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Alaska Birding


The Alaska Birding Season is heating up.  There are several resources for you to take advantage of if you are so inclined; if you are coming in from out of state the websites are great places to start.

Anchorage Audubon Society – http://www.anchorageaudubon.org/

Mat-Su Birders – http://www.matsubirders.org/index.html

Birding in Homer – http://birdinghomeralaska.org/

Birding in Fairbanks – http://www.arcticaudubon.org/

Juneau Audubon Society – http://www.juneau-audubon-society.org/

The Alaska Website with info on birding http://www.alaska.com/activities/birds/

Those are all excellent resources to begin with.  Here is some information on the bird festivals in Alaska:

The Copper River Delta Shore Bird Festival that is held in Cordova


The Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival in Homer.


The Bald Eagle Festival in Haines


Sandhill Crane Festival in Fairbanks


Bird Festivals are a great way to get out and see Alaska and of course the wildlife.  There are cruises that cater specifically to these festivals and to birding in general in the Bay areas and in the course of bird watching you are very likely to see a great deal of the rest of the wildlife that is present in Alaska.

Arctic Wings


Another recommendation for you if you enjoy birds, birding, and are interested in finding out more about the ANWR.  The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is an extremely import migratory gathering point for well over 100 species of birds.  Area 1002 is the proposed drilling area and this area is located on the coastal plain, there would be a large impact (at the least) to caribou and nesting birds and shore birds if this were developed for oil drilling and production.  This is an area richly diverse and biologically expedient to many mammals and birds and the Arctic Ocean is of course, the anchor of the biology here and must be protected from oil spills.  ANWR is a magnificent place (haven’t been there myself yet) and I believe there are other options for acquiring the oil reserves there that are far less obtrusive and invasive.  The infrastructure required for oil drilling and production is sprawling and invasive and brings air pollution, noise pollution and light pollution to these wildness areas and it is first, avoidable and second disruptive to these important links in our ecosystem.   This is an important place to conserve and we can conserve it by being realistic about how we go about extracting the resources that are in the earth while respecting the importance of the resources that are on it; all of them.  “I would drill through a caribous’ head to get to the oil in ANWR” — Glenn Beck

Subhankar Banerjee has devoted the last 8 years exclusively to ANWR and increasing the awareness of it and working to protect it.  He put this book together.  Micho Hoshino’s photograph of a Snowy Owl graces the cover, some might remember him.  Debbie Miller is an essayist for the book and I have another recommendation forth coming on her work, I really enjoy her ability to communicate so vividly about such a place in such a personal way.

Spring Fever


Spring fever is here for me, my goodness.  Up here in the Great White North we are still buried under.  We are getting some great sun but it is not coming fast enough it seems.  Now I love the cold, and I love the snow but this year I am just ready to roll.  Last summer was very short due to some late snow storms, rain, clouds and the coldest summer on record up here.  All of that has me, and my northern brothers and sisters, chomping at the bit to get some warm weather “on”.  April is here and that means birds, lots of birds, and I am looking forward to that.  Unfortunately a considerable amount of snow is still covering major nesting areas and so we are all anxiously awaiting break up so these guys can get in here.  We will be heading down to Homer later on this month to catch the migration stop over that comes through there; if reports are accurate we are talking tens of thousands of birds at a minimum. This will be our first time to attend this and we are looking forward to it.  The stop over in the Copper River Delta is to the tune of millions of birds.  That is the one I want to hit next year, it just won’t work out for us this year.  They had a bird count of 1.25 million birds in one day last year.  We also have a massive Rapture migration that occurs through the area.  Gunsight Mountain is a major migratory corridor for this and there is a raptor watch from Feb to April with some days counts over one hundred.  If you want to participate check out the Anchorage Audubon website they are looking for volunteers.  There is a BBQ coming up too in April.