Kyuquot Channel, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, lies within Kyuquot Sound, south of the Brooks Peninsula and Checleset Bay. This Important Bird Area includes two clusters of islets northwest and southeast of the mouth of Kyuquot channel, and the surrounding marine area in a 5 km radius around the islets. These clusters of islands are 2 to 4 kilometres from the main western shore of Vancouver Island. Most of the small islets in the site are bare rock devoid of vegetation, but with grass and shrubs in higher areas. Some of the larger islets have round-topped, steep-sided granitic rock cut by many crevices and cliffs, or are composed of fossil-bearing sedimentary rock. Several of the larger islands have areas of black spruce and salal. Sea Otters are found in the marine waters, and Harbour Seals use the islets for haulouts and breeding.
These islets support significant breeding populations of four coastal bird species. In 1988, 2% of the global population of American Black Oystercatchers (125 pairs) and 1% of the North American Glaucous-winged Gull population (2,273 pairs) nested in this area. Also in 1988, 217 pairs of Pelagic Cormorants and 115 Pigeon Guillemots were recorded, which represents 3% and over 1% of their national populations, respectively. Fork-tailed Storm-petrels, Leachs Storm-petrels, and Tufted Puffins also nest on the islets while nesting Bald Eagles are found on the larger islets that support tree growth.
The extensive rocky shelves, pocket beaches and interconnecting intertidal areas provide habitat for a variety of migrating shorebirds. Black Turnstones are the most numerous of the eleven shorebird species recorded in the area. The islets and the surrounding marine areas are also rich feeding and roosting area for other non-breeding birds. Noteworthy bird sightings during the 1988 colony surveys include 200 roosting Brandts Cormorants, 500 Common Murres, and 480 California Gulls. A winter sighting of 610 roosting Brandts Cormorants is particularly notable. Finally, Marbled Murrelets and Harlequin Ducks frequent the surrounding waters.
Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
Potential threats to the area are from oil spills, and disturbance from boaters. Although this area on the west coast of Vancouver Island is far from a major population centre, the groups of islets are close to the entrance of Kyuquot Channel and lie just south of Checleset Bay, a favoured remote destination for adventurous boaters.
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Kyuquot Channel Islets. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 04/12/2022.