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Tumbledown Dick Islands and Stag Islands (LB025)


Tumbledown Dick Islands and Stag Islands (LB025)

Cartwright, Newfoundland and Labrador

Latitude 54.087°N
Longitude 57.164°W
Altitude 0m
Area 207.45km²

Site Description

The Tumbledown Dick and Stag Islands lie at the mouth of Sandwich Bay, approximately 10km north of the southeastern Labrador mainland. A total of four main islands are located in the group: Little Tumbledown Dick, Tumbledown Dick, North Stag and South Stag. The largest island in each group is approximately 1 x 0.5 km. These islands have rugged, rocky shores, with dry barrens, small bogs, and stunted forest in the ravines. The town of Cartwright is located approximately 40 km south of the Stag Islands.


The eastern North American population of Harlequin Ducks is designated as nationally endangered. Although they have been suspected of moulting in the vicinity of the Tumbledown Dick and Stag Islands since the 1980s, the first complete survey was not conducted until 1998. This survey recorded a total of 162 birds, which represents almost 11% of the estimated eastern North American Harlequin Duck population. Of the 162 birds, 57 were observed near the Stag Islands and 105 were observed near the Tumbledown Dick Islands. In addition to the moulting Harlequins, 975 moulting Common Eiders were also observed during the August 1998 surveys.

Conservation Issues

The goal of the National Recovery Plan for the eastern North American Harlequin Duck population (written in 1995) was to increase the population to a level where its status could be downlisted from nationally endangered to nationally vulnerable. Specifically, the objectives of the recovery plan suggested that populations of 2,000 birds by 2005 and 3,000 birds by 2010 would be considered a significant step towards the recovery of this species. Although the 1995 population was estimated to be 1,000 individuals, more recent estimates using additional survey data suggest that there may be as many as 1,500 Harlequins in eastern North America.

Although the Tumbledown Dick and Stag Islands can be accessed by hunters from Rigolet or Cartwright, it is not known whether hunts are frequent, or whether they result in the harvest of significant numbers of birds.

IBA Criteria Habitats Land Uses Potential or Ongoing Threats Conservation Status
Number Year Season
Harlequin Duck
Number Year Season