Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Birds and their habitats
Northwest Alaska Areas consists of three national park units: Cape Krusenstern National Monument, Kobuk Valley National Park, and the Noatak National Preserve. Each of these areas provide a wide variety of habitats important to birds.
Cape Krusenstern National Monument is largely coastal plain with several large coastal barrier lagoons, the largest being Krusenstern Lagoon. Hundreds of ponds and brackish lakes are scattered throughtout the area. A diverse variety of wetland habitats abound, including shrub tundra, wet sedge meadow, tussock tundra, and Dryas tundra. The upland areas are characterized by tussock and
Kobuk Valley National Park is largely defined as a ring of mountains that enclose the Kobuk Valley. The Kobuk River cuts through the lower third of the valley. The river is wide and slow-moving as it enters the park.
The Noatak National Preserve includes most of the Noatak river valley. The river basin is bounded by the DeLong mountains to the north and the Baird Mountains to the south. The 435 mile long river flows westward through the Preserve towards the sea.
Trees are at their northern limit in the Noatak and Kobuk valleys -- the forest yields to tundra. The juncture of river, forest and tundra makes for a wide variety of bird habitats. The bird species reflect both interior and coastal influences. The river corridors provide abundant habitat for riparian species.