|Central coordinates||68o 53.36' West 48o 24.93' North|
|IBA criteria||A4i, A4iii|
|Altitude||0 - 10m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2008|
Ornithological information Île Bicquette supports the largest colony of Common Eiders in Canada. A peak count of 14,925 pairs was recorded in 1992, while the average for all five years (1991 to 1995) was 10,811 pairs. It should be noted that for three of these years (1991, 1993 and 1995) surveys were conducted by two different groups. Their numbers varied so, for those years, an average was calculated, and that average was used to calculate the five-year average. This colony represents about 5% of the North American population, and as much as 12.5% of the estimated Atlantic North American (ssp. dresseri) population. The average density of Common Eider nests on this island is exceedingly high at 813 nests per hectare.
An aerial survey of seaducks conducted in the St. Lawrence River in May 1995 recorded 6242 Commmon Eiders in the waters between St. Fabien and Pointe-au-Père. The vast majority of these birds were within 100 m of Île Bicquette and were clearly birds from this colony. In addition to Common Eiders, Herring Gulls, Great Black-backed Gulls, and Double-crested Cormorants and some landbird species have nested on the island.
Site description Île Bicquette is located along the south shore of the St. Lawrence estuary in Quebec, 7.7 km off Cap-à-l’Orignal (a spit of land that extends from Le Bic Provincial Park). The larger Île du Bic island lies one kilometre to the southeast. Île Bicquette is composed of shale, and is surrounded by two little grassy islets and several rocky reefs. A large lighthouse, surrounded by the keeper’s residence, is located on the western part of the main island. Approximately 75% of the island is covered by forests, with the dominant tree species being Balsam Fir. The forests have been described as dense and over-mature with little sign of regeneration in the sapling layer.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Common Eider Somateria mollissima||breeding||1995||10,000 breeding pairs||unknown||A4i||Least Concern|
|A4iii Species group - waterbirds||breeding||1995||-||unknown||A4iii|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Îles de l'estuaire||National Wildlife Area||409||protected area contained by site||11|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Forest||Temperate coniferous forest; Temperate deciduous woods||75%|
|Wetlands (inland)||Intertidal mud, sand or salt flats||10%|
|Coastline||Sea cliffs and rocky shores||5%|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||major|
Conservation response Île Bicquette is part of the Îles de l’estuarie National Wildlife Area, and as such, the eider colony is managed and monitored yearly. Provision has been made for an annual eider down harvest, which occurs each year at the end of May or the beginning of June, late in the incubation period..
A critical threat to the Common Eider colony, however, is the decline of the Balsam Fir forests, which provide cover for the nesting birds. Currently, there is very little regeneration occurring within the forest. Numerous reasons have been suggested for this occurrence: trampling of young seedlings by the dense concentrations of nesting eiders; nitrogen saturation by an accumulation of eider feces (the soils on Île Bicquette have nitrogen concentrations that are higher than at any other forested site in Québec where tests have been completed); browsing of the seedlings by snowshoe hare; and/or deficient production of seeds by aged Balsam Fir. Silvicultural recommendations to enhance regeneration have been proposed to the National Wildlife Area managers. Finally, predation by Red Foxes can affect the colony.
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2013) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Île Bicquette. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/05/2013
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