RefugeRambleRefuge Ramble: Ben's Journey Across the Arctic Refuge
Ben wading through Arey Lagoon on the Arctic Ocean. Photo: Sarah Glaser
Ben Sullender, Spatial Ecologist at Audubon Alaska, recently visited the majestic Arctic National Wildlife Refuge on a 14-day, 200-mile excursion. Ben was accompanied by Sarah Glaser, an Alaskan artist and outdoor enthusiast. The two set out from Arctic Village, hiking and paddling their way to the Arctic Ocean. In Audubon Alaska's new BirdBlog series, Ben shares his experiences and reflections from traveling on a budget, to navigating challenging terrain, to wildlife sightings. 

ConservationImpactReportCelebrating Bird Conservation in Alaska 
For more than 40 years Audubon Alaska has been at the forefront of bird conservation in Alaska. And you have been with us every step of the way! We recently released our latest Conservation Impact Report. Please enjoy this Report and take pride in the highlights from the past two years. 

It is all thanks to your dedication, advocacy, and support. Thank you!  

ChristmasBirdCountChristmas Bird Count coming soon! 
Photo: Black-eyed Junco. Michele Black / GBBC 2015
Each year, volunteers across the Americas participate in the Christmas Bird Count, the largest and longest-running community science project in the world. Audubon's 119th Christmas Bird Count will be conducted from Friday, December 14, 2018 through Saturday, January 5, 2019. The Christmas Bird Count has a fascinating history, borne from a holiday tradition known as the Christmas "Side Hunt" and transformed by a conservation-minded ornithologist named Frank M. Chapman who championed a new holiday tradition - a "Christmas Bird Census" - where its participants count birds rather than hunt them.  

Look for the December eNews for more information about how you can participate!  
RarebirdsRare birds spotted around Alaska
Tropical Kingbird in Ketchikan. Photo: Jim Lewis Photography
From a Tropical Kingbird in Ketchikan to a Great Egret spotted in Kodiak and a Blue-winged Teal found in Utqiaฤกvik, rare birds are being observed across Alaska in increasing numbers. The Tropical Kingbird, pictured here, is most commonly found in southern Mexico and Central America, with some forays into southern Arizona and Texas. In recent years Tropical Kingbirds have been found along the Pacific Coast, but none so far north as Alaska! A Tropical Kingbird was first spotted by Patty Rose in Juneau and was later found in Ketchikan by Ben Limle and Steve Heinl. 

With our rapidly changing climate, we suspect that more birds will be making their way to unfamiliar habitat in Alaska and elsewhere as their migration takes them far from home. While birds have certainly gotten lost before climate change, storms exacerbated by our changing climate are the most likely cause for recent wayward sightings. We've compiled a list of some local Alaskan birding groups and rare bird alerts that you can join to stay in the loop if a rare bird is spotted near you. 

Photo: Mick Thompson
Hi! It's me, the Pacific Golden-Plover. Now is the time of year I like to reflect on what I am most grateful for. It's you! I am so thankful for your support of Audubon Alaska's work. Without your dedication to bird conservation in Alaska, I don't know where I'd be. You help keep my summer home safe and protected for me and my friends. Thank you and have a very happy Thanksgiving!  

With gratitude,
Pacific Golden-Plover 
Audubon Alaska's 2018 Bird of the Year

P.S. I can't believe what you're having for dinner!!
BirdQuiz'Name that Bird' Photo Quiz
Photo: Milo Burcham

Photo: Milo Burcham
Last Month's  Quiz Bird

This Month's Quiz Bird
Last month's quiz bird was a Kittlitz's Murrelet! Like the Marbled Murrelet, a close relative, Kittlitz's Murrelet is not a colonial nester, choosing instead to nest near glaciers in isolated locations on scree and talus slopes. Scientists have documented only a few dozen of these elusive nests, usually found downhill from a large boulder that protects the nest from rolling rocks while hiding it from uphill predators. Unfortunately, the effects of climate change are shrinking the seabird's glacial habitat, and changes in the ocean are reducing the availability of the fish it eats. Kittlitz's Murrelets are also particularly vulnerable to oil spills; approximately 5-10% of the world population was killed during the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and from 1972 to 2004 the species declined a whopping 99%

This month's quiz bird is known as an arctic skua in Europe and is a seabird like the Kittlitz's Murrelet, but that's where the similarities end. This bad bird of the Arctic is a kleptoparasite, a term that's used to describe animals that steal their food from other animals. At sea, this month's quiz bird chases other birds, harassing them until the poor victim bird is forced to drop and abandon their catch for this feathered thief to gobble up. On land, it prefers snatching fledgling and adult shorebirds, ducks, and terns and is a regular nest-raider and egg-stealer. It is one of the few predatory birds in which breeding pairs cooperate in the hunt, sometimes even working together to tear prey apart. Talk about sharing the load in a relationship!     
Shout out to Jerry D. who correctly identified last month's mystery bird!
CBCChristmas Bird Count for Kids at Alaska Zoo
Common Redpolls. Photo: John Schoen
December 8, 2018 from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Anchorage Zoo
Kids ages 6 and over are invited to come explore the outdoors with experienced birders and discover how local birds tough out the Alaska winter. Only a small number of birding spots are available so please contact Stephanie Hartman at the Alaska Zoo at (907) 341-6463 to make your reservations today! The fee is $5 per person.

AMSSAlaska Marine Science Symposium
Poster Presentations at the AMSS. Photo: NOAA
January 28 - February 1, 2019
The Alaska Marine Science Symposium is the premier marine science conference, bringing together scientists, educators, resource managers, students, and interested public for over twenty years to discuss the latest marine research being conducted in Alaskan waters. Research topics covered range from seabirds, marine mammals, fishes and invertebrates,  ocean physics, to local traditional knowledge. Our own Conservation Biologist Max Goldman will be presenting on the Assessment of Ecological Value and Vulnerability in the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort Seas project. 

ABCAlaska Bird Conference
Shorebird flock; mostly Western Sandpipers and Dunlins. Photo: Milo Burcham
March 4-8, 2019
The Alaska Bird Conference is a biannual conference that brings researchers, managers, and bird lovers of all ages to report on aspects of bird biology, management, and conservation in Alaska. This year's conference is being held in Fairbanks at the Westmark Hotel & Conference Center. Audubon Alaska will share and present a number of their current projects.  For more information, email the conference , call the Alaska Songbird Institute at (907) 888-2121 or visit the website .

If you're a student, Audubon Alaska administers the Tom Fondell Memorial Scholarship Fund. It is a student travel fund established in honor of Tom, an Alaska wildlife biologist who was known for promoting the professional development of young biologists. Click here for more information, or click the button below to contribute to the Tom Fondell Memorial Scholarship Fund.