Little George Island

Year of compilation: 2001

Site description
Little George Island is located in the northern basin of Lake Winnipeg, about 40 km southwest of the Poplar River First Nation. It is a remote island that is only 12 ha in size. A lagoon is located in its middle, and a sandy point extends to the northwest of the island. This sandy point is utilized as a nesting site by the terns.

Key biodiversity
Little George Island supports a significant colony of nesting Common and Caspian Terns. Over the past 25 years, an estimated 1,000 to 1,800 Common Tern nests, and 500 to 1,120 Caspian Tern nests have been recorded in a single year. For Common Terns, this would represent at least 2.5% of their estimated North American population, and for Caspian Terns this would represent at least 1.5% of their estimated North American population. Numbers of Caspian Terns at this site have fluctuated quite dramatically. As many as 3,800 pairs were recorded in 1992, but it is now thought that many have moved to a new colony on the Long Point sandspit to the northwest. Caspian Terns were listed as nationally vulnerable species from 1978 to April 1999. Recovering populations, however, prompted the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada to remove the species from the list of concern. Other species nesting on the island include Herring Gull (50 nests 1986), Ring-billed Gull (3,000 to 4,000 pairs) and Double-crested Cormorant (60 nests 1986). In addition, Greater Scaup also regularly nest on the island with as many as 12 nests being found in a single day. This is by far the most southerly documented breeding site for Greater Scaup in Manitoba.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
Little George Island is located in a remote part of Lake Winnipeg that is famous for its great wind-storms. Although this serves to protect the island from visitors, when there is a severe storm, commercial fishermen are sometimes forced to seek shelter on this island. These infrequent visits are probably the only threat to the birds nesting at this site. Little George Island has been proposed for Ecological Reserve Status. The reserve would cover the entire island, plus a 250 metre zone around the island (a total of 74 ha). In Manitoba, Ecological Reserves receive the highest form of protection available.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Little George Island. Downloaded from on 25/06/2021.