Île de la Couvée

Year of compilation: 2001

Site description
Îles de la Couvée is located on the south shore of the St. Lawrence Seaway in the Canal de la Rive Sud, Québec. This site is adjacent to the cities of St. Lambert and Brossard and includes the islands and islets between the Champlain and Victoria bridges.

Four artificial elongate islands ranging in size from 0.36 to 0.94 km2 make up this Important Bird Area. The islands are made of deposit from dredging of the canal. Apart from a few trees (poplars) and sparse herbaceous vegetation composed mainly of Black Mustard on one of the islands, the islands are unvegetated.

Key biodiversity
Huge numbers of Ring-billed Gulls nest on Île de la Couvée #2. This colony has grown in size from 4,000 pairs in 1974 to over 28,000 pairs between 1989 and 1994. The colony then decreased in size so that in 2000 10,751 pairs were present. Thus in recent decades the colony has been equivalent to between 1 and 3% of the global Ring-billed Gull population. Small numbers of Herring Gulls (1994: 8 pairs) also nest on the islands. Common Terns formerly nested at this site (1974: 9 pairs) but are now extirpated.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
A family of red foxes was discovered on the island in 1997 and was still present in 2000. These animals may in large part explain the decrease in the size of the gull colony. Many dead chicks were found around the fox den in 2000.

This site may be vulnerable to disturbance from recreational boats such as sailboats, yachts, and personal watercrafts. Oil and toxic pollution are also potential threats.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Île de la Couvée. Downloaded from on 04/06/2020.