North Point

Country/territory: Canada

IBA criteria met: A4i, A4iii (2008)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 4,200 ha

Birds Canada / Nature Canada

Site description (2001 baseline)
North Point is a point of land along the southwest coast of James Bay, about 28 km northeast of Moosonee. The site includes shoreline areas about 5 km to the north and south of the point, as well as mudflats and shoals, which extend 2 to 3 km into the bay. Extensive eelgrass beds are also found off the coast. Gravel ridges rise about 2 m above the mudflats and run along the shore for about 800meters. The ridges are covered with long grasses and driftwood, and are surrounded by salt marshes. Extensive cattail and grass/sedge marshes are located behind the ridges. The Moose River Estuary IBA (ON138) lies immediately to the south of this IBA.

Key biodiversity
James Bay is one of North Americas most important stopover areas for waterfowl and shorebirds. North Point is one of a series of sites along the coastline where significant numbers of birds concentrate. The eelgrass beds off the point are a major attractant for Brant, which rely on eelgrass as a primary food item. In 1982 13,000 Brant were observed on a one-day count during spring migration, while the fall season average was 23,500 birds. These numbers represent 4% and 7% respectively of the North American population (or about 10% and 19% of the Atlantic population). It is likely that at least 50% of the Atlantic Brant population uses the eelgrass beds in this area each year.

The mudflats and shoals surrounding the point provide valuable resources of invertebrates, which are necessary for shorebirds to fuel their long migratory flights. Shorebird species such as Dunlin, Red Knot and Hudsonian Godwit feed here in significant numbers. North Point is a key staging area for Hudsonian Godwit. About 3% of the global population (1,500 birds) stage here before flying possibly directly to South America. This site is also a key area for Red Knots, as the 2,500 birds counted here represent about 2% of the South American-wintering rufa supspecies. About 10,000 Dunlin were observed at the site in 1982, representing perhaps 10% of the central Canadian breeding population. Also, 10,000 Semipalmated Sandpipers have been recorded here.

Large numbers of Lesser Snow Geese pass through the site on their way to and from breeding grounds northern Ontario and in the Arctic. A 1982 survey recorded 2,500 geese at the point on a single day. This equals 1.5% of the Mid Continent population of Snow Geese at that time.

One-day counts have recorded large numbers of several other species, including Northern Pintail (2,500), and Oldsquaw (1,000). Thousands of songbirds such as larks, longspurs, pipits, redpolls, and sparrows also stream through the point in fall.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: North Point. Downloaded from on 25/09/2023.