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Our migratory birds have all arrived and are busy singing up a storm and nesting. With the early spring, Audubon staff have already seen or heard ducklings, goslings, baby woodpeckers, and even chickadee fledglings. This issue is jam-packed with our fledgling Arctic Ocean Story Map, good news for the Arctic Ocean, Anchorage summer bird walks, Birdathon and Great American Arctic Birding Challenge results, and more!

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Ribbon Seal by Liz Labunski
US Fish & Wildlife Service
Find out first-hand from field researchers what the Arctic Ocean is like throughout the summer on the new Audubon Alaska Story Map of Vital Arctic Ocean Areas. A new blog post every other week will highlight firsthand accounts by field researchers working in these amazing places, following eiders, marine mammals, and other birds and wildlife through the Arctic Ocean's busiest time of year. Want to learn about Kittlitz's Murrelets? Or hear the haunting underwater songs of belugas, seals, and walrus? Visit the story map!
Susanne Miller
US Fish & Wildlife Service
There was recently some great news for Arctic Ocean wildlife: Repsol, one of the companies with drilling leases in the Chukchi Sea , will give up all 93 of its drilling leases over the next year. Out of the 487 leases originally part of the Oil and Gas Lease Sale 193 Audubon and our partners have been fighting for years, only a single lease site held by Shell remains. That's worth celebrating!

Potter Marsh bird walk
Potter Marsh by Cole Talbot
What's so special about Anchorage's coast for birds? To find out, join Audubon Alaska's Cole Talbot for bird walks along the Coastal Trail and at Potter Marsh , two locations which are in the Anchorage Coastal Important Bird Area (IBA).
Also, July 24 we'll host our annual Anchorage Bike and Bird Day on the Coastal Trail.

Learn more 
Varied Thrushes nest in old-growth forest
by Dan Dzurizin
At the end of May, the Senate introduced the Wildfire Budgeting, Response, and Forest Management bill that is meant to address the growing problem of wildfire spending. Unfortunately, it also contains a section that would delay the transition away from old-growth logging in the Tongass National Forest. The same provision also popped up in the Senate Interior Appropriations bill and Don Young's state forest transfer bill, on the House side.

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Team Swift
Audubon Alaska's annual Birdathon is a fun way to raise money for protecting Alaska's amazing birds by counting birds-as many species as possible in a 24-hour period during the month of May. Audubon Alaska staff form teams and collect pledges per bird species they find or lump sum donations. You can still support one of the Birdathon teams!
See the results

Dick Daniels
Creative Commons
Congratulations to the winners of the 2016 Great American Arctic Birding Challenge! Many thanks to everyone who participated, we hope you enjoyed the time outdoors and learned a little about the amazing birds that connect the Arctic, especially the Arctic Refuge, with your state.

The Arctic Refuge bonus prizes went to teams that saw 10 or more Arctic Refuge-nesting species. All of the competing teams achieved the bonus, which just goes to show how many bird species everyone shares with the Arctic Refuge!

Northern Jacana
by Francesco Veronesi
As we enjoy "our" birds in Alaska this summer, it's important to remember the majority of them spend most of the year in other places that are just as vital for their survival. Join Audubon Alaska on a migration of your own to Belize February 19-28, 2017. In addition to its rich Maya history and Caribbean-influenced culture, the small country of Belize offers birders a huge diversity of migrant and resident species in lush and varied ecosystems. We'll explore habitats that include wetlands, pine forest, tropical moist forest, and a mangrove island on this unforgettable 10-day adventure.
Picking up a snack
by Beth Peluso

Audubon Alaska participates in Fred Meyers Community Rewards program. Simply link your Fred Meyer rewards card with Audubon Alaska, then Freddie's makes a donation every time you shop and use your rewards card. The more households that select Audubon Alaska the more donations we get! There is no cost to you, and you still earn all your rewards points.
If you say "hey, I already did that," many thanks, and this is just a little reminder that your rewards card has to be relinked annually. Link your rewards card now by searching for Audubon Alaska by name or our ID is #82017.

