Oak Lake and Plum Lakes has been recognized internationally as one of the world’s most dominant places for birds and wildlife and the Ducks Unlimited of Canada conservation area known as Jiggens Bluff is located approximately two miles southeast of Oak Lake, and accessible by foot to the public.
DUC acquired this land in 1997 from the Nature Conservancy of Canada which consists of 12 quarters. The property contains 340 acres of wetland, 713 acres of deciduous forest and approximately 860 acres of native prairie.
Edward and Edith Jiggens farmed for many years raising cattle and harvesting hay. Ed was a member of the Oak Lake Water Table Preservation Association and spent a lot of time trying to preserve the Oak and Plum Lake marsh complex. His sister, Edith was also busy assisting with farm operations and kept a huge garden as well. After they both retired from farming in the 1970s, they continued to cut hay and eventually sold the majority of the farmland on the bluff to nature conservation.
When Edith passed away in the fall of 2000, Edward took the plunge and got married while in his 80s. After a few years on Jiggens Bluff, Edward and Agnes, his new bride moved to Carman, Man. to be closer to her grandchildren. Edward passed away April 6, 2021.
Jiggens Bluff remains home to a variety of moose, elk, deer, coyotes, black bear and an overabundance of small mammals. The area is also a significant habitat for bobolink, savannah sparrow, hermit thrush, red-eyed vireo, marsh wren, red-winged blackbird, great blue heron, sand hill crane, blue-winged teal, ruffed grouse, Swainson’s hawk, bald eagle and pileated woodpecker. This multitude of birds attracts golden eagles to the region each fall, where they teach their young to hunt.
In July there was a hiking tour and bird walk at the Nature Conservation property at Jiggens Bluff south of Oak Lake. Participants joining in on the tour and were asked to wear sturdy walking shoes or boots and any appropriate clothing for the weather plus water and snacks. Binoculars and cameras were used as a significant portion of the beautiful red-headed woodpecker population, an endangered species, can be found here.