Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
The Arctic summer poses a number of problems for breeding birds. The breeding season is so brief that the time required for establishment of territory, pair bonding, and courtship may be truncated into a few days or even a few hours. Weather patterns appear to play an important role in the availability of nesting habitat, especially for shorebirds who may arrive to find their preferred habitats flooded. The incredible abundance of food for nesting birds makes this uncertainty worthwhile more often than not.
Many species nesting in Northwest Alaska Areas migrate long distances to warmer regions of the world during the arctic winter. The following figure illustrates some of these incredible journeys.
Migratory birds: Singing the blues?
Across the continents, the evidence is piling up. Migratory birds are having trouble on their wintering and migration areas. Some populations of migratory songbirds appear to be declining at 1-3% per year. This may not sound serioius at first, but compounded over the years, it means that future generations may not see these species in our national parklands. Partners in Flight has responded to this concern.
Partners in Flight is a collaborative program emphasizing cooperation between federal and state governments, non-governmental organizations, universities, corporations, and the public for the conservation of neotropical migratory birds and their habitats. Many state, biogeographical, and national neotropical migratory bird working groups have been formed under the PIF program.
The Boreal PIF group, including members from Canada, works closely with the western and national working groups. This group has met several times and their efforts continue to benefit many research and educational programs in Alaska's national parks.
The National Park Service has initiated several important efforts in Northwest Alaska Areas, including:
These efforts allow a multitude of interested groups to actively participate in conserving migratory birds across the state as well as across international boundaries.