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The cliffs of Bonaventure are exceedingly difficult of access and many of these photographs have been made only at great risk. This is one of the broader gannet ledges. Happily, the ra of sea birds that frequent this remarkable breeding place have now come under government protection in Canada by the law just passed establishing Percé, Bonaventure Island, and the Bird Rocks as bird sanctuaries. Thus are saved to the world certain species of water fowl which were rapidly becoming


The New Gaspé Bird Sanctuaries


State Geologist and Palæontologist, and Director of the State Museum, Albany


OR nearly four hundred years the navigators of the Gulf of St. Lawrence have wondered at the immense colony of sea fowl which nest upon the ledges of the Isles-auxMargaulx-the "Bird Rocks," as they are known to modern English geography. These remote bits of bare rock lie about ten miles to the north of the Magdalen Island group, and as they are constituted of the same rocks, they must be assigned to the same little archipelago.

The Bird Rocks are three in number now. In the early days the two little fragments now called the "Little Birds" were one, but the sea has broken them apart. The "Great" or "Northern Bird" is a flat rock table, not so large as some ice floes, with sheer vertical walls on all sides, rising one hundred and fifty feet from the water to the base of the lighthouse which constitutes it the lone outpost of civilization. Ever since the days when Audubon visited this spot on his voyage to the Labrador, the islet has been the object of much visiting, collecting, and writing by students of birds. It is probable that a century ago the bird colony here was the largest on the Atlantic Coast, but this is no longer true, for, while the inroads of the eggers which so depleted this colony and brought to extinction





many of the bird colonies on the Labrador have ceased, other damage has been done; partly because the presence of the lighthouse with its noisy accessories for warning vessels of their proximity to the rock has helped to diminish the census of the bird population; partly from the invasions by the Magdalen Island fishing fleet; and the greedy "bird lover" who collects birds' eggs "for exchange" is not without blame in this matter.



The Great Bird Rock, in spite of its isolation and remoteness, is an island gem of much beauty; its level grassy top covers about seven acres of ground, and aligned on all the ledges which make up its gray steplike bastions are the ranks of gannets, the most beautiful of all waterfowl; of murres and kittiwakes; of guillemots, razor-billed auks and puffins; a short list of species



Anticosti Is.


Percé Rock

3 Bonaventure Is.

Bird Rocks

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4. Magdalen Is.


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The Gaspé Bird Sanctuaries.--Percé Rock and Bonaventure Island, off the Gaspé Peninsula, and farthe out in the Gulf the Bird Rocks of the Magdalen Island group, have been for centuries the breeding places of several species of birds which rarely or never nest on the mainland. These rocky islets, because of their isolation, are ideal resorts for sea fowl


The beautiful village of Percé at the point of the Gaspé Peninsula faces squarely the waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. It is one of the oldest settlements in eastern North America, having been established as a fishing station before the year 1600. Percé Rock, which lies off the point of Mt. Joli, often figures in the relations of the early navigators and missioners. Bonaventure Island, in the background, is also an ancient station and

had a church as early as 1671


Photograph by A. J. Cramp

Bonaventure Island is in itself an object of great natural beauty and during the tourist season is visited daily. A climb to the summit from the wharf on the low western shore affords an effective distant view of the gannet ledges, while the boat trip around it gives a close view of its feathered community, considered one of the wonders of the Atlantic Coast


Photograph by A. J. Cramp

The verdure-capped summit of Percé Rock is the home of a colony made up of herring gulls and crested cormorants. This assemblage has been here since the beginnings of human history on the coast, and the upper surface of the rock has never, so far as records show, been the breeding place of any other species. This picturesque and beautifully colored mass of vertical Devonian limestone is here viewed from the summit of Mt. Joli on the mainland. It is approximately 300 feet high, 1200 feet long, and 80 feet wide. Toward the sea end the rock is pierced by an archway which frames the waters of the Gulf beyond


Photograph by F. M. Chapman

Great Bird Rock is the only known rookery of the gannets outside of Bonaventure Island, on this side of the Atlantic. It has no human population except the lighthouse keeper and his assistants. When the Bird Islands were discovered by Jacques Cartier in 1534, the "Isles-aux-Margaulx" as he named them, housed an enormous colony of water fowl. When Audubon visited the place, however, in 1833, he found that the attacks of eggers here and elsewhere, particularly on the Labrador coast, were resulting in the sale in the Boston and New York markets of hundreds of thousands of dozens of eggs annually. These attacks have undoubtedly been the cause of the extinction of the gannet roosts on the islands and coasts of Labrador

but an association of most ancient date.

The romance and tragedy of the bird life of this colony have been depicted both by camera and pen. Few more effective pictures of birds have been made than the photographs taken here by Herbert K. Job and Frank M. Chapman who risked limb and life in the acrobatic performances necessary to catch their effective views. And these were pictures taken when such photography was a new and perilous adventure without the help of telephoto lenses or long distance electric connec

Photograph by L. D. Bostock Fledgling gannets on the Bonaventure Island ledges. The young when hatched are naked and helpless. A white down soon appears; at a year old the plumage is a smoky brown with white V-shaped spots, which finally gives way to the pure white of the adult

tion. It was here that Louis A. Fuertes went for subjects for his paintings of the "Birds of New York," and these ledges furnished the setting for the Bird Rock Group in the American Museum of Natural History.

A still larger colony of these waterfowl is that on the cliffs which bound the eastern face of Bonaventure Island, lying two miles out in the gulf from the point of Percé, the easternmost projection of the Gaspé coast. venture Island is nearly circular and about a mile and a half across. It is another insulated remnant of tableland, like the top of a round center table tipped down to low shores at the west but with high and vertical edges rising four hundred feet at the east. It is on these steepest, most elevated, and most inaccessible ledges of the island that the greatest of all the bird colonies left in the gulf makes its breeding home. Until late years these birds have never been subject to the assaults which have so gravely impaired the census of the Bird Rock colony.

Bonaventure is a continental island and strictly within the control of the mainland, so that the eggers of the Gloucester fleet who in the old days made their regular inroads upon the colonies farther out in the gulf and carried back to the Boston market hundreds of thousands of dozens of eggs every spring, were not sufficiently venturesome to invade these mainland limits. On Bonaventure the damage done has been partly through the egging carried on by the local fishermen, but of late years, as the beautiful Percé country becomes annually a more favorite resort for tourists, there have been increasing and ruthless attacks upon the nesting birds by the "fool with a gun," who has slaughtered for the sake of slaughtering and shown his sporting blood by enfilading from a distance squads of harmless waterfowl nesting upon their young.

The bird colony at

colony at Bonaventure

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