The Distribution of Larger Species of Birds Breeding on the Coasts of Foxe Basin and Northern Hudson Bay, Canada


  • A.J. Gaston
  • R. Decker
  • F.G. Cooch
  • A. Reed



Aerial surveys, Animal population, Birds, Parks, Topography, Wildlife habitat, Air Force Island, Nunavut, Foxe Basin region, Hudson Bay region, Prince Charles Island


Aerial surveys of large birds on the coasts of Foxe Basin and northern Hudson Bay were carried out in late June and early July in 1979, 1983 and 1984. Greatest numbers of birds were seen along low-lying coasts backed by wet lowland tundra, particularly where these merged into extensive inter-tidal flats. These areas have emerged from the sea only during the past 2000 years. Even in areas of wet lowland tundra, all species except jaegers appeared to be patchy in their distribution, the patches being unrelated to obvious features of the habitat. We suggest that breeding habitat for many species is not completely occupied, at least in normal breeding seasons. We propose that statutory protection be extended to all or parts of Prince Charles and Air Force islands, which support high numbers of several species and are currently unprotected.

Key words: arctic birds, coastal breeding, aerial surveys, Foxe Basin, Hudson Bay