Site description (2001 baseline):
Several species of colonial birds nest within the NWA including nationally significant numbers of Forster?s Terns, and large numbers of American White Pelicans (804 birds), Double-crested Cormorants (2,854 birds), Black Terns (greater than 50 pairs) and Black-crowned Night Herons (greater than 50 pairs).
The northern end of Last Mountain Lake is one of the few areas in Saskatchewan where the globally endangered Whooping Crane occurs on an annual basis as a migrant. Most Whooping Cranes that occur here are early migrant singles or pairs rather than the late migrating family groups that occur elsewhere. Other threatened species that occur here in low numbers include Ferruginous Hawk (one regularly nesting pair), Peregrine Falcon (fairly common migrant), Piping Plover (variable numbers - zero to a few nesting pairs), Caspian Tern (occasional nestings of a pair), Burrowing Owl (former nester, now locally extirpated) and Loggerhead Shrike (a few breeding pairs) Last Mountain Lake Bird Observatory has undertaken intensive landbird migration monitoring on the east side of the lake since 1990. On average, 3,400 birds of 76 species are banded annually. The total number of birds moving through the area is much, much higher since banding occurs in only a small section. The five most abundant species banded are: Yellow-rumped Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Clay-coloured Sparrow, Alder Flycatcher, and Least Flycatcher. The majority of the migrating songbirds are neotropical migrants.
Last Mountain Lake has also been recognized as a key site under the International Biological Program; a Ramsar site; a National Historic Site; and as a proposed Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve. A Draft Resource Management Plan for the Last Mountain Lake National Wildlife Area and Migratory Bird Sanctuary was released by Environment Canada in January 1994.
The primary threats to the area include: disturbance from increased public use (particularly boating); agricultural runoff (pesticides and fertilizers); and exotic plant species (smooth brome, toadflax, and nodding thistle).
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Last Mountain Lake National Wildlife Area. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/site/factsheet/last-mountain-lake-national-wildlife-area-iba-canada on 04/12/2023.