An insignificant-looking fossil of a tiny wing bone provided the first evidence that birds lived in the Canadian High Arctic 40 000 years ago, during the last ice age. The bone is from a Dovekie. This small, sea-bird species still lives today.
The bone was found near Cape Storm, on Ellesmere Island, Nunavut. Dovekies no longer nest there.
Dovekies are found throughout the far north Atlantic, as far east as Siberia. A few nest in isolated locations on eastern Canadian Arctic islands. Many feed in the waters north and north-east of Baffin Island, Nunavut. They winter in open water, far off the coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia, as well as in Europe.
Most of their large, densely populated breeding colonies are located on the west coast of Greenland. They nest in crevices and clefts on high, rocky coastlines.
Dovekies are about 20 cm (8 in.) long.