IBA Seymour Island
Bathurst Island, Nunavut
Site Summary
NU045 Latitude
76.809° N
101.267° W
0 - 28 m
53.07 km²
freshwater lake, coastal sand dunes & beaches
Land Use:
Not Utilized (Natural Area)
Potential or ongoing Threats:
Disturbance, Oil slicks
IBA Criteria: Globally Significant: Congregatory Species, Nationally Significant: Threatened Species, Restricted Range Species
Conservation status: Migratory Bird Sanctuary (federal)
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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.
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.

IBA Criteria
SpeciesT | A | I Links Date Season Number G C N
Ivory Gull 1976 SU 300
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 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.

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