Dave Menke
US Fish and Wildlife Service
Previous Quiz Bird
The previous quiz bird was a Red-throated Loon.
This Month's Quiz Bird
This month's quiz bird is often seen at the Anchorage Coastal Important Bird Area. Because this species nests in only a few northern locations, it was once considered one of continent's rarest birds. Although today the global population is estimated around 70,000, concentrating in small breeding and wintering areas makes this species vulnerable.
BirdWalksThe evening walks will focus on the species that make these locations unique and important. Both these walks will be held at a leisurely pace on easily accessible paths. Bird watchers of all skill levels and ages are welcome. Binoculars will be available to borrow. Tony Knowles Coastal Trail Walks are on Wednesdays, 6:30-8:30PMthrough August 3. Meet at the Westchester Lagoon parking area near the boat launch at 1824 W. 15th Ave. Potter Marsh walks are in partnership with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG): Cole leads walks Tuesdays, 6:30-8:30PM and ADFG staff lead walks Saturdays, 8:00-10:00AM. Meet at the Potter Marsh boardwalk parking lot in front of the kiosk.
See our events webpage for more information.

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TongassThe Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska is part of the world's largest remaining stretch of temperate rainforest. Large, old-growth trees in the Tongass are vital habitat for many species of birds and other wildlife, including the Queen Charlotte Goshawk and the Sitka black-tailed deer. The Tongass is also the only National Forest where large-scale old-growth logging still occurs.
The transition out of industrial old-growth logging is long overdue. The administration announced in 2010 that the U.S. Forest Service would shift from old-growth logging to a young-growth focus in the Tongass. Now, a plan for this transition is on the verge of being finalized. This harmful provision in various bills would block this progress by preventing the Forest Service from finalizing the amended Tongass Land Management Plan until all young-growth is inventoried.
Audubon will be closely monitoring bills as the legislative process moves forward. Look for opportunities to take action as we work to steer this legislation to a better course for the Tongass and its birds.

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BirdathonBirdathon teams scoured the Land of the Midnight Sun to find as many birds as possible. Cue the woodpecker drumroll for the Official 2016 Birdathon Results:
  1. Team Swift with 88 species.
  2. Team All for Knot with 81 species.
  3. Team Just Wingin' It with 61 species.
While Team Swift enjoys their shiny Birdathon first place trophy, Team All for Knot will be the custodians of the dreaded second place Rubber Chicken award for the next year. Also, you should check out Team Just Wingin' It's  story map of their Birdathon journey.

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ArcticChallenge There are two divisions for the Arctic Birding Challenge, one for the Lower 48 and one for Alaska, since the birds are converging on Alaska. The competitive spirit was strong this year with the Polar Vortex team from Challis, Idaho breaking the 4-year-old overall record (previously held by the Water Ouzels from Anchorage, Alaska) by a whopping 9 species! It was a tough competition for second place in the Lower 48 division with three teams counting within 10 species of each other. The top team from Alaska was the Water Ouzels with a final tally of 143 species. 

Without further ado, here are the winners:

Alaska Division
  • 1st Place: Water Ouzels (Anchorage, Alaska) with 143 Species (View the team checklist)
  • 2nd Place: The Wandering Prattlers (Soldotna, Alaska) with 127 Species
  • 3rd Place: The Lame Ducks (Seward, Alaska) with 104 Species
Lower 48 Division
  • 1st Place: Polar Vortex (Challis, Idaho) with 162 Species (View the team checklist)
  • 2nd Place: Hyperborean Phalanx (Bellevue, Idaho) with 151 Species
  • 3rd Place: Pufted Tuffins (Missoula, Montana) with 143 Species 
Will the Alaskan teams come back to reclaim the overall win next year?  Can somebody take on Polar Vortex to break their 162-species record? We'll find out in the Arctic Birding Challenge 2017 next spring!
For almost 40 years Audubon Alaska has worked to conserve Alaska's natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, wildlife, and the habitat crucial to them. Audubon Alaska is financially independent, raising all our own funding. This means your support is critical to protecting the birds and wildlife you care about.Thank you for supporting Audubon Alaska!

Happy Birding!

Beth Peluso, Communications Manager
Audubon Alaska

Audubon Alaska
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