Situation of the nesting eiders population

Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve

Study Results
Situation of the nesting eiders population

ROBERGE, B. 2002. Situation de la population nicheuse d'Eiders à duvet (Somateria mollissima dresseri) de la réserve de parc national de l'Archipel-de-Mingan - 1998 . Parcs Canada, Service de la conservation des ressources naturelles, Unité de gestion de Mingan. 54p.

ABSTRACT(Preliminary version)
Female Common Eider on the seashore
Common Eider, female
© Parks Canada / M. Boulianne / L 16 13 19, 1988

During the 20th century, the Common Eider population in the Minganie region diminished considerably until the beginning of the 1980's. Since the creation of the Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve ( MANPR ) in 1984, the region's eider population began to rise. In 1998, Parks Canada conducted a study aimed at determining the state of Common Eider ( Somateria mollissima dresseri ) breeding population in the MANPR , the first since the last complete inventory taken in 1988-89. In addition an inventory of eider nests in the islands, aerial and nautical counts of both male eiders and duckling rearing sites were conducted. The study revealed that, since 1985, the eider population has experienced progressive growth in the Mingan region. In the Mingan Archipelago (the western sector of the park), the population has expanded from 2989 couples in 1988 to 5275 couples in 1998. The population likewise underwent growth in the park's eastern sector, increasing from 1572 couples in 1989 to 1992 couples in 1998. Broadly speaking, the Common Eider population in the MANPR grew from 4561 couples in 1988-89 to 7267 in 1998. Conservation efforts, education and the creation of the national park reserve have all allowed this substantial increase. The aerial and nautical counts of male eiders in the Mingan Islands indicated 4942 and 4725 couples respectively, numbers which compare favourably to the results of the nest count indicating 5275 couples. These methods for counting eiders should be developed as five-year alternatives to full nest inventories. In the Mingan Archipelago, duckling rearing sites are mainly situated near islands surrounded by flats or submerged reefs, and deserve to be protected. Principal factors influencing eider populations in the MANPR appear to be natural predators such as foxes and seagulls, hunting, poaching and human disturbance. Protection, follow-up and research methods should be developed to attenuate these factors, and to maintain and promote the growth of the eider population in the Minganie region. To protect this species in the MANPR , surveillance in the territory must be increased, particularly in the eastern region of the park, and certain important nesting areas should be accorded a protected status. The effects of hunting and traditional native activities must be evaluated and mitigated, and public awareness must likewise be raised as to the effects of human disturbance. A monitoring program must be developed and a protocol created for the long-term follow-up of eider populations in the MANPR . The promotion of research will result in a better understanding of the ecology of this species. Ultimately, collaboration with local communities remains a key element in protecting the Common Eider in the Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve.

A study report is forthcoming.

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