The Nicolet/Baie-du-Febvre site spreads out along the St. Lawrence River south shore, near the city of Nicolet, Québec. The site’s limits are those of the Nicolet Migratory Bird Sanctuary, which stretches from Île Moras in the east, to Longue Pointe in the west. The area is about 2.5 km wide and is mostly flooded in spring. The habitat varies from cultivated fields that, as the lakeshore is approached, are gradually replaced by wetlands and marshes. The three islands within the site are covered with wooded swamps and forest. To the west, there is a sewage lagoon surrounded by a cattail marsh. There are several species of fish at risk that use the area for spawning or feeding, including American Eel and Pickerel.
The site’s great waterfowl diversity is due to the size of the flooded plain near cultivated fields. This is the most important spring stopover area for migrating Canada Geese and dabblers in the St. Lawrence system. Globally significant numbers of Snow Geese stop here, with a maximum in 1998 of 500,000 birds: this is most of the total Greater Snow Goose population. Canada Geese also reach globally significant numbers, with a peak of 100,000 being recorded in the spring of 1998. In the 1997 spring migration, 3,000 American Black Ducks were recorded, which represents 1% of the entire world population. Also, approximately 2.5% of the North American population of Black Scoters were seen in the fall of 1985, with the sighting of a flock of 5,000 birds.
Many other species of waterfowl have been recorded, with maximum counts of 8,000 dabbling ducks, 4,500 Northern Pintail, 15,000 scaup (both Lesser and Greater) and over 5,000 Common Goldeneye. Breeding ducks include Wood Duck, Northern Shoveler, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Ring-necked Duck, and Green-winged and Blue-winged Teal. This site is one of Québec’s few breeding areas for Redhead, Ruddy Duck and Wilson’s Phalarope. There are about 100 Wilson’s Phalaropes in the province, of which 30 or so are found in the study site in the breeding season. The only non-waterfowl species present in significant numbers is Black Tern. During the breeding season of 1997, a total of 1,000 birds were surveyed: this is perhaps 10% of the poorly known Canadian population. Other birds nesting in marsh with this species are American Bittern, Sora and Common Moorhen.
Three nationally threatened species are regularly seen here in low numbers: Short-eared Owl (vulnerable), Least Bittern (vulnerable; breeds), and Peregrine Falcon (threatened).
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Nicolet et Baie-du-Fèbvre. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/10/2019.