IBA Gannet Islands
Grady Harbour, Labrador
Site Summary
LB001 Latitude
Longitude
53.934° N
56.505° W
Elevation
Size
0 - 50 m
245.40 km²
Habitats:
scrub/shrub, tundra, coastal cliffs/rocky shores (marine)
Land Use:
Nature conservation and research
Potential or ongoing Threats:
Oil slicks
IBA Criteria: Globally Significant: Congregatory Species, Colonial Waterbirds/Seabird Concentrations, Nationally Significant: Threatened Species, Congregatory Species
Conservation status: Ecological Reserve (provincial), IBA Conservation Plan written/being written
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Site Description
The Gannet Islands are a remote group of seven islands at the mouth of Sandwich Bay. The nearest point on the mainland is Cape North, approximately 17 km away. Six of the islands, the Gannet Clusters, are located in close proximity to one another. The seventh island, Outer Gannet, is located approximately seven km to the north. All of the islands are low lying and rocky. The vegetation is dominated by dwarf heath scrub with sedges, and grasses characteristic of the tundra may also be present.
Birds
The site hosts significant breeding populations of Razorbills, Atlantic Puffins and Common Murres. The largest Razorbill colony in eastern North America occurs here, with approximately 5,400 pairs being present (over 14% of the eastern North America population). Large populations of Atlantic Puffins (about 50,000 pairs - approximately 13% of the eastern North America population) and Common Murre (about 63,000 pairs - approximately 11% of the eastern North America population) are also present. There is some evidence that the populations of both Common and Thick-billed Murres have increased at the Gannet Islands. In the early 1950s, 11,650 pairs of Common Murres and 315 pairs of Thick-billed Murres were recorded. Other seabird species breeding on the islands include Thick-billed Murre, Black Guillemot, Northern Fulmar, Black-legged Kittiwake, Great Black-backed Gull and Leach's Storm-Petrel. Northern Gannets, ironically, do not breed on Gannet Island; the islands were named after a British Admiralty survey ship - HMA Gannet.

The Gannet Islands support breeding populations of all the auk species occurring in eastern Canada, including the most southerly colony of a substantial number of Thick-billed Murres (964 pairs on the Gannet Clusters, and 441 pairs on Outer Gannet Island). Large flocks of molting Harlequin Ducks (70 to 150) from the eastern population (nationally endangered) are also present around the islands in summer.




IBA Criteria
SpeciesT | A | I Links Date Season Number G C N
Atlantic Puffin 1975 - 1983 SU 78,700 - 99,410
Common Murre 1975 - 1983 SU 93,200 - 126,174
Razorbill 1975 - 1983 SU 10,800 - 12,840
Note: species shown in bold indicate that the maximum number exceeds at least one of the IBA thresholds (sub-regional, regional or global). The site may still not qualify for that level of IBA if the maximum number reflects an exceptional or historical occurrence.
 
Conservation Issues
The islands are protected as a provincial ecological reserve. Although disturbance is a concern with most seabird colonies, the remoteness of these islands makes this threat minimal.

The IBA Program is an international conservation initiative coordinated by BirdLife International. The Canadian co-partners for the IBA Program are Bird Studies Canada and Nature Canada.
   © Bird Studies Canada