Are you an avid birder? Do you have a keen interest in nature and science? Do you want to learn?
The Thunder Cape Bird Observatory is a great place to visit!
Visiting The Thunder Cape Bird Observatory
Located at the tip of the Sleeping Giant, the Thunder Cape Bird Observatory has served as a bird monitoring station since 1991. The Sibley Peninsula (Sleeping Giant) is bounded by the highest cliffs in Ontario. These cliffs create a natural migration trap. Especially good for waterfowl, raptors, and passerines. The Thunder Cape Bird Observatory sees hundreds of bird species every year!
The Thunder Cape Bird Observatory associates with The Ontario Bird Banding Association. It is also part of The Canadian Migration Monitoring Network. The Observatory runs from late April and until the end of October. Peak bird migration occurs in the spring and fall. There are lots of activities at the Observatory. Volunteers identify, age, sex, weigh and band caught birds with an ID number. Also, visual monitoring, and Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) take place.
At the site, there is a cabin with a bird banding station, a sauna, and further back a watchtower. In the clearings around the banding station, mist nets are set up. A heligoland trap is used to catch birds for banding. In the fall, mist-netting is used at night to catch Northern Saw-whet and Boreal Owls.
Depending on how busy it is for staff and volunteers, you can sometimes get a great site tour and banding/identification lesson when you arrive. The staff and volunteers are very friendly and incredibly knowledgeable. If it is too busy for a tour and learning, the Thunder Cape is still a really interesting place to visit!
Getting to the Thunder Cape
Getting to the Thunder Cape Bird Observatory can be a trek! Hiking is the most popular way of getting to the Observatory. The hike to the observatory is about 12 km from the trailhead at backcountry parking lot. The hike roughly traces the shoreline through the dense forest. The trails are fairly wide with rocky and sandy or muddy bottom for the most part. To start the hike, follow the Kabeyun Trail 6 km, past the turnoff to the Sea Lion, to Tee Harbour.
Continue from Tee Harbour and hike another 5 km, past the Talus Lake Trail and Lehtinen’s Bay campsites. Before you complete the 5 km you will encounter a boulder field. Take your time in this section, especially if it is wet out. After the boulder field, the trail climbs over the tip of the Sleeping Giant’s Feet. This section is steep and can also be treacherous in wet conditions.
Once you are over the tip of the feet it is a short 1.5 km hike to the Observatory. Look for the wooden observation tower to the east. The whole hike to the Thunder Cape Bird Observatory and back is about 24 km. For most people, this is a full day or two days with an overnight at the Tee Harbour or Lehtinen’s Bay campsites. Make sure to pack according to the conditions.
Bike and Hike
This is a good option if you want to save some time and have some fun biking the trails. You can bike from the trailhead at the parking lot right to the beginning of the boulder field. You could probably do it on any bike in most conditions but a mountain bike makes it way easier, especially if it is muddy. The terrain is bumpy and some of the hills are steep. Lock your bike up and continue on foot. Depending on where you lock up, the whole bike and hike to the Thunder Cape Bird Observatory is 16 – 18 km of biking and 6 – 8 km of hiking. For most people, this is a half day to a full day. It is also fun to camp and make a weekend of it. There are many other trails to explore by bike.Make sure to pack according to the conditions.
By far the quickest and most thrilling way to get to the Thunder Cape Bird Observatory. Sail Superior is now offering trips and shuttles on the Superior Rocket, a Zodiac powerboat, to Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. The Rocket trip directly to the Thunder Cape takes about 1 hour. If you would like to hike from Tee Harbour the Rocket trip is just over 1 hour.
Experience the crystal clear waters and magnificent vistas of the world’s largest freshwater lake. Ride out past the Welcome Islands. Cruise by Pie Island and back towards the Sleeping Giant. Spot the resident Bald Eagle on Hare Island. Follow the shoreline under the 1000 foot cliffs. This trip is really incredible!
Call 807-628-3333 to book a Rocket trip to the Thunder Cape Bird Observatory
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Ever dreamed of proposing surrounded by the serenity of Lake Superior? Imagine the crystal clear waters. The fresh breeze gently blowing. The city in front of you, the iconic Sleeping Giant behind. Picture perfect moments and unique experiences!
Sail Superior can make your special day unforgettable!
Propose to your life partner, have an intimate ceremony aboard our boats or on a remote island, take a romantic getaway or treat visiting family and friends to an incredible experience.
