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St. Paul Island (NS032)


St. Paul Island (NS032)

Cabot Strait, Nova Scotia

Latitude 47.204°N
Longitude 60.151°W
Altitude 0 - 120m
Area 20.27km²

Site Description

St. Paul Island, Nova Scotia, is an isolated, five kilometre-long island 25 kilometres off the northern tip of Nova Scotia. The island is steep-sided and very exposed to winds from all directions; the shores are wave-swept up to 50 metres. The resulting coniferous forest is stunted and scrubby. In the flatter central part of the island lie a few ponds. The island is no longer inhabited as the only former inhabitants of the island, the lighthouse keepers, are now gone.


St. Paul Island is thought to support about between 10 to 25 territorial male Bicknells Thrushes (about 1% of the Canadian population). This species, recently declared vulnerable in Canada by COSEWIC, has a small population worldwide and an even smaller population in Canada (between two and six thousand territorial males). The dense stunted and isolated woods of St. Paul Island provide the preferred habitat for this elusive species.

No cliff-nesting seabirds breed on St. Paul Island, since the shoreline cliffs are too exposed to extreme wave action. Leach's Storm-Petrels are thought to breed on the island, but there have been no surveys conducted for these burrow-nesting species.

Conservation Issues

Few people visit this isolated and inaccessible spot which means that breeding Bicknells Thrushes are unlikely to be disturbed. Marine pollution is the only possible threat to the nesting seabirds.

IBA Criteria Habitats Land Uses Potential or Ongoing Threats Conservation Status
Bicknell's Thrush
Number Year Season