Eastern Shore Islands

Year of compilation: 2001

Site description
The Eastern Shore Islands are situated along the southeast coast of central Nova Scotia, between 60 and 120 km east of the city of Halifax. That is, the site includes inshore islands roughly between Clam Harbour and Ecum Secum. Within this rock-strewn stretch of sea are many low islands, islets and reefs, between 2 to 15 km offshore. The vegetation on these islands varies from mostly wooded to treeless. Some of these islands are still used as seasonal bases for inshore fisheries. The climate in this region is typical of the Maritimes, with much fog and wind, and with light snow cover in winter. The tidal range is about 2 metres.

Key biodiversity
The Eastern Shore Islands support breeding congregations of greater than 4,000 Common Eiders (spp. dresseri). This represents more than 2.5% of the subspecies population. Additionally, large fall and spring congregations of eiders number more than 10,000 (approximately 2% of the total North American Common Eider population).

Eastern population Harlequin Ducks (nationally endangered) are found here in the winter. As many as50 birds, or 3.3% of the estimated eastern population of this species, winter along this coast.

Other waterfowl frequent this site during spring migration. Thousands of scoters (White-winged, Black and Surf) have been recorded in the vicinity of the Eastern Shore Islands. Also, Leach's Storm-Petrels breed on some of the islands, but these colonies are largely unstudied and hence the number of birds is unknown.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
Some of the more important island groups are provincial wildlife management areas that were established in the 1970s; the remainder of the site is either owned by the provincial government or by private owners. Bird monitoring surveys occur here sporadically.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Eastern Shore Islands. Downloaded from on 18/08/2022.