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Gull and Sandhill Island (MB004)


Gull and Sandhill Island (MB004)

Near Matheson Island, Manitoba

Latitude 52.129°N
Longitude 97.348°W
Altitude 217 - 220m
Area 5.67km²

Site Description

Gull and Sandhill Island are located southwest of Commissioner Island and east of McBeth Point, near the southern end of Lake Winnipeg's northern basin. These islands are sandy and have low elevations; Gull Island rises no more than 3 m above the high water line, and Sandhill Island rises even less. Both islands are vegetated with patches of trees, shrubs, and broad expanses of grasses and other herbaceous plants.


In 1998, a total of 3,150 American White Pelican nests were recorded on Gull Island during the late summer. This represents about 3.7% of the world's estimated population, and comprised the largest American White Pelican colony on Lake Winnipeg for that year. A survey in 1997 yielded an estimate of 2,500+ pairs, but this estimate was undoubtedly low since the colony was only visited from a distance by boat to avoid disturbing the birds.

Sandhill Island, which is located to the south, supports large numbers of Common Terns. In 1997, the total number of nesting birds was estimated to be 4,400+ pairs. This total may represent as much as 11% of the estimated North American Common Tern population, and is the largest known colony west of New Brunswick.

Conservation Issues

These islands, which are currently owned by the provincial government, are in the process of receiving special status and should soon be declared as provincial Ecological Reserves. Designation as an Ecological Reserve would provide these islands with the greatest possible land-use protection in Manitoba. Access to Ecological Reserves is not permitted without written permission from the Manitoba government.

IBA Criteria Habitats Land Uses Potential or Ongoing Threats Conservation Status
American White Pelican
Number Year Season
Common Tern
Number Year Season