IBA Bellshill Lake
Sedgewick, Alberta
Site Summary
AB116 Latitude
52.602° N
111.555° W
650 - 695 m
27.81 km²
freshwater lake, freshwater marsh
Land Use:
Hunting, Not Utilized (Natural Area)
Potential or ongoing Threats:
IBA Criteria: Globally Significant: Congregatory Species, Waterfowl Concentrations
Conservation status:
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Site Description
Bellshill Lake is located approximately 24 km southeast of the town of Sedgewick, in east-central Alberta. Also known as Goose Lake, this lake has a few patches of bulrush along its shoreline, but otherwise the shoreline is open. The north end of the lake is fairly shallow, with the central and southern portions being a little deeper. A mixture of pasture and cultivated lands surround the lake.

Bellshill Lake supports over 20,000 white geese each fall. Most of these birds are Snow Geese, but some are Ross Geese. In some years, however, the numbers are much higher, such as on October 24, 2000, when it was estimated that there were 50,000 white geese on the lake. Ross Geese arrive earlier than the Snow Geese, which peak in early October, so these figures to not include peak Ross Goose numbers. Greater White-fronted Geese are also abundant between 5,000 and 10,000 are usually present. The higher number is about 1% of the North American population.

Several thousand Canada Geese, probably from the Short Grass Prairie population, are also feed here in the autumn. The geese are attracted to the open shorelines found around the lake, and the shallow waters at the north end.

IBA Criteria
SpeciesT | A | I Links Date Season Number G C N
Waterbirds 1995 FA 27,000
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
At present, there are no known threats to this lake. The province has prohibited hunting within 800 metres of the lake until November 1st of each year, illustrating the importance of the lake for geese. The lake is not deep enough to support a fish population so, apart from hunting, there is little recreational use of the lake.

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