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Welcome to the Anchorage Audubon Society

The Anchorage Audubon Society chapter is a volunteer, non-profit organization that is dedicated to the conservation of southcentral Alaska ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit and enjoyment of current and future generations. Our dedicated volunteers provide field trips, natural history presentation, newsletters, the bird hotline, education programs for adults and children and support for conservation issues. Natural history presentations are scheduled for the third Thursday of every month from September through May. Our birding and natural history focused field trips are open to the public and are led by local bird experts. We welcome all levels of birders and non-birders on our field trips.

On this site you'll find information on how to join the Anchorage Audubon Society (membership to National Audubon is included). You can learn about wildlife conservation issues and activities sponsored by Anchorage Audubon. If you have updates, comments or corrections to content on this website please contact us at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

To receive our newsletter and updates about programs and field trips please send your e-mail address to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it . Note: Please send us your e-mail even if you have joined Audubon elsewhere on this site.   

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  Happy New Year!!  We hope to see you at these upcoming events:
MARCH 2014:
 
MARCH MEETING:
"How To Be A Better Birder Forum"
 
Date and Time: Thursday, March 20.  7:00 pm
Location: BP Energy Center
 
     The Spring Birding Season is right around the corner, and the Anchorage Audubon Society's March program is an exceptional treat.  We've gathered a truly phenomenal panel for our Fifth annual forum on "How to Be a Better Birder."
    Brad Benter, Peter Scully, and Jennifer Johnson will share their knowledge, tips, and techniques in order to help the rest of us see more birds.  This is an opportunity to go to school with the big guys.  Brad, Peter, and Jennifer  are among Alaska's most highly respected birders, and when the rest of us see one of them in action, we always seem to ask ourselves the same question:  "How the heck did he know That?"
   
      Brad Benter is incredible.  He works for the US Fish & Wildlife Service, and his 2013 Alaskan Big Year produced 270 species.  Peter Scully showed up in Alaska a few years ago and at his first visit to the Hawkwatch, he astounded everyone by casually saying "that's a light morph Harlans" while looking head-on at a speck that was six miles away.  Jennifer Johnson is currently the 3rd highest-ranked woman on the Alaska 200 Club bird sighting list, and is only 2 birds away from second place.  She totally knows her stuff!
    Moderator W. Keys will lead the questioning with the goal of allowing us to learn more about birding in one evening than we would usually learn in a whole week!   It'll be just like getting a full scholarship to Harvard, except that the person sitting next to you is likely to have driven in from Wasilla.  The Forum will not be based on questions from the audience, but questions for our esteemed panel may be submitted in advance to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it 
    March's meeting is on our usual third Thursday, March 20.  Meet us at the BP Energy Center at 7:00 pm., and of course, there will be fabulous prizes and cookies.
     March's meeting will also feature a short presentation on UAA's "Birds In Bogs" Citizen Science research project, and the annual Anchorage Audubon election of Officers. 
 
 

APRIL 2014: 

 
APRIL  MEETING:
"Beginning Birding Class"
 
Date and Time: Thursday, April 17.  7:00 pm
Location: BP Energy Center
 
     For the first time ever, we will present a course in "Birding for Beginners" at our April Meeting.  This is the perfect opportunity to learn about Birds and Birding from the beginning, and it's just in time for our Spring Migration arrivals.
     W. Keys, Aaron Bowman, and the Audubon Board will attempt to cover it all in one evening:  What you need to begin,  How to use a field guide,  What to look for in the field,  Where to find birds in Anchorage,  How to use binoculars,  How to hear birds,  What is migration all about,  as well as basic bird identification and behaviors.  It's a simple look into what's happening outside your living room window every single day.
     Why do we like birding?  Author Thomas Dunlap said it best:  "It's easy to begin and impossible fully to master."  
     Everyone is welcome.  Bring the kids.  This evening will be a fabulous chance to learn about birdwatching without having to wear funny hats.

 


 
The Gunsight Mountain Hawkwatch:
Saturday and Sunday, April 19 & 20, 2014
Mile 118.8 on the Glenn Highway
 
See our Field Trip page for full details.
 

