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Seymour Island (NU045)

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Seymour Island (NU045)

Bathurst Island, Nunavut

Latitude 76.809°N
Longitude 101.267°W
Altitude 0 - 28m
Area 53.07km²

Site Description

Seymour Island is part of the Berkeley Group of islands and is located approximately 30 km north of Bathurst Island, Nunavut. The island is approximately 3 km long, and raised beaches cover most of the island. Vegetation cover is sparse and consists mostly of mosses, lichens, sedges, and grasses. Several freshwater ponds are also present on the island.

Birds

Seymour Island supports 150 breeding pairs of the nationally vulnerable Ivory Gull. This represents 12% of the Canadian and about 1% of the world population of Ivory Gulls. However, population size estimates for this species are highly uncertain.

Seymour Island has not been surveyed since some point prior to 1976; nonetheless the presence of old nests that are partly overgrown by moss suggests that this Ivory Gull colony is one of the oldest in Canada, and is probably still occupied. The presence of lush vegetation on nest sites could only occur through the continued use by Ivory Gulls. The accumulation of plant material for nest building as well as discarded food and fecal material support these plant communities.

The habitat used by Ivory Gulls on Seymour Island is different from that of other Canadian Ivory Gull colonies. While most colonies are situated on nunataks in glacial fields or on rocky limestone plateaus, the gulls of Seymour Island breed on raised beaches.

Conservation Issues

The remote and inaccessible location of the Ivory Gull breeding colonies limits direct risk from human disturbance. At other sites, disturbance by humans, and in particular, low-flying aircraft have resulted in colony abandonment. Oil pollution is a potential threat because Seymour Island is situated at the edge of the Sverdrup where oil and natural gas interests are concentrated. Seymour Island is designated as a bird sanctuary.

IBA Criteria Habitats Land Uses Potential or Ongoing Threats Conservation Status
Ivory Gull
Number Year Season
3001976Summer