Manitoulin Island, Ontario
Spring Bay is the approximate centre of this IBA that is situated in southcentral Manitoulin Island, Ontario. Perivale, Grimsthorpe, Britainville and Poplar are also hamlets within the IBA. Much of the land is used for agricultural purposes, ranging from the growing of grains and hay to pastureland. Several streams run through the area, and the fields are broken up by the occasional woodlot. There are also a few marsh and bog wetland areas that are surrounded by woodlands.
This site holds a significant number of Sandhill Cranes in the autumn. Some of the cranes have bred locally on Manitoulin Island, while others have probably come from farther north. Crane numbers, which peak in October, have been steadily increasing throughout the 1990s. In 1997, 858 were recorded in the area, and in 1999, 1,700 cranes were seen. This latter number represents about 2 or 3% of the Eastern Sandhill Crane population in North America. These birds are from the population that winters in Florida, and are also probably composed primarily of birds from the tabida subspecies. During the day the cranes feed in the pastures and harvested fields. The exact locations of the feeding sites vary from year to year. At dusk all the birds in the area fly to a small wetland, where they roost for the night. The exact details of the location of the night-time roost site are not given because of concerns over disturbance of the birds.
Because the Sandhill Cranes at this site concentrate in one roost location, they are particularly vulnerable to disturbance. If many people were to visit the night-time roost (currently it is rarely visited) the cranes would be severely disturbed. Although less crucial, it is also possible that day-feeding birds could be disturbed if birders were to approach closer than roadside distances. If the wetland roost were ever to be drained, this clearly would change the wetland; fortunately there are no plans to do this at the moment.IBA Criteria Habitats Land Uses Potential or Ongoing Threats Conservation Status