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Location Canada, Saskatchewan
Central coordinates 107o 5.43' West  51o 4.86' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii
Area 2,000 ha
Altitude 581 m
Year of IBA assessment 2008

Bird Studies Canada/Nature Canada

Site description Luck Lake is located in south-central Saskatchewan near the village of Birsay. Until recently, it was a large, shallow, saline lake typical of the southern prairies. As such, it was subject to marked year-to-year fluctuations in water levels. In 1987, a large wetland enhancement project was undertaken. The lake now has three basins (separated by dykes), with the eastern and western basins always having water, and the large central basin often being flooded. In all, the site contains approximately 1,800 ha of freshwater marsh, and about 200 ha of grassland and shrub thickets.

Key Biodiversity Luck Lake, when it contained water, was always an important staging area during fall migration. Since the wetland enhancement, however, it has developed into a globally significant site for many water bird species. During the early 1990s, one-day fall peak counts for at least six bird species were of global significance (i.e., greater than 1% of their biogeographical population or greater than 20,000 birds). These species were: Tundra Swan - about 5% of the North American population; Greater White-fronted Goose - about 2.5% of the mid-continent population; Snow Goose; Sandhill Crane 1.6% of the global population; Hudsonian Godwit - about 6% of the population; and Franklin?s Gull - as much as 3% of the global population. These percentages are all based on one-day peak counts. For many species, the actual number of birds using the site would likely be much higher if ?turnover rates? were considered (i.e., the movement of birds through the site over the course of migration). During fall migration, Luck Lake likely supports the largest concentration of Hudsonian Godwits in Saskatchewan. In summer, nationally significant numbers of Marbled Godwits are reported, such as 1,500 in 1995, which is 15% of the Canadian population.

In addition to these species, thousands of other shorebirds and waterfowl make use of Luck Lake during fall migration. Between September 1 and October 10, it has been estimated that the total waterbird population ranges between 60,000 and 100,000. The globally endangered Whooping Crane is also occasionally reported here during fall migration.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Greater White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons passage  1992  21,750 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Tundra Swan Cygnus columbianus passage  1994  16,900 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Sandhill Crane Antigone canadensis passage  1992  10,200 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Whooping Crane Grus americana non-breeding  1994  2 individuals  A1  Endangered 
Hudsonian Godwit Limosa haemastica passage  1995  4,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Franklin's Gull Larus pipixcan passage  1993  15,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds passage  1991  50,000-99,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland) Freshwater marshes/swamps  -

Land use

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

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

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