The bay is shallow and tidal with extensive areas of mudflats and marine grass, while it is also protected from the Atlantic swell by the dunes at Five Finger Strand and the Isle of Doagh.
The bay is of particular importance for the number of over-wintering birds particularly the Barnacle Geese and a rare Clough Roost. Other common birds spotted on the bay are Godwit, Dunlin and the Pale Bellied Brent Geese
These can number in their thousands in late winter as many species from all over Ireland gather here before they migrate north for the summer.
There is a hide and viewing area just at the bridge before Malin there is also information boards and a picnic area. There is also a bird-watching hide on the way out of Malin on the road two Five Finger Strand.
The bay has been designated as a Special Protection Area (SPA) by the National Parks & Wildlife Service. A PDF report on the conservation objectives of the SPA can be found here.