Île à la Brume Migratory Bird Sanctuary

The Ile à la Brume Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) is located east of La Romaine, in Québec. It preserve an important habitat for the common eider to nest.

Importance of the sanctuary: migratory birds and other wildlife

In 1925, the Île à la Brume Migratory Bird Sanctuary was established on the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, east of the village of La Romaine to safeguard an important nesting site for the common eider. The nesting population of this species, the most abundant one in the sanctuary, was estimated to be approximately 600 pairs in 2015.

Common eider
Common eider. Photo: Jean-François Rail

The second most common species observed that same year was the herring gull with 110 pairs. Smaller numbers of other species also use this protected area during nesting season. These include the great black-backed gull, ring-billed gull, black guillemot, razorbill, red-throated loon, as well as common and arctic terns. Île à la Brume Migratory Bird Sanctuary is the only site in the province of Quebec where the Caspian Tern (considered endangered by Quebec) is known to nest, though its presence has been sporadic since the 1990s.

Unlike other loons, the red-throated loon is able to take flight from the ground (most loons need to take flight from the water). This species is the smallest of the loons and it breeds further north than any other.


In addition to the island named Île à la Brume, this protected area encompasses dozens of other islands, islets and emergent rocks. The waters within a 3-kilometre radius of Île à la Brume, and beyond that distance to the north, are also included within the boundaries of the sanctuary making this 3789-hectare sanctuary, predominantly marine.

Île à la Brume Migratory Bird Sanctuary. Photo: Patrick Labonté

The terrestrial portion of this site is mostly tundra with stunted conifers, rocky outcrops and several small ponds. Being continually windswept, Île à la Brume has very little vegetation.

Map of the area

Map of Île à la Brume MBS
  • Long description

    Map showing the Ile à la Brume Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) in relation to Québec, Ile à la Brume, Ile Ten Kauitshiht, Havre Bluff and Saint-Lawrence Golfe. The map shows the boundaries of the refuge, which enclose Ile à la Brume and Ile Ten Kauitshiht as well as part of nearby waters. The scale of the map is in kilometers. The permanent waters and the intertidal zone are shown on the map. An inset shows the location of the refuge in Canada.

Access to the sanctuary

Migratory Bird Sanctuaries, such as Île à la Brume, are established across the country to protect migratory birds during critical periods of their migration. Whether these areas are used for feeding, resting or nesting, they play an important role in the survival of many species. Please ensure that you are aware of how you can help protect this sanctuary and please read the restrictions, including those on firearms and hunting, that are in place to conserve the wildlife that call it home. It is also important to remember that pets are not welcome inside Migratory Bird Sanctuaries.

If you would like further information on what is permitted in Migratory Bird Sanctuaries, please visit the Management and Activities section of the website. For more information on Île à la Brume Migratory Bird Sanctuary in particular, please contact our regional office.

Key facts about Île à la Brume Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Protected Area designation Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Province or territory Quebec
Latitude/longitude 50° 10' 10" N 60° 30' 15" W
Size 3789 hectares
Date created (Gazetted) 1925
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) management category Strict Nature Reserve (Ia)
Additional designations None
Main habitat type Tundra and stunted conifers
Key bird species Common eider, herring gull, Caspian tern, ring-billed gull, great black-backed gull, razorbill, black guillemot, common tern, arctic tern and red-throated loon
Listed species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) None
Management agency Canadian Wildlife Service, Quebec Region

Related links

Île à la Brume Migratory Bird Sanctuary on Google Maps (Please note that the Google map is a complementary source of information and does not represent the official map or site name)

Contact information

Environment and Climate Change Canada – Quebec Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
Protected Areas Unit
801-1550, avenue d'Estimauville
Québec, Quebec G1J 0C3

Toll-free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)
Email:  ec.enviroinfo.ec@canada.ca

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