 

  

RARE BIRD REPORT IN THE ANCHORAGE AREA

     In the past year, we have seen a large number of birds that are very unusual in the Anchorage area.  The appearance of each of these is, of course, entirely due to efforts of The Anchorage Audubon Society.  Here is a list of those birds, a few details on their discovery, and the relative rarity of the species in Anchorage.  We have limited this list to areas easily accessible by road from Anchorage, and have listed these rarities in chronological order.  

THEREDWING
            Location:  Lowell Point Beach, Seward, Alaska
            FirstSeen:  November 16, 2011
            LastSeen:  November 26, 2011
            Discoveredby:  Jim Herbert first spotted thebird.  Carol Griswold sent a phototo Buzz Scher who positively identified it.  Thanks to Carol, Jim, and Peregrine Joe for hosting out oftown and out of state seekers.
            RelativeRarity:  First Alaskan Record.  5th United States Record. 
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Redwing Photo by Carol Griswold

  

THEDUSKY THRUSH
            Location:  Turnagain Subdivision, Anchorage,Alaska
            FirstSeen:           December10, 2011
            LastSeen:            March17
            Discoveredby:   Thede Tobish.
            RelativeRarity:  Most reports from WesternAleutians.  Outside of Alaska therehave been 4 North America sightings. This was the first in our part of Alaska. --ABA
 
THEEVENING GROSBEAK
            Location:  The Butte Area, Palmer, Alaska
            FirstSeen:   January 12, 2012
            LastSeen:   March 25 withundocumented possible sightings as late as Mid-May.
            Discoveredby:  Bob and Charlie Sartor
            RelativeRarity: There are anumber of records of Evening
Grosbeak (at least 20) from Southeast Alaska, and there isone prior record from Anchorage.
 
THE IVORY GULL
Location:  Marsh Below Clitheroe Center,Anchorage, Alaska
            FirstSeen:  May 7, 2012
            LastSeen:   May 7, 2012
            Discoveredby:  Luke DeCicco
            RelativeRarity:  Casual inSouthcoastal  Alaska . Third localrecord..   Last seen inAnchorage in late May, 2006.

BRISTLE THIGHEDCURLEWS
Location:  Mouth of the Anchor River, AnchorPoint, Alaska
            FirstSeen:  May 11 , 2012
            LastSeen:   approx. May 27
            Discoveredby: Brad Meiklejohn           
            RelativeRarity:   Casual at Homer andKodiak,  Accidental in Seward.  Only a few records on north gulf coast.Most records from Middleton Island
 
THEGREAT EGRET
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            Location:  Twenty Mile River Marsh, Portage,Alaska
            FirstSeen:  May 28
            LastSeen:   May 31
            Discoveredby: John Pearce and Elizabeth Manning.  Word spread by Thede Tobish.
            RelativeRarity: This Great Egret .... is about the 20th occurrence of the species inAlaska and the first for the Anchorage area. Aside from one record for Cordova,another for Kodiak and two for Barrow, most of Alaska’s records are splitevenly between Southeast Alaska and the western and central Aleutians, wherethe Asian breeding race modesta is involved. –Aaron Lang
  
               photo courtesy Bob Winckler
 
THE FRANKLIN’S GULL
Location:  Mouth of Chester/Fish Creeks,Anchorage, Alaska
            FirstSeen:  June 7, 2012
            LastSeen:  Approx. June 10
            Discoveredby:  David Sonneborn
            RelativeRarity:    Casual in SouthcoastalAlaska.  Anchorage sightings inAugust, 2005 and September 2009. Extremely rare in spring, summer, and fall.  Maybe 1 per year

THEWESTERN KINGBIRD
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            Location:    Westchester Lagoon Outlet Bridge Marsh,Anchorage, Alaska
            FirstSeen:  Monday, June 11 by GavinBeiber.  Re-located Wednesday, June13 by Pat Pourchot.
            LastSeen:    Approx.June 14.           
            RelativeRarity:     Western Kingbirds have been seen in Southeast Alaska in Juneau and inthe Hyder area, as well as along the Denali Highway.  They are extremely unusual with less-than-annual sightings.   A Western Kingbird was seen inSeward for about 4 days in 2008.
 
