Saint-Augustin Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Site description (2001 baseline):

Site location and context
The Saint-Augustin Migratory Bird Sanctuary, near the village of Saint-Augustin, in the Côte-Nord region of Québec, is a group of islands and rocks spread over 5,570 hectares along the south shore of Grande Passe Island, in the northeast section of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. About a dozen of these islands are over one kilometre long. Most of the site is composed of coastal marine areas, while the remainder is made up of rocky outcrops that are very typical of this region. Shrubby and grassy vegetation cover only about 20% of the area.

Key biodiversity
Seven species of birds breed on the Saint-Augustin Migratory Bird Sanctuary site: Herring Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Razorbill, Black Guillemot, Common Eider and Common Tern. Most of these species have been present since the start of surveys in 1925. Herring Gull numbers are globally significant, with 3,107 pairs being recorded in 1988. This is over 2% of the North American population. This bird is the most common breeder and is the only species that has been increasing in numbers at the site recently.

From 1935 to 1960, the Common Eider population was between 900 and 1,500 adults, which was continentally significant. Since 1977 however, significant demographic changes have brought the species to a low of 12 individuals in 1988. Razorbill, Black Guillemot (10 birds in 1988, compared to 182 in 1950), Ring-billed Gull and Great Black-backed Gull have had higher populations in the past as well. The total number of seabirds detected at the last survey (1988) was 7,580 adults.

Red-throated Loons have bred on the site, with a maximum of 22 breeding birds counted in 1940 and 1960; this is a high density considering the non-colonial nature of this bird. A pair of Caspian Tern possibly nested in 1976; this species is at risk in the Atlantic provinces.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
This site has been designated as a Migratory Bird Sanctuary. It has a marine bird conservation status for part of the year and is accessible for recreational activities at other times. Potential threats include disturbance of the breeding birds by recreational activities.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Saint-Augustin Migratory Bird Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 04/10/2023.