Ramsay and Northern Juan Perez Sound Islands

Country/territory: Canada

IBA criteria met: A4ii, A4iii (2008)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 18,000 ha

Birds Canada / Nature Canada

Site description (2001 baseline)
Ramsay and the northern Juan Perez Sound islands are located off the east coast of Moresby Island, just south of Lyell Island, within the Queen Charlotte Islands. Four major islands (Ramsay, Murchison, House and Hotsprings) and three rocky islets (Tatsung, Kloo and Ramsay) are included within this island group. The small islets are devoid of vegetation, while the four larger islands are forested with a mix of Sitka Spruce, Western Hemlock, Western Red Cedar and some Red Alder. Of the four islands, Ramsay is the largest and the most important for nesting seabirds in the region. It has a variable landscape, with coastlines characterized by moderate to steep forested slopes and prominent cliffs; grass and salal occur along parts of the shoreline. These islands are also used as both breeding and haul-out sites for Hair Seals.

The marine waters within a five km radius of Ramsay Island are also included in the IBA due to their importance as feeding and staging areas for the seabirds.

Key biodiversity
This group of islands contains one of the ten largest concentrations of breeding Ancient Murrelets in British Columbia. Population estimates obtained from surveys in the mid-1980s show that as a whole, the area supports approximately 20,800 pairs, or 4.2% of the estimated global, and almost 8% of the estimated national population. Individually, Ramsay Island is the fourth largest of the 26 confirmed Ancient Murrelet breeding sites in British Columbia.

These islands also support 13,000 pairs of Cassin's Auklets, which is just under 1% of the estimated national population. Black Oystercatchers and Pigeon Guillemots have also been observed in significant numbers, (about 1.2% and close to 1% of their respective national populations). Surveys during the 1970s reported as many as 100 pairs of nesting Pelagic Cormorants on the cliffs of Murchison Island. The most recent survey (1986), however, recorded only 14 pairs of this species.

Other seabirds that nest at this site in smaller numbers include Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels, Leach's Storm-Petrels, and Glaucous-winged Gulls. Bald Eagles nest on the forested islands and Peregrine Falcons (ssp. pealei) are observed in the region.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Ramsay and Northern Juan Perez Sound Islands. Downloaded from on 03/12/2023.