Important Bird Areas

Little Galloo Island

New York

Little Galoo is a small, rocky island located 5.5 miles from Stoney Point
and 9.5 miles west of Henderson Harbor, NY, in eastern Lake Ontario.
In December 1998, the NYS DEC acquired Little Galoo Island and it
became the fourth island within the Lake Ontario Islands WMA. The
guano of nesting cormorants has destroyed the few trees on the island;
four dead trees (thought to be ash and shagbark hickory) remain, along
with a small number of shrubs, and patches of wild geranium, mallow,
and other herbaceous vegetati

Ornithological Summary

The island hosts an exceptional breeding concentration of colonial
waterbirds, including the largest Ring-billed Gull colony in the U.S.
(an estimated 60,000 pairs in 2003), New York?s only Caspian Tern
colony (1,560 pairs in 2004), and the largest Double-crested Cormorant
colony in New York (3,967 pairs in 2004). Smaller numbers of Blackcrowned
Night-Herons (three pairs in 2004), Herring Gulls (313 pairs
in 2003), and Great Black-backed Gulls (12 pairs in 2003) nest on the
island as well.

Conservation Issues

This site is listed in the 2002 Open Space Conservation Plan as a
priority site under the project name Eastern Lake Ontario Shoreline
and Islands. A wildlife management plan for the WMA was developed
in 2002, with a focus on maintaining the area as a colonial waterbird
nesting site. Annual counts and estimates for each species (with the
exception of Ring-billed Gulls which, due to large numbers, will be
surveyed every five years) will be conducted to understand long term
population trends. Productivity estimates will continue annually for
all species nesting on the island. Growing cormorant populations
have displaced Black-crowned Night-Herons, and management
efforts are now in place to reduce the nesting cormorant population
to 1,500 pairs. A series of action strategies that include community
planning, education, ecosystem management, resource use, and
tourism initiatives, are outlined in the plan. Waterfowl hunting has
been allowed at the site and will continue. During the first round of
IBA site identifications, this site was recognized under the research
criterion because a long-term monitoring project is based there.