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Kindersley-Elma (SK048)

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Kindersley-Elma (SK048)

Smiley, Saskatchewan

Latitude 51.519°N
Longitude 109.352°W
Altitude 710 - 757m
Area 285.04km²

Site Description

The Kindersly-Elma area is located between the towns of Smiley and Kindersley, on the western side of Teo Lakes in southwestern Saskatchewan. This large PFRA (Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration) pasture contains plentiful native grassland habitat, including crested wheatgrass. The Verendrye channel, formed as an ice-walled channel in glacial times, extends through this area from north to south and contains the long and narrow Teo Lakes. The surrounding area is primarily cropland. Ten groves of trees at long-deserted farmsites that remain in the southern and western portion of this pasture are used by hawks for nesting.

Birds

Greater than 15,000 geese are found staging in the vicinity of Teo Lakes during the fall migration. Other waterfowl recorded at this site during fall migration include over 10,000 ducks, including Mallard, Green-winged Teal and Ruddy Duck along with several other species.

Additional bird fauna at this site includes the nationally vulnerable Ferruginous Hawk, Swainsons Hawk, and the nationally endangered Burrowing Owl (one nest). A total of 22 Ferruginous Hawk nest sites are found here; about half of which are used in any one year. Over several decades, of the 133 Ferruginous Hawk pairs that have been monitored at this site, nesting success has been 3.1 fledglings raised per year. One nest, in a Manitoba Maple, was used in 28 consecutive years. Swainson's Hawk nest productivity in the area declined between 1987 and 1993, largely due to a substantial decline in the numbers of its main prey, the Richardson's Ground Squirrel.

Conservation Issues

Drought is a recurrent problem at this site. Not only are grassland prey densities reduced, but drought likely increases the salinity of the lakes, rendering the habitat poorer in quality for foraging birds, especially during fall migration. Increased oil exploration, if it occurs, could disturb large areas of important habitat. Currently, since the site is PFRA pasture it is unlikely to be cultivated.

IBA Criteria Habitats Land Uses Potential or Ongoing Threats Conservation Status
Waterbirds
Number Year Season
10,9621995Fall
15,000 - 25,9621985Fall