Eighteenth census of seabirds breeding in the sanctuaries of the North Shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, 2015
Keywords:Seabirds, populations, North Shore, sanctuaries, Gulf of St. Lawrence, larids, alcids
In 1925, ten migratory bird sanctuaries were created on the North Shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and their breeding seabird populations have been censused every five years since. Between 2010 and 2015, only three alcid species exhibited positive population trends (Razorbill [Alca torda], Common Murre [Uria aalge], and Atlantic Puffin [Fratercula arctica]), while the remaining 13 species showed declining trends. Leach’s Storm-Petrel (Hydrobates leucorhous) and Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia) are on the verge of disappearing from the sanctuaries, and the prolonged and rapid decline in Black-legged Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) is worrisome. Based on historical records since 1925, it appears that seabird communities are faring well in some sanctuaries (e.g., Baie de Brador, Îles aux Perroquets, and Îles Sainte-Marie), while numbers are at low levels in others (e.g., Île à la Brume, Baie des Loups, and Saint-Augustin). Human disturbance, harvest of seabirds (eggs and birds), and predation are among the issues potentially most affecting seabird populations on the North Shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
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