Year of compilation: 2001
Most of the islands are characterized by smooth bedrock with vegetation being restricted to sheltered depressions and the larger islands. Numerous marine mammals forage over the shallow marine shelves around the islands (e.g., Ring Seal, Bearded Seal, Beluga), and during the fall the area is of especial importance to Walrus. Large, healthy populations of river run Arctic Char are also found in and around the Sleeper Islands.
During the 1985 survey, 2,204 Common Eider nests were recorded on 108 islands within the archipelago. This was extrapolated to provide an overall estimate of 5,900 pairs for the entire Sleeper Island Archipelago. A survey completed in 1997, however, revealed a 78.7% decline, with only 468 nests being recorded on the same 108 islands. Extrapolation in the same manner as for the earlier surveys provides an overall estimate of 1,253 pairs (or about 14% of the estimated breeding population).
Populations of gulls (Herring and Glaucous) and Arctic Terns have declined as well: gull nesting density by 25%, and tern nesting density by 53.5%. During the mid 1980s, populations of these species included 180 pairs of Glaucous Gulls, 180 pairs of Herring Gulls, and 220 pairs of Arctic Terns
Other ornithological records of note include the recent nesting of Tundra Swans on Kidney Island, and the abundance of nesting Purple Sandpipers.
These eider populations have a long history of use by the Inuit for subsistence. Evidence of Inuit presence and use of the eider population is in the form of man-made stone rings that still surround old and active nest cups on many of the islands. The rocks limited the female?s access to their nests and facilitated their trapping for food.
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Sleeper Islands. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/site/factsheet/11289 on 07/06/2023.