Colony Of Seabirds

Posted On November 30, 2009 

Common Info

Bylot island canadaBylot Island (name derived from Arctic explorer Robert Bylot) Is located off the north of Baffin Island in Nunavut Territory, the largest and the newest federal province of Canada. The island, which is Canada’s seventeenth largest island (11,067 square kilometres) is also one of the largest uninhabited regions in the world. The Inuits often visit the Bylot island for hunting and put up seasonal hunting camp in Cape Graham Moore. The Eclipse Sound lies to the southwest while Navy Board Inlet to the west.

Country Info

Canada is the world’s second largest country (Area: 9,98,4670 square kilometres) and is located in the northern parts of North America. It is flanked by Atlantic Ocean in the east and Pacific Ocean in the west while in the north it extends into Arctic Ocean. In the south it borders the United States. The national capital is Ottawa.


Bylot island mountainous interiorThe Bylot Island features rugged coast while its mountainous interior has many glacial features. Much of Bylot Island is covered by mountains, icefields, snowfields, and glaciers. The steep cliffs at Cape Hay and Cape Graham Moore region provide prime nesting habitat to large number of seabirds. The Polynyas and floe edges off the island give rich forage for the seabirds and marine mammals. The southwest corner of the island features a moist lowland tundra that also provides an ideal habitat for songbirds, shorebirds and geese. The abundant vegetation in the tundra polyregions, thaw lakes and ponds support the avifauna population here. The island experiences a high level of precipitation that leads to a diverse flora. More than 350 plants species are found in this island. The mountainous regions of the island are parts of the Byam Martin Mountains, which are again, parts of the Baffin Mountains of the Arctic Cordillera. The Angilaaq Mountain is the highest point in the island, Besides, Malik Mountain, Mount St. Hans, and Mount Thule are other notable elevations. The vertical cliffs along the coastline are made up of Precambrian dolomite. The average annual temperature in  Bylot Island is –14.5 degree Celcius. In the summer months (June-August), the average temperature rises to 4.5 degree Celcius whereas in the winter (Dec-Feb) the average temperature dips down to a freezing –32.8°C. The warmest month of the year is July, when the average temperature remains around 6.2 degree Celcius and the coldest month is January with an average temperature of –34.7°C.

Avifauna at Bylot Island

Bylot Island is largely located in Sirmilik National Park while the eastern part of the island hosts the Bylot Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary. The island has three bird areas, namely, Cape Graham Moore, Cape Hay and the Southwest Bylot plain. The island is home to nearly 75 bird species.

Sirmilik National Park

Sirmilik national park of canadaIt is a national park located in Qikiqtaaluk Region in Nunavut. It is mainly covered by glaciers and is located within the Arctic Cordillera mountain ranges. Bylot Island, Baillarge Bay Seabird Colony, Borden Peninsula, Lancaster Sound, Oliver Sound and Eclipse sound are some of the high points of attraction of this area. The park offers an opportunity to experience some of the most unique geological features like icebergs, moraines, cirques, sand deposits, hoodoos, pingos and the like. The park is only accessible by water during summer.

How to reach

Take First Air Limited and Canadian North to reach Iqaluit from Montreal, Ottawa and Yellowknife. First Air has flights from Iqaluit to Pond Inlet and Arctic Bay. Kenn Borek Air also offers scheduled flights to Pond Inlet. Sirmilik can be reached from Pond Inlet or Arctic Bay with help of local outfitters (tour operators and guides). At Pond Inlet, the Nattinnak Visitor Centre can help you to seek help from the local outfitters, call (867) 899-8226. Outfitters will take you by boat or snow machines depending on the season.

Accommodation facilities:
At Pond Inlet:
  • Toonoonik Sahoonik Hotel
  • Black Point Lodge Hotel
At Arctic Bay:
  • Tangmaarvik Inn
  • Kiggavik Enterprises B&B
  • For Community Visitor Information, contact:
  • Hamlet of Arctic Bay (Ph. (867) 439-9917, Fax: (867) 439-8767)
  • Contact the Hamlet office in Arctic Bay for a current list of accommodations
Bylot Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Bylot island bird sanctuaryBylot Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary was set up in 1965 and has been classified as Category IV by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  With an area of 1,263,500 hectares, it is Nunavut’s second largest migratory bird sanctuary. The nearest city is the Pond Inlet which is 25 kilometres down south. The sanctuary is home to over 50 bird species including the Thick-billed Murres and the Black-legged Kittiwakes that build nests high up on the cliffs along the northeastern coast. The plateau region in the southwestern interior parts of the island is home to the Greater Snow Geese.


As many as 20 species of land and marine mammals also live on the island. It is an important whaling area. Besides, a significant population of the polar bears can also be found here. The north shores of the island facing the Lancaster Sound  is a breeding den of the polar bears. Beluga, harp seal, narwhal and ringed seal also frequent the area.

Cape Graham Moore, Cape Hay and southwest Bylot Plain

Characterised by rocky features, coastal cliffs and tundra, Cape Graham Moore is a Canadian Important Bird Area, Key Marine Habitat site and Key Migratory Bird Terrestrial Habitat site.

Time to visit the Bylot Island/Bird Sanctuary/Sirmilik National Park

Spring (late April to early June) for winter activities and the time after the summer break-up from late July to early September (for camping) are the best time to visit. The national park is inaccessible during winter.

Activities at Bylot Island/Sirmilik National Park:
  • Birdwatching
  • Kayaking and canoeing in Pliver Sound. However, it is only advisable for the experienced for there are several potential hazards that could turn fatal.
  • Skiing on sea ice and glacial travel in the mountain and ice fields. Spring is the best time to engage in skiing venture. Encounters with polar bears are possible.
  • Hiking and back country camping at Bylot Islnd, Borden peninsula and Oliver Sound.
  • Visit to the floe-edge to get glimpses of the marine wildlife.
  • Cruise ship trip to Pond Inlet during summer.
Things to remember:
  • Visit during winter is totally unadvisable. The Parks Canada office ((867) 899-8092) at Pond Inlet can be contacted for trip-planning information
  • Engage in activities that are familiar to you. This region is remote and has various kinds of hazards
  • Take lightweight and durable camping equipment. Carrying white gas and portable stoves is recommended. White gas can be purchased at Pond Inlet or Arctic bay.
  • A touring group must contain a minimum of four persons.
Contacting Sirmilik National Park:

Sirmilik National Park of Canada, P.O. Box 300, Pond Inlet, Nunavut
Canada, X0A 0S0
Phone: 867-899-8092
Fax: 867-899-8104

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One Response to “Colony Of Seabirds”
  1. Nice coolest place on the earth like heaven. I just love this kind of place u know. Do you know what is the exact time time to go this place. I think winter is the place time rather then summer, it feels too cool. Thanks for this post.

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