IBA Orwell Bay
Southeastern shore, Prince Edward Island
Site Summary
PE014 Latitude
46.131° N
62.911° W
0 - 10 m
91.91 km²
tidal rivers/estuaries, mud or sand flats (saline), inlets/coastal features (marine), arable & cultivated lands, improved pastureland
Land Use:
Agriculture, Nature conservation and research, Hunting
Potential or ongoing Threats:
Agricultural pollution/pesticides
IBA Criteria: Continentally Significant: Congregatory Species
Conservation status: Conservation Area (provincial)
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Site Description
Orwell Bay is located on the southern shore of Prince Edward Island near the town of Belfast. It is part of the much larger Hillsborough Bay to the west, which opens to the Northumberland Strait. The site is centred in the upper reaches of Orwell Bay where the Vernon and Orwell rivers flow into the ocean. The shallow rivers and three metre tides produce mud and sand tidal flats. The surrounding countryside, situated on Permian sandstone, is composed of grassy fields, cultivated croplands, and farm buildings. Although the climate is maritime, the area is not especially notable for fog or wind.
Orwell Bay is most notable for the number of Canada Geese that feed and stage in the area during both spring and fall migration. About 2,500 Canada Geese of the Labrador and Newfoundland population are seen here regularly (about 2% of the estimated population). Other waterfowl also use this area during spring and fall migration with up to 2,000 being present (mostly American Black Ducks).

IBA Criteria
SpeciesT | A | I Links Date Season Number G C N
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
Orwell Bay is not under any obvious threats, although pesticide use in the fields surrounding the bay may contaminate the waters of the bay. In the Orwell Cove section of this site a provincial conservation area was been established in the 1970s. There are also two nearby provincial parks, but their primary purpose is not wetland conservation.

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