Hare Bay Islands Ecological Reserve takes in a trio of islands-Gilliat, Spring, and Brent-on the northeastern edge of Newfoundland's Great Northern Peninsula, near Main Brook.
This seabird ecological reserve was created to protect breeding habitat of the common eider, and in 2004, about 170 common eider nests were found on Gilliat and Spring Islands. The area served as the primary site for an eider duck rehabilitation program, which included a captive rearing project in Hare Bay that ran from 1988 to 1996.
The reserve also contains summer breeding habitat for common and Arctic terns and double-crested cormorant, as well as ring-billed, herring, and great black-backed gulls. Of the 31 km2 in the reserve, 26 km2 is a marine component.
In addition to the seabirds it provides sanctuary for, the reserve also protects many unique geological and ecological features. Rich beds of Early and Middle Ordovician-age fossil gastropods (about 457 million years old) occur throughout the reserve.
The islands are in the Northern Peninsula Forest-Beaver Brook Limestone subregion (997 KB).
The Hare Bay Islands were first protected in 1964 as a wildlife reserve under the Wildlife Act. In 1983 they became the Hare Bay Islands Ecological Reserve, after the Wilderness and Ecological Reserves Act was passed.
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