Markham Bay Eider Colony

Year of compilation: 2001

Site description
The Markham Bay eider colony IBA is situated on the southern coast of Baffin Island in eastern Nunavut. The site is located on the southeastern tip of a large island in Markham Bay, and is about 125 km northwest of the community of Kimmirut (formerly Lake Harbour). The terrain is gently rolling with numerous freshwater ponds. The birds nest in fractured rock habitat where the vegetation is abundant.

Key biodiversity
The large Common Eider colony that occurs on this island consists of about 2,200 nests. This is about 2% of the borealis subspecies population. In 1998 and 1999 at least a hundred nests were abandoned and another hundred were depredated by Thayers or Glaucous gulls.

Three pairs of Canada Geese bred alongside the eiders when biologists were there in the late 1990s. Other birds present in the breeding season were: Oldsqaw, King Eider, Glaucous Gull, Thayers Gull, Black Guillemot, and Snow Bunting.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
A small number of people from Kimmirut come to the area occasionally to hunt and fish for seals, caribou and char. When there, they sometimes collect eider eggs and down. About half of the time, ice prevents people from visiting the area until well into the incubation period.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Markham Bay Eider Colony. Downloaded from on 10/08/2022.