Arctic’s Amazing Birds

Avian Migration — Alaska is a hotspot for migratory birds which come to the state seeking breeding grounds with plentiful food and few predators. But life isn’t easy for these far-flyers. In these videos, scientists with the University of California Davis’ Birds and Seasonality project work to understand how migratory songbird species adjust to thrive despite the challenges of unpredictable Arctic weather.

Arctic’s Amazing Birds

Spectacled Eiders, Snowy Owls, Bar-Tailed Godwits are just a few of the birds that call Alaska and the Arctic home at least for the summer. Tons of insects and open habitat are the perfect place for their new hatchlings. It’s only a flight away. For some birds it quite a journey……

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Spectacled Eiders, Frontier Scientists first bird story is a unique one. Scientist, Margaret Peterson was determined to find out where the Spectacled Eiders migrated to during the winter months. Peterson used satellite technology early on to try to track the Eiders. Unfortunately the battery life on the transmitters wasn’t that long in the 1990’s, about 4-6 months. But finally, one transmitter beeped out a signal that they were able to follow. And to their surprise…, well, watch the video.

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Bar-tailed Godwit: In North America, this large (males 250-350 g, females 300-500g) shorebird is only commonly found in western and northern Alaska during the summer (where it breeds) and fall. In fall, it stages in spectacular concentrations along the coast of the Yukon-Kukskokwim Delta and further south on the Alaska Peninsula before departing on the longest non-stop migration known for any shorebird species, across the Pacific Ocean down to New Zealand and southeast Australia.

Up to five subspecies of Bar-tailed Godwits (Limosa lapponica) are recognized, breeding from northern Norway to western and northern Alaska.

[ video ] Tracking Alaska’s Godwits
[ video ] Spectacled Eiders Hideaway

People: Robert E. Gill, T. Lee Tibbitts, Matthew Sexson

Wind-aided birds on their way north (Ned Rozell) Arctic Birds
The longest non-stop migratory flight (Liz O’Connell) Arctic Birds
Satellite Tracking Helps Russian Tanker Navigate Critical Sea Duck Habitat (Matthew Sexson & Paul Laustsen) Arctic Birds, Satellites
Fast Food, Golden Truck and Admirers Lure Snowy Owl to Burns, Oregon? (Liz O’Connell) Arctic Birds
Alaska creatures without us (Ned Rozell) Conservation
A far-off place, all for the birds (Ned Rozell) Arctic Birds
Guillemots, and the edge of the ice (Laura Nielsen) Arctic Birds, Conservation, Sea Ice
Dust on the Sun’s mirror (Laura Nielsen) Climate Change

Arctic’s Amazing Birds project

Related: Migration, Climate Change Watch

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