Start Planning Today
Porphyry Island Getaway
Have your intimate ceremony aboard the sailboat (5 guests plus JP and Photographer), on a remote island (8 guests plus JP and Photographer), or on the picturesque Porphyry Island (8 guests plus JP and Photographer).
Travel to Porphyry Island on a weekend with your family and friends. Enjoy a beautiful wedding on the maintained grounds. Afterward, send the group home and have the island to yourselves. Stay for two blissful nights in the romantic lighthouse keeper’s residence. Return from your unforgettable wedding and honeymoon on our Monday Porphyry Excursion.
Romantic Wedding Retreat
Sail from Prince Arthurs Landing in Thunder Bay to the Beyond the Giant Nature Retreat for a romantic getaway. Get up close to the fabled Sleeping Giant and Trowbridge Lighthouse. Pass by the historic community of Silver Islet into scenic Black Bay. Experience the beauty of the Thunder Bay area and the serenity of sailing on Lake Superior.
Arrive to a table set with candles, wine, and a basket filled with freshly baked bread and local cheese. Delicious freshly made stone baked, thin crust pizzas for dinner. Traditional Finnish pancakes topped with Canadian maple syrup, fresh strawberries, whipped cream for breakfast. Spend your nights in a romantic and beautifully built log cabin.
After Ceremony Sunset & Evening Cruises
The perfect ending to your perfect day. A sunset sail on Lake Superior. Sail out as your family and friends see you off! Serenity, beauty, and unforgettable memories await.
Friends & Family Visiting?
Sunset wine and cheese cruise with your bridesmaids? Take breathtaking photos and have a great time. What could be more fun!
Are your family and friends visiting? Let us help you make their stay memorable. Invite them to explore Thunder Bay’s waterfront and Lake Superior. They can experience one of our many tours or adventures. Something for everyone!
How to use Sail Superior’s New Adventure FinderApril 27, 2018
Looking for Adventure? Try our New Adventure Finder!
We’ve designed a great new website feature to help you plan your perfect Lake Superior Adventure.
Follow along as we walk you through our user-friendly Adventure Finder. The link below will open up our Adventure Finder in a new page.
1. Choose your Tours and Tour Options
Click the “Choose your Tours” tab. A list of our tours will appear below the tab.
Choose the tour or tours that you are interested in by clicking the tour title(s). Choose the “Pet-Friendly” option if you want to see our Pet-Friendly tours.
Click the green “Update” button to see our next available Adventures matching your selections.
2. Choose your Dates
Click the “Change Dates” button next to the green “Update” button OR click the “Choose your Dates” tab next to the “Choose your Tours” tab.
A calendar will appear under the “Choose your Dates” tab. Click the arrow icons at the top of the calendar on either side of the month to change the month. To choose one date, click it twice. To choose a range of dates, click the first date and then the last date. Your selected date(s) will be highlighted in blue.
Click the red “Cancel” button to exit the calendar. Click the green “Apply” button to see our available tours matching your selections on your chosen date(s).
3. Explore your Options
A list of tours will appear below. They are organized by date, type and time. Click “Learn More” to see the tour status, description, price, duration and a link to the tour page. For the tour status, a yellow thumbs-up means that the tour still has lots of room. A green thumbs-up means that the tour is guaranteed to go and still has some room.
4. Book your Adventure
Click the “Book Event” button to open a booking window. Choose the number of passengers you are booking with the “+” and “-” buttons and then click the “Continue” button.
Your booking window will refresh and show a summary of your booking. To continue your booking, fill out the form (name, phone number, email, city, etc). Make sure to carefully read our Terms and Conditions. This section has important information about your Adventure. When you have completed the form and read and agreed to our Terms and Conditions, click the green “Continue” button at the bottom of the page.
You will be redirected to our secure payment page. Enter your payment and billing information and click the green “Pay” button to complete the process.
Once you have completed the process. You will receive a confirmation email.
5. Enjoy your Lake Superior Adventure
Have an unforgettable experience with Sail Superior!Thunder Bay Corporate Outings and Team Building
Looking for something new and exciting to do with staff or clients?
Treat your staff to an unforgettable corporate outing and team building experience.
Thank a client for their loyalty.
Enjoy unique experiences!
Corporate team building, corporate outings and corporate events are great for business!
