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    Your turn: Birding Nunavut’s Cambridge Bay

    You can’t drive to Nunavut. There are no roads connecting it with the rest of North America, and much of Canada’s newest territory consists of islands in the Arctic Ocean. Nunavut comprises over 20% of Canada’s land mass yet is home to only 0.09% of Canada’s population. That’s not nine percent, but nine hundredths of a percent. So it is of little doubt that Nunavut is the least-visited of Canada’s provinces and territories by ABA members.

    But it doesn’t have to be that way. Jim Richards got the itch just over 30 years ago, and he’s been going back ever since. In fact, he literally wrote the book on Nunavut, having coauthored the territory’s bird checklist. The March 2014 issue of Birder’s Guide to Travel features an article by Jim called “Far From Home but Close to Perfect: Birding Nunavut’s Cambridge Bay“. Inside you will find his invaluable tips for making your trip there a not just a reality, but a success: from where to go, where to stay, whom to call for a rental vehicle, and maps of the best local birding locations.

    You can read Jim’s article by clicking here. The entire issue of Birder’s Guide to Travel is available online and for free. Once the e-magazine has downloaded, just turn to page 12. You can download the entire issue, or just Jim’s article, by clicking on the fourth button from the right in the toolbar above the magazine’s pages. That way you can conveniently reference the article–and Cindy Lippincott’s wonderful maps of the region–on your smartphone as you trudge about the Arctic tundra between sightings of Yellow-billed Loon and King Eider.

    Nunavut is huge, and Jim touches on just one of its many birding locations. Do you have a favorite birding location in Nunavut you’d like to share? An experience you want to tell us about? A comment or question about the article? Please offer them in the comment section, below!

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    Michael Retter
    Michael L. P. Retter is the editor of the ABA's newest magazine, Birder's Guide. He also wears his ABA cap while working as a Technical Reviewer for Birding magazine. When not at home, Michael is often leading tours in Middle America (Mexico through Panama). He currently lives with his partner, Matt, in West Lafayette, Indiana. In his fleeting free time there, he pursues interests in horticulture (especially orchids), music, cooking, and numismatics. Michael also runs GBNA, the continent's informal club and email listserv for LGBT birders.
    Michael Retter

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    • Tyler L Hoar

      I have birded Cambridge Bay a few times with Jim Richards. It spoils you, and when you return south you will look at these northern migrants differently. King Eiders everywhere, and as common a Mallards back home. Stilt Sandpipers braying like donkeys as they fly overhead. Long-tailed Jaegers landing on you, instead of being just long distant views. Sabines, Thayer’s and Glaucous Gulls flying around you like Ring-billed Gulls flying around a chip truck at home. So many species that you rarely see so close, vocalizing and generally indifferent you being there.

    • Ted Floyd

      I guess what I still can’t wrap my mind around is the enormousness of Nunavut. I’ve driven across Texas, and Texas seems gigantic to me. Yet if you take the area of Texas, and multiply it by three, you still don’t get the area of Nunavut. Think about that: El Paso to Texarkana, Brownsville to Amarillo, TIMES THREE, and it’s still not as big as Nunavut.

      • Ted Floyd

        Another thought: Nunavut is bigger than Mexico.

    • Doug Hanna

      I was stationed in CamBay in the early 1980s when the DewLine was still operational. I worked the summer up there to make money for college. I think I have some lists somewhere from short hikes around the site ( and the two other sites I worked at that summer).

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