IBA North Point
Moosonee, Ontario
Site Summary
ON139 Latitude
51.500° N
80.464° W
0 - 5 m
73.12 km²
salt marshes/brackish marshes, mud or sand flats (saline), inlets/coastal features (marine)
Land Use:
Nature conservation and research, Hunting
Potential or ongoing Threats:
Disturbance, Industrial pollution
IBA Criteria: Globally Significant: Congregatory Species, Waterfowl Concentrations, Shorebird Concentrations, Continentally Significant: Congregatory Species
Conservation status: Bird Banding Station, Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (potential)
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Site Description
This historical IBA was discontinued in 2017 and incorporated into a new, larger site called Pei lay sheesh kow. The text and data describing this historical IBA are retained here for reference.

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.

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, Semipalmated Sandpiper, White-rumped Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper 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) staged here during 1975b surveys before flying possibly directly to South America. This site is also a key area for Red Knots, as the 2,500 birds counted here represented about 2% of the 1975 rufa supspecies population. About 10,000 Dunlin were observed at the site in 1982, representing perhaps 10% of the central Canadian breeding population. During surveys in 2011, globally significant numbers of Pectoral (925), Semipalmated (23,000) and White-rumped Sandpipers (12,500) were all recorded.

In the past, large numbers of Lesser Snow Geese passed through the site on their way to and from breeding grounds in northern Ontario and in the Arctic. A 1982 survey recorded 2,500 geese at the point on a single day. This equaled 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 Long-tailed Duck (1,000). Thousands of songbirds such as larks, longspurs, pipits, redpolls, and sparrows also stream through the point in fall.

IBA Criteria
SpeciesT | A | I Links Date Season Number G C N
Brant 1985 FA 23,500
Brant 1982 SP 13,000
Greater Yellowlegs 2015 FA 760
Hudsonian Godwit 1975 - 2016 FA 565 - 1,500
Little Gull 2014 - 2016 FA 2 - 5
Pectoral Sandpiper 2011 - 2016 FA 481 - 1,143
Pectoral Sandpiper 2011 SU 569 - 925
Red Knot 1975 - 2016 FA 999 - 2,500
Semipalmated Sandpiper 2016 FA 20,989
Semipalmated Sandpiper 2011 SU 23,000
Waterbirds 1985 FA 23,500
White-rumped Sandpiper 2011 - 2015 FA 9,800 - 12,500
Note: species shown in bold indicate that the maximum number exceeds at least one of the IBA thresholds (sub-regional, regional or global). The site may still not qualify for that level of IBA if the maximum number reflects an exceptional or historical occurrence.
Conservation Issues
North Point is a proposed Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) site, an area of international importance for shorebirds. The Canadian Wildlife Service has conducted banding and molt studies at this site. First Nations people also use the area for subsistence hunting.

The IBA Program is an international conservation initiative coordinated by BirdLife International. The Canadian co-partners for the IBA Program are Birds Canada and Nature Canada.
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