          Photo Courtesy Bob Winckler
 
 
 

THELEAST FLYCATCHER
            Location:    Lions' Park near Lake Hood, Anchorage,Alaska
            FirstSeen:  June 16, 1012
            LastSeen:     Approximately1 week later
            Discoveredby:  Thede Tobish
            RelativeRarity:   2nd Anchorage Record.  Previous sighting in 1962.  Other records from Southeast Alaska,Fairbanks, Delta Junction, Kenny Lake. One record from Gambell & Middleton Island.

THEWILLET
            Location:  Kenai Boat Launch Viewing Platform,Kenai, Alaska
            FirstSeen:   June 22, 2012
            LastSeen:   Approx June 30
            Discoveredby:  Toby Burke.  Special Thanks to Ken Tarbox forguiding Willet seekers from all over the state.
            RelativeRarity:  First Accepted AlaskanRecord.  Seen once but notdocumented in Minto Flats, 1961.
 
THECALIFORNIA GULL
            Location:  Loussac Library Pond, Anchorage Alaska
            FirstSeen:  July 22, 2012  
            LastSeen:  throughout August
            Discoveredby:  David Sonneborn
            RelativeRarity:   almost annual inFall in Anchorage area, 1-2 birds most years.  Very rare in July
 
THELESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL
            Location:  Kenai River near Bridge AccessRoad,  Kenai,Alaska
            FirstSeen:  July 28, 2012
            LastSeen:  July 28, 2012.     Anotherbird was found at the Anchor River shortly after.
            Discoveredby:  Rich MacIntosh
            RelativeRarity:      Extremely rare, might be the 1stsouth-coastal record.  There are 2records from Kodiak (1985, 1991) , and the first breeding pair in North Americawas found in Juneau.
 
 THE BLACK-HEADEDGROSBEAK
            Location:  Dimond Estates Mobile Home Park,Anchorage, Alaska
            FirstSeen:           Sept.10, 2012
            LastSeen:            Sept11, 2012
            Discoveredby:  DeWayne Brantley and family attheir feeders.  Photographed andcaptured on video.  Neverre-located by anyone else. 
            RelativeRarity:      Casualto Accidental in SE Alaska (Juneau, Hyder, Petersburg).  A few records from Middleton Island,and one sighting from Kodiak in 2001. 
 
THE PALM WARBLER

            Location:              4700Elmore Road, Anchorage, Alaska

            FirstSeen:            Oct18, 2012

            LastSeen:            continuing

            Discoveredby:  Thede Tobish.   On Wednesday, October 17, Thedeposted on AK Birding:  I've started checking chickadeeflocks for late migrants.”  21Hours later, he found a Palm Warbler. 

            RelativeRarity:    Thedesays Palm Warblers are “a common rarity” in Alaska.  “1 or 2 are found every year all over the state.”  This, however, is only the 2ndrecord in our part of the state. The first was 2 years ago when Luke DiCicco discovered a deceased PalmWarbler on the sidewalk of the Girdwood gas station.  

 

THE SKY LARK
            Location:  Deep Creek Boat Launch, near Ninilchik,Alaska
            FirstSeen:  Oct. 18, 2012
            LastSeen:  Continuing.
            Discoveredby:  Steve Waltz. Steve drove south to bird Homer, but since the tide was wrong, he decided to bird the beach access points along the way.  He explained,  "This time I got lucky."
            RelativeRarity:      Rare to casual migrant in the Western Aleutians, Prbilofs, and Gambell.--George West.  We've not found any records for Mainland Alaska..
 
THE BRAMBLINGS
            Location:  Lowell Point, Seward, Alaska
            FirstSeen:  
            LastSeen:  Continuing.
            Discoveredby:  Luke Dicicco and Scott Schuette
            RelativeRarity:     
 

 


 

 

Birding maps are now available for Anchorage area!

The full-color map is 2’x 3’ when unfolded but folds down to a handy 6” x 9” pocket size. Authored and published by Audubon Alaska, in cooperation with Anchorage Audubon (primary author: Eric Myers). Features detailed road map, site descriptions, and driving directions for 34 birding spots on public lands. Includes updated checklist with seasonal abundance of likely birds. To purchase for $10 (or $11 by mail), contact Audubon Alaska: 907-276-7034 or Gretchen Hazen (online and local outlets coming soon). Maps will also be available for sale at Anchorage Audubon field trips and monthly meetings.