IBA Lucy Islands
Chatham Sound, British Columbia
Site Summary
BC122 Latitude
Longitude
54.289° N
130.613° W
Elevation
Size
0 - 59 m
73.95 km²
Habitats:
coniferous forest (boreal/alpine), open sea, coastal cliffs/rocky shores (marine)
Land Use:
Not Utilized (Natural Area)
Potential or ongoing Threats:
Disturbance, Oil slicks
IBA Criteria: Globally Significant: Congregatory Species, Colonial Waterbirds/Seabird Concentrations, Nationally Significant: Congregatory Species
Conservation status:
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Site Description
Lucy Islands lie in the middle of Chatham Sound, approximately 21 km west of the town of Prince Rupert. They are protected from the open waters of Dixon Entrance and Hecate Strait by the Dundas and Stephens Island groups. In general, Lucy Islands is an archipelago of small, low-lying, and heavily forested islands. Sandy beaches and tidal mud flats connect many of the islands, and a few isolated islets are present. The forests are composed primarily of Sitka Spruce, with Western Hemlock being more prevalent in the interior of the larger islands. The burrow-nesting Rhinoceros Auklets eliminate much of the ground cover within their colonies, but interior areas of the islands remain mossy with scattered shrubs that are dense in some areas.
Birds
Lucy Islands support a globally significant population of Rhinoceros Auklets. Surveys conducted in 1983 documented the presence of 25,300 nesting pairs (about 5.4% of the global and 7% of the estimated national population). An early survey (1976) documented a similar population, with 26,000 pairs being recorded. The auklets nest primarily around the perimeter of most of the vegetated islands, with the colonies extending as far as 120 m inland on the main island. Lucy Islands support the sixth largest of the 19 known Rhinoceros Auklets colonies in British Columbia.

Although no thorough estimates of the breeding population are available, large concentrations of Pigeon Guillemots have been recorded at this site. As many as 197 birds (1.9% of the estimated national population) were recorded among the islands in 1983. In 1984, however, only 54 Pigeon Guillemots were recorded. Other species nesting on the islands include Glaucous-winged Gulls and Black Oystercatchers. The surrounding marine area is an important feeding area for marine birds.




IBA Criteria
SpeciesT | A | I Links Date Season Number G C N
Rhinoceros Auklet 1976 - 1983 SU 46,600 - 52,000
Note: species shown in bold indicate that the maximum number exceeds at least one of the IBA thresholds (sub-regional, regional or global). The site may still not qualify for that level of IBA if the maximum number reflects an exceptional or historical occurrence.
 
Conservation Issues
The islands proximity to Prince Rupert, a major port in northern British Columbia, places them at greater risk for oil spills, due to frequent boat traffic. Disturbance of the nesting birds by recreational boaters is also a concern. The islands, which are crown land, are currently uninhabited. Formerly, a lighthouse was located on the east point of the main island, but it was dismantled in 1988.

The IBA Program is an international conservation initiative coordinated by BirdLife International. The Canadian co-partners for the IBA Program are Bird Studies Canada and Nature Canada.
   © Bird Studies Canada