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West Cape (PE009)


West Cape (PE009)

West Cape, Prince Edward Island

Latitude 46.669°N
Longitude 64.416°W
Altitude 0 - 15m
Area 17.48km²

Site Description

West Cape is located near the extreme western end of Prince Edward Island, facing the Northumberland Strait. It is about 15 km southwest of the town of O'Leary. The cormorant colony, which is along the coast, 9.5 km north of West Point, and close to the hamlet of West Cape, is situated on low, sandstone sea-cliffs. The cliffs back onto generally undeveloped upland with patchy woods. A few cottages are located to the north. The climate is maritime, windy but with little fog, and a tide of over 3 metres is present.


West Cape supports about 1.75% of the estimated North American Great Cormorant population. Since 1992, the colony has supported a yearly average of 108 nests. A peak of 140 nests were recorded in 1992, with a low of 75 pairs recorded in 1994. Prior to 1992, the colony was unknown (except possibly by local residents). It may have been founded by birds displaced from other, more disturbed sites. If so, it might be an important site to protect, especially since it too appears to be quite vulnerable to disturbance.

Conservation Issues

Some fishing interests disapprove of cormorants, and thus cormorants and their nests are occasionally destroyed. This colony is easily accessible since it is on low cliffs and close to a (little traveled) highway. The tablelands in this area are mostly privately owned, with the exception of Cedar Dunes Provincial Park, which is located close by. The marine areas below the cliffs are overseen by the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The Prince Edward Island Fish and Wildlife Division has completed censuses at this colony annually since 1987.

IBA Criteria Habitats Land Uses Potential or Ongoing Threats Conservation Status
Great Cormorant
Number Year Season