Site description (2001 baseline)
Smith Sound, on the mainland coast of British Columbia, lies between Cape Caution and Kelp Head and is exposed to the open waters of Queen Charlotte Sound, north of Vancouver Island. Six of the islands that lie outside the entrance to Smith Sound and off Kelp Head at the entrance to Rivers Inlet support small colonies of nesting seabirds. Dugout, Ruby, Egg and Armstrong Rock are rocky islets with pockets of grasses and forbes amongst blocks and ridges of rock on the higher portions of the islets. Salal, with open patches of grass and herbaceous growth, occur under a forest of Sitka spruce, Western hemlock and Western redcedar on Egg and Ann islands. The marine area in a 5 kilometre radius of the islands is included in the IBA. This area is about 25 kilometres north of the Duke of Edinburgh Ecological Reserve IBA in the Queen Charlotte Strait.
Collectively, these six islands are a site of national significance for three species of seabirds, which nest primarily on Dugout, Egg and Ruby Rocks. Breeding birds include 360 pairs of Glaucous-winged Gulls (1.4% of the national population) 20 pairs of Black Oystercatchers and 117 Pigeon Guillemots (2% and 1.1% of the national population respectively). Population values are from surveys conducted in 1988 (with the exception of Ann Island and Armstrong Rock, which are from previous surveys). Although the survey during 1988 recorded a total of only 24 pairs of Pelagic Cormorants nesting on Dugout and Ruby Rocks, the previous survey in 1976 reported a larger breeding population with 148 nests, representing more than 3% of the Canadian component of the north Pacific population, on Dugout Rocks. Additionally, small numbers of Rhinoceros Auklets and Cassins Auklets are recorded nesting on Egg Island. Harlequin Ducks frequent the shorelines of the islands, and small numbers of shorebirds feed along the rocky shores.
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Smith Sound Islets. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/site/factsheet/smith-sound-islets-iba-canada on 04/12/2023.