Birds in Alaska: A Birdwatcher’s Paradise

Hello there, birdwatcher! 

Does the thought of flying aloft on high currents strike your romantic side? Does a quick call and flutter of wings have you looking for the culprit? Do you maintain a bird bath or bird feeder? 

Welcome to the ranks of over 60 million ‘birders’ who actively watch birds, and the millions more who enjoy seeing them from day-to-day who never think of themselves as avid “birdwatchers”!

Birds delight through their beautiful plumage, amusing songs, and their ability to fly. It’s no wonder humans have such an interest! It may be that birding is the least expensive hobby a person can get into. Aside from your eyes and ears, all that you need to bird watch is paper and pencil to track your finds. From there, like many other hobbies and sports, it depends on what you want to make of it. Binoculars and field guides are the next logical step to help you see and identify bird species better. Some go as far as high-powered scopes and sound amplification devises to make sure they can catch sight of the birds they seek. Whether you are an active birdwatcher for sport, or simply love the sight and sounds of birds going about their daily routine, member inns of the AABBA invite you to enjoy a bird watching vacation with us.

In Alaska,  wide-open spaces and expansive natural habitat provide the perfect setting for bird watching. And when you choose a bed and breakfast lodging option, the setting is even more perfect, as most are set away from the more populated areas. Really, are you more likely to spot birds in downtown areas where the hotels are, or the outlying communities that are home to our bed and breakfasts, where the lakes and nature are only a short walk away? Do hotels provide porches and gardens from which to actively watch area birds? Isn’t the ability to step outside your cozy inn, straight into the natural surroundings more supportive of birding than stepping outside a hotel into the urban bustle? Try Potter Marsh Bird Sanctuary, on the south side of Anchorage en route to the Kenai for a viewing adventure!

Imagine waking to a delicious breakfast at your chosen bed and breakfast, stepping outside to observe the bird activities of the morning, attending the local birding festival, and then returning to your chosen inn to walk the grounds or the area to find even more species that are native to Alaska. No matter what time of day or year, a B & B lodging option is the perfect place from which to enjoy your bird-watching activities.

Alaska is also home to some great Bird Festivals for all bird-watching interests. Whether you enjoy the sport in general, or have interest in a single species, we have a gathering for you. Each festival is located close to some of our member inns. Whether you come for the festival only, or extend your Alaskan vacation to view birds native to the area, a bed and breakfast is the ideal lodging option to support your bird watching fun!

We offer the following list of birding events to help you coordinate your Alaskan birding vacation. We invite you to select your lodging from the Anchorage Alaska Bed & Breakfast Association’s inspected and approved inns.

April, 2015 (all month):  Alaska Hummingbird Festival –Ketchikan, AK
April heralds the return of Hummingbirds to Alaska. This celebration at the Southeast Alaska Discover Center includes kid’s activities, hikes, art, and more.

April 30 – May 3, 2015:  Stikine River Birding Festival –Wrangell, AK
Celebrating the birds (including bald eagles) that come to the River each year to feed on the ‘hooligan’. Take part in seminars and activities for the whole family.

May, 2015 (TBA):  Upper Tanana Migratory Bird Festival – Tok, AK
A single day of celebration at the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge including activities, art competition, live bird presentation, and a morning bird tour.

May 7-10, 2015:  Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival – Cordova, AK
A week-long celebration during the migratory birds’ stopover in Cordova.  Enjoy seeing the birds, hiking, talks, and more.

May, 2015 (TBA):  Spring Migration Celebration – Fairbanks, AK (Call 907-459-7301)
Another celebration of the spring migration at the Creamer’s Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge.  A free event with games, crafts, birding, and more for the whole family, sponsored by five Alaskan and US birding and wildlife organizations.

May 7-10, 2015:  Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival -Homer, AK
Celebrating of the avian stopover to Kachemak Bay. See a wide variety of bird species including puffins, terns, curlew, stint, and more. Activities for the whole family will be available.

May 14-17, 2015:  Kenai Birding Festival – Kenai, AK
A family-friendly event to celebrate the migration. Kids’ activities, guided tours, and more.

May 28- 31, 2015:  Yakutat Tern Festival – Yakutat, AK
See one of the most populous Aleutian Tern breeding colonies in the US and enjoy guided tours, cultural events, art, talks, and kids’ activities.

August 28-30, 2015:  Tanana Valley Sandhill Crane Festival – Fairbanks, AK
Celebrating the fall migration of the Sandhill Crane. A family-friendly event featuring seminars, nature walks, photography workshops, banding demonstration, and more.

November 9-15, 2015:  Alaska Bald Eagle Festival – Haines, AK near Glacier Bay
This time of year sees thousands of Bald Eagles feeding on late-running salmon at the Alaska Bald Eagle Preserve.  Activities include photography workshops, cultural tours, demonstrations, speakers, entertainment, banquets, and more!

Reposted and edited courtesy of the statewide Alaska Bed & Breakfast Association. Events updated for 2015
On behalf of the Innkeepers o  Anchorage Alaska Bed & Breakfast Association

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