Bird Sanctuaries

Nunavut represents nearly 20% of Canada’s landmass, and it is no wonder that there are many conservation areas, sanctuaries and parks in our territory. These spectacular areas are home to a diverse number of animals and ecosystems and represent the desire of Nunavummiut and Canadians to protect our fragile Arctic environment.

Migratory Bird Sanctuaries

Many interesting species make the annual trek to Nunavut from faraway lands. These include many species of geese, ducks, cranes and sea birds. Visitors to Nunavut in the summertime realize that the land is teeming with birds, their various calls and sounds echo across the tundra. The Inuit of Nunavut rely heavily on these animals and have gone to extensive lengths to protect this valuable resource.

The eleven bird sanctuaries include:

Hannah Bay

Located in James Bay, the Hannah Bay Migratory Bird Sanctuary is home to tens of thousands of geese use the area as a staging area for their migration to Nunavut.

Akimiski Island

Located in James Bay, the Akimiski Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary is home to thousands of geese and ducks in the spring and summer season. Akimiski Island is also famous for the large populations of Beluga whales and polar bears. 

Boatswain Bay

Also located in James Bay, Boatswain Bay boats a high population of ducks and geese, specifically the American Black Duck, Atlantic Brant, Canada Goose and Lesser Snow Goose.

Dewey Soper

A vast protected area on Baffin Island near Cape Dorset and Kimmirut, the Dewey Soper Migratory Bird Sanctuary hosts nearly 30% of the breeding geese in Canada. This is a “wetland of international importance” and is also home to caribou. 

East Bay

Located on eastern Southampton Island near Coral Harbour, East Bay Migratory Bird Sanctuary is a bird spotter’s paradise, home to many unique and rare species. Home to terns, geese, jaegers, ducks, loons and swans, East Bay represents an important piece of Canada’s biodiversity.

Harry Gibbons

Also located on Southampton Island near Coral Harbour, the Harry Gibbons Migratory Bird Sanctuary is teeming with many species that are unique to the region. As with the East Bay sanctuary, you will find geese, jaegers, ducks and loons throughout this historic area. 

McConnell River

A large sanctuary near the community of Arviat, the McConnell River Migratory Bird Sanctuary was established to protect the variety of geese that frequent the area. This sanctuary is home to an assortment of other species such as swans, jaegers, falcons, loons and owls. This sanctuary is quite accessible and outfitters in nearby Arviat are adept at showing you these magnificent birds.

Queen Maud Gulf

Covering over 62,000 sq. kilometers, Queen Maud Gulf Migratory Bird Sanctuary is the largest protected area in Canada. Known for being home to over 90% of the world’s population of Ross’ Geese, it has an incredible diversity of geese. This Sanctuary is also home to other species such as owls, jaegers, sandhill cranes, falcons, swans, terns and loons. In this spectacular sanctuary, you will also encounter a diverse number of other animals as well such as caribou, grizzly bears, and polar bears. Nearby points of access include Cambridge Bay and Kugluktuk.

Bylot Island

Located near Pond Inlet and inside much of Sirmilik National Park, the Bylot Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary is where many thick-billed murres and black legged kittihawks nest. Bylot Island provides you with a unique birding experience within the stunning confines of a National Park. It is home to geese and over 70 other species of bird. Working with Outfitters in nearby Pond Inlet, you can experience one of the jewels in Canada’s protected area crown. 

Seymour Island

Located in the extreme north of Nunavut, Seymour Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary is close to Grise Fiord and Resolute. Home to brandts, owls jaegers and long tailed skuas, Seymour Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary is truly a unique experience. 

Prince Leopold Island

Located in Lancaster Sound, Prince Leopold Island is located between Arctic Bay and Resolute. A stunning visual experience, birds nest on the striking sheer cliffs that rise out of the water, creating what looks like a castle rising from the sea. This is the place to visit if you want to see Black Guillemot, Black-Legged Kittihawks, Northern Fulmars, gulls and murres.