IBA East Point
East Point, Prince Edward Island
Site Summary
PE016 Latitude
46.444° N
62.089° W
0 - 20 m
91.03 km²
coniferous forest (temperate), open sea, coastal cliffs/rocky shores (marine)
Land Use:
Agriculture, Fisheries/aquaculture, Tourism/recreation
Potential or ongoing Threats:
Disturbance, Persecution
IBA Criteria: Globally Significant: Congregatory Species
Conservation status: IBA Conservation Plan written/being written
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Site Description
East Point is the eastern-most tip of Prince Edward Island, which extends into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. It is located about 25 km east-northeast of the town of Souris. The cormorant colony is located on red sandstone cliffs, which are about 15 to 20 m high, and extend for about 1 km to the southwest of the point. They are the highest cliffs for 15+ km in either direction from the point. The tablelands above the cliffs are characterized by mixed coniferous and deciduous woods. The cliff faces have wave-cut footings, and shallows with reefs exposed at low tide (tide-rips at other times) extend about 0.5 km seaward from the point. The tidal range is about 3 to 4 metres, and the sea is often partly ice-covered through late April.
East Point supports a large Great Cormorant Colony with an average of 107 nests recorded over a 12 year period (1987 to 1998). This represents over 1.5% of the estimated North American Great Cormorant population. A peak of 202 nests was recorded in 1991, while a low of only 9 nests was recorded in 1995.

There is some foraging by seabirds (not large numbers) in the tide-rips off the point, and there have been suggestions that migrating Peregrine Falcons concentrate here as well.

IBA Criteria
SpeciesT | A | I Links Date Season Number G C N
Great Cormorant 1987 - 1992 SU 280 - 404
Piping Plover 2001 FA 4 - 8
Piping Plover 2000 - 2002 SP 4
Piping Plover 2001 - 2019 SU 4 - 6
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 marine areas at the base of the cormorant cliffs are overseen by the federal Fisheries and Oceans department; the land above the cliffs is mostly privately owned, except for the East Point Provincial Park and the Coast Guard lighthouse. The lighthouse (now automated) is leased to private interests for tourism.

Disturbance to this colony by fishing interests (which is prevalent at other colonies on P.E.I.) may be limited by the amount of tourism that occurs in the area during the summer. The Prince Edward Island Fish and Wildlife Division monitors populations at this colony annually.

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