Birds of Nunavut

Birds of Nunavut

Birds of Nunavut edited by James M. Richards and Anthony J. Gaston. UBC Press (2018).

Following Text and Cover Photo Courtsey of  UBC Press

The price of the two-volume set is $125.00 Canadian. For Nature Vancouver subscribers, UBC Press is offering a 20% discount on the book and free shipping within Canada. Please visit the UBC Press website at and use the discount code NATUREVAN-20 when ordering. This offer is good until March 31, 2019. Happy birding!

Nunavut is home to some of the world’s most fascinating bird species. Birds of Nunavut, edited by James M. Richards and Anthony J. Gaston and published by UBC Press, is the first complete survey of every species of bird known to occur in the territory of Nunavut. The two-volume set documents 295 species of birds (of which 145 are known to breed there), presenting a wealth of information on identification, distribution, ecology, behaviour, and conservation. Lavishly illustrated with over 800 colour photographs (showing plumages, nests, eggs, and young for most breeding species) and 145 range maps, it is a visually stunning reference work on the birds that live in and visit Nunavut. 

This massive endeavour had its beginnings as a checklist compiled by Jim Richards in 1999. Jim, a naturalist and award-winning photographer, and later Tony Gaston, an ornithologist and senior scientist, gathered around them a team of sixteen other experts, including academics, government researchers, and environmental consultants – not to mention avid birders – who had a combined total of more than 300 seasons of fieldwork in Nunavut. Their intention was to write a complete text on the birds of the territory.

But there was another purpose for writing the book and that was to document the changes that were happening in the Arctic due to climate change, which is disproportionally impacting the circumpolar North. Birds of Nunavutwould serve as a guide for future development and conservation efforts, as well as an important benchmark for measuring the effects of climate change. As Robert Bateman said of the book, “I especially enjoy the emphasis on birds in this book not only because I am a life-long birder but also because birds are literally the canaries in the coal mine. Preserving their habitat relates directly to preserving ourselves.”

Birds of Nunavut is a must-have for bird enthusiasts of all sorts, including birders (both serious and armchair), ornithologists, researchers, naturalists, resource managers, and visitors. Volume 1 of this two-volume set contains species accounts for the nonpasserines (from Ducks, Geese, and Swans to Falcons). It also provides an overview of Nunavut’s geography and ecology, bird conservation concerns, and the history of the study of birds in the territory. Volume 2 provides species accounts for the passerines (from Tyrant Flycatchers to Cardinals), as well as four appendices (including a species checklist

Black-bellied Plover – Photo by Jim Richards
Long-tailed Jaeger – Photo by Jim Richards
Double-crested Cormorant – Photo by Jim Richards
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