IBA Bird Island
Cartwright, Labrador
Site Summary
LB019 Latitude
53.729° N
56.253° W
0 - 55 m
7.15 km²
coastal cliffs/rocky shores (marine), unknown
Land Use:
Not Utilized (Natural Area)
Potential or ongoing Threats:
Oil slicks
IBA Criteria: Globally Significant: Congregatory Species, Nationally Significant: Colonial Waterbird/Seabird Concentrations
Conservation status: IBA Conservation Plan written/being written
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Site Description
Bird Islands is located along the southcentral Labrador coast at the mouth of Table Bay. It is approximately 80km southeast of Hamilton Inlet, and 50 km east of Cartwright. The islands are somewhat isolated, being more than 10 km from the closest point of mainland and more than five km from any other offshore island. The larger island (500m by 200m) has steep cliffs along its north side, while the south side slopes steeply to the water. The upper portion, in a slightly depressed area, is vegetated with grassy turf. The other island (located to the east) is only 200m by 150m in size. It also has steep cliffs that rise from its north side, with the south side rising more gently. Grasses and other herbaceous vegetation grow from the cracks in the rocks; there are no areas of grassy turf.
The Bird Islands support a large colony of nesting seabirds. During surveys completed in the late 1970s, at least two species were present in significant numbers: Atlantic Puffin (8,070 pairs about 2.2% of the estimated North American population); and Razorbills (1,530 pairs about 4.1% of the estimated North American population). Although their nesting population is below the national threshold, large numbers of Common Murres (3,100 pairs) were also present. Other nesting seabirds include Great Black-backed Gull (20 pairs), Leachs Storm-petrel, and Thick-billed Murre. In all, it was estimated that the colony contained 12,770 pairs of nesting seabirds. No more recent surveys have been completed. In recent years a peregrine falcon pair have been seen nesting on the Bird Islands.

IBA Criteria
SpeciesT | A | I Links Date Season Number G C N
Atlantic Puffin 1978 SU 16,140
Razorbill 1978 SU 3,060
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
From June to early December, coastal ferries and other boats shipping freight pass along the coast of Labrador. This activity has the potential to lead to oil pollution (either illegal discharges, or accidental groundings) that could negatively affect the nesting seabirds. Ships and coastal ferries that are approaching Cartwright from the south often use a route that takes them between the mainland and Bird Island.

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