – including Pierre Matte, an amateur photographer who regularly makes the 90-minute journey to the reservoir from Neuville, Que. “I come here every week, even if I have to drive close to 300 kilometres from my home to take a look at the geese,” he says.

Photographer Bernard Brault spent time in Victoriaville to witness the annual greater snow goose migration.

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