Bay St. Lawrence, Nova Scotia
Cape North is a peninsula at the northernmost tip of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. The hamlet of Bay St. Lawrence lies just to the south. Steep slopes lead to a plateau of undulating terrain covered by a dense and stunted forest that is primarily coniferous. The maritime climate and exposed location of the forest means that even in summer, the conditions are cool and windy. One minor road, that provides access to microwave towers, runs through the area.
Breeding Bicknells Thrushes were only first documented here in the mid-1980s. In the mid 1990s it was estimated that about 50 territorial male Bicknells Thrush occurred in the dense forests of the Cape North area (range between 20 and 100), although surveys in 1999 suggest that the numbers of Bicknells Thrush found here are at the lower end of the estimate range, perhaps in the order of 25 territorial males. Twenty-five to 50 birds represent between 1.4 and 2.8% of the Canadian population of Bicknells Thrush, and up to 1% of the global population of the species (using the most conservative total population estimates). This thrush species has recently been categorized as vulnerable by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. In 1995 it was accepted as a full species, having previously been considered a subspecies of the Gray-cheeked Thrush since its discovery in 1881.
Boreal Owls may nest here as they are seen here regularly in the spring.
Although a little small-scale timber harvesting occurs in the area around Cape North, it is minimal, and the forests where the Bicknells Thrushes breed are too stunted and wind-warped to make good timber. Thus, logging is not recognized as a threat to Bicknells Thrush habitat at Cape North. Also, although the road allows access to part of the forests here, the area is remote and few people venture into these forests.IBA Criteria Habitats Land Uses Potential or Ongoing Threats Conservation Status