Red Knots & Semipalmated Sandpipers

Pen Island

Country: Canada

Region: Ontario, Manitoba

Site: Pen Island

Species/Sub-species: REKN-rufa

Total biogeographic population: 42,000

Count Method: Total estimate

Count: 20001

% biogeographic pop. at site: 4.76

Season (primarily): Spring and Fall

Site recognition: IBA

Site recognition (other): Cape Tatnam Wildlife Management Area

Site description: Using the Ramsar Classification System for Wetland Type, the site habitat characteristics are inland wetland, including Sp. Permanent saline/brackish/alkaline marshes/pools (salt/brackish marshes). This land is provincially owned (crown land). The most recent survey data for the site is from the Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario, 2001-2005.

Known threats: The site is not currently threatened by the exploitation of nonrenewable or renewable resources. However, petroleum extraction was explored in the 1970s and an exploration camp remains near-by. The potential for wind power significant, and there is the potential for wave energy and hydro-electricity upstream along major tributaries flowing into James Bay, which could affect flow rate, turbidity, flow volume and contaminant input3. While there are no known threats of pollution or contamination at the site, there is the potential for spills on the winter road between coastal communities and in Hudson Bay from shipping transport. The physical alteration of the site from climate change in the form of severe weather could pose a threat in terms of habitation shifting and alteration, and invasive/problematic species and genes (problematic native species). The isostatic rebound of James Bay is exposing more shoreline (70-100cm/100 yr)4 which could be a factor in Hudson Bay. Also, overabundant Snow Geese have altered or destroyed about a third of the coastal salt marsh vegetation between Manitoba and James Bay.

Notes: The site boundaries follow the IBA boundaries2.

Sources: 1Andres, B.A., P.A. Smith, R.I.G. Morrison, C.L. Gratto-Trevor, S.C. Brown, and C.A. Friis. 2012. Population estimates of North American shorebirds. Wader Study Group Bulletin 119(3): 178-194. 2BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Pen Islands. Downloaded from on March 2, 2016 3 4Martini et al 1980. Coastal Studies in James Bay, Ontario. Geoscience Canada. 7(1):11-21.