Site description (2001 baseline)
Laskeek Bay is an expanse of water open to Hecate Strait on the east coast of Louise Island, and north of Lyell Island in the Queen Charlotte Islands. The IBA includes the islands of Skedans, Low, South Low, Limestone, Reef, Lost and Kingsway Rock, that ly within the broad boundaries of the bay. Reef Island is the largest of the islands, and is bordered by cliffs and steep slopes. Sitka spruce is the dominant tree cover interspersed with Western Hemlock and Cedar in the interior, and open stands of Lodgepole Pine. Reef Island is the primary nesting site in the bay for the globally significant population of Ancient Murrelets. The smaller islands in the bay range from generally flat to hilly with steep rocky gorges, and aresparsely forested, with a few open areas of grass and herbaceous vegetation around the perimeter. Hair Seals and Northern Sea-lions use the islands of Laskeek Bay as haul out and breeding sites. Skedans and Reef Islands are favoured by the Northen Sea-lion.
The marine waters extending out of the bay in a 5 km radius from Reef Island into Hecate Strait are included in the IBA, as are the waters of the bay area that surround the islands. These marine waters provide important seasonal feeding and staging areas for marine birds, in particular the nationally threatened Marbled Murrelet.
Colony inventories conducted in the early to mid 1980s provided an estimate of 6,500 pairs or 1.3% of the estimated global, and 2.5% of the national population of Ancient Murrelets. A recent survey in 1995 suggested an increase in the size of the colony on Reef Island, but not on nearby Limestone Island. At least four species of seabirds breed in nationally significant numbers on the bay islands. These are: Pigeon Guillemot (776 breeding pairs, or 7.6% of the estimated national population); Black Oystercatcher (30 pairs, or 3% of the estimated Canadian population); and Glaucous-winged Gull (341 pairs, or 1.2% of the national population). On sample transects, up to 445 Marbled Murrelets have been counted, representing 1% of this nationally threatened population. Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels are present in small colonies in the area, in numbers approaching national significance (1,480 pairs).
Cassin's Auklets, Pelagic Cormorants and Bald Eagles nest in small numbers on the bay islands, and Peregrine Falcons (ssp pealei) can also be found in the region.
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Laskeek Bay. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/site/factsheet/laskeek-bay-iba-canada on 04/10/2023.