Studies (1) have shown that team building has positive effects on:
- cognitive function (knowledge and abilities)
- affective components (trust, feelings, and attitude)
- process (coordination and communication)
- performance (volume of sales and productivity)
Team building is beneficial to overall team functioning but it is best for improving staff trust, attitudes, coordination, and communication.
(1) Klein, C., DiazGranados, D., Salas, E., Le, H., Burke, C. S., Lyons, R., & Goodwin, G. F. (2009). Does team building work?. Small Group Research, 40(2), 181-222.
Interested in Team Building and Corporate Events in Thunder Bay?
Sail Superior now offers Corporate and Team Building Events
– We live and work next to the biggest lake in the world. Take advantage of it –
Book a staff getaway or team building adventure. Enjoy a thrilling zodiac ride around the harbour. It’s the most exciting thing to do in Thunder Bay! Or, cruise out to the Sleeping Giant and hike up to the clifftop lookout with your team. An unforgettable experience that is sure to bring folks together!
Take business clients on a scenic tour to show your appreciation. Tour the beautiful and historic Kaministiquia River. See what Thunder Bay has to offer. We’ll bring you within feet of major sights. Our captains are knowledgeable and skilled interpretive guides and will stop the boat along the way to point out landmarks and give you and your valued client the opportunity to take photos. Guaranteed to impress. Book one of our many unique experiences.
Many custom options are available to fit your group and budget. Take two half-length tours if you have a bigger group or drive & sail to the Sleeping Giant. Half the group drives out and meets the other half coming in on the boats. After the hike, the groups swap places for the trip back. Make your own Adventure!
Learn more about Sail Superior’s Team Building and Corporate Events.
Historical Lighthouse Tours of Lake SuperiorApril 26, 2018
Historic Lighthouses of Lake Superior
In 1867, Ignace Lighthouse made history by becoming the first lighthouse along Lake Superior’s north shore. Since then, numerous lighthouses were built to protect ships from the unforgiving shoreline of Lake Superior. Many of those lighthouses are still visible today. However, all of the lighthouses surrounding Thunder Bay must be accessed by boat. Fortunately enough, Sail Superior provides both sailing and zodiac tours to all of the islands.
Thunder Bay’s Main Lighthouse
You don’t have to travel far in Thunder Bay to view the Main Lighthouse. It is one of the most iconic structures in the Thunder Bay harbor. The Main Lighthouse is unfortunately closed to the general public. However, it still makes for a great sail and walk along the break wall.
Porphyry Point Lighthouse
The most famous lighthouse on the north shore is the Porphyry Point Lighthouse. In addition to the lighthouse, Porphyry Island is also known for its geology and flora. One of the most notable species of flora being the Devils Club. This tall thorny shrub is found nowhere else in Ontario. In fact, there have been no other sightings east of the Rocky Mountains.
Porphyry Island is also known worldwide through the book The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter. This novel tells the story of the family that once occupied Porphyry Point. A must read for lighthouse enthusiasts.
Monday Lighthouse Special
Sail Superior is excited to announce the new Monday Lighthouse Special. This unforgettable tour will take you from Thunder Bay’s Waterfront to the Porphyry Point lighthouse and back. Due to the introduction of the new Zodiac Rocket, passengers can now get to offshore destinations faster. Furthermore, for only $149 plus tax, passengers can now spend 3 hours exploring the island and 2 hours enjoying a scenic ride on Lake Superior. This exciting tour leaves every Monday at 9 am and can seat up to 12 people.
Upon arrival, passengers can climb to the top of the lighthouse and view the gorgeous coastline from the island’s highest point. Hike around the lighthouse keeper’s residence and explore the rugged rocky beaches of Lake Superior.
Thanks to the help of the Canadian Lighthouses of Lake Superior Inc, Porphyry Island’s many historical structures continue to be maintained and the history preserved. Sail Superior welcomes everyone to come out and see this hidden gem.
May 4th Fundraiser
Each year the Canadian lighthouses of Lake Superior host an annual fundraiser at the Prince Arthur Hotel. Funds raised go towards maintenance and upkeep of lighthouses. This year’s fundraiser pays tribute to the lighthouse keepers who once occupied the structures we see today. Tickets can be purchased online or at the Prince Arthur Hotel, tickets include a sit down meal and access to more than 25 penny auction items.