email a friend
printable version
Location Canada, Ontario
Central coordinates 76o 32.88' West  44o 4.13' North
IBA criteria A4i
Area 10 ha
Altitude 75 - 78m
Year of IBA assessment 2008

Bird Studies Canada/Nature Canada

Site description Pigeon Island is located about 15 km south of Kingston in the eastern basin of Lake Ontario. It is flat, about 5 ha in size, dominated by limestone bedrock, and has a thin covering of soil and guano that supports grass and herbaceous plant communities. The only woody vegetation is a clump of dead lilac bushes near the centre of the island. A tall metal tower is present, which supports an automatic navigational light.

Key Biodiversity Pigeon Island supports a mixed-species colony of about 6,200 pairs of five species. Of this total, 479 Caspian Tern nests were recorded in 1990. This represented about 1.5% of the estimated North American Caspian Tern population, and almost 6.8% of the estimated Great Lakes Caspian Tern population. In 1998, however, only 130 pairs of Caspian Terns were recorded, which is still greater than 1% of the estimated Great Lakes population. Large numbers of Ring-billed Gulls (5,017 pairs - approaching national significance) were also present. Other nesting colonial birds on the island included: Double-crested Cormorant (638 nests in 1990; 818 nests in 1993; and 1,818 nests in 1998), Herring Gulls (55 nests in 1990), and Great Black-backed Gulls (5 nests in 1990; 14 nests in 1998). Black-crowned Night-Herons and Cattle Egrets used to nest on Pigeon Island but their nesting habitat was altered by cormorants.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia breeding  1990  479 nests  A4i  Least Concern 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland) Freshwater lakes and pools  -
Coastline Cliffs, rocky shores, islets, freshwater  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research major
tourism/recreation minor

Contribute  Please click here to help BirdLife conserve the world's birds - your data for this IBA and others are vital for helping protect the environment.

Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Pigeon Island. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife