CCF Intern Attends Alaska Bird Conference

The Alaska Bird Conference is a gathering of researchers and managers that come together to share information and report on all aspects of bird biology, management, and conservation in Alaska. Christine Smith, a Chugach Children’s Forest intern, attended and presented at the conference’s 17th biennial event from December 6th to the 8th in Cordova, Alaska. Here are some highlights:

environment-for-the-americas-presentation-photo-of-christine-smith2Chugach Children’s Forest Intern Christine Smith

alaska-hummingbird-project-inc-katherine-mclaughlin-002Katherine McLaughlin holding a hummingbird

  • Katherine McLaughlin leads the Alaska Hummingbird Project, Inc. out of Cordova, Prince William Sound, Alaska. The project gathers hummingbird population, migration, and behavioral data while promoting hummingbird conservation and education. At the conference, Kate gave a report on long-distance rufous hummingbird recaptures. The long-distance recapture record of any hummingbird species was a rufous that was banded in Tallahassee, Florida and recaptured at the Chenega Bay banding station in Alaska! Kate also made a report of a young hummingbird that she caught twice over two consecutive summers in Chenega Bay. Females have remarkable natal site fidelity so it is likely that she was returning to her birth site. This bird was banded in Texas most likely as an immature female in late August. This means that she must have hatched in late June or early July and flew over 3,000 miles to Texas after just 2 ½ months of being born! These recaptures are the first recorded links between breeding grounds in southcentral Alaska and wintering grounds in southeastern United States. More on the Alaska Hummingbird Project, Inc. here:

golden-eagle-density-presentation-photo-of-joseph-eisaguirre-and-golden-eagleJoseph M. Eisaguirre holding a golden eagle

  • Joseph M. Eisaguirre gave a presentation on a study he participated in estimating the density of golden eagles in Southcentral Alaska. He estimated 1,818 eagles spanning an area of roughly 122,737 km2. Beyond this, he estimated that the population of golden eagles in all of Alaska might number at about 4,000 with a high chance that there are actually a lot more. In a 2016 report released by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the population for the entire U.S. including Alaska could be as much as 40,000 golden eagles or more! They are found year-round in southcentral and southwestern parts of North America. The summer breeding populations in the north utilize the Rocky Mountains to migrate to their nonbreeding wintering grounds in northcentral and northeastern parts of the continent. More on golden eagles here: and here:

pribilof-island-seabird-youth-network-photo-of-destiny-kushin-and-posterDestiny Kushin presenting at the Alaska Bird Conference

  • Destiny Kushin is a middle schooler living in an Aleut Community of the Pribilof Islands. Destiny presented a poster at the Alaska Bird Conference about the Pribilof Islands Seabird Youth Network. Through a web of partnerships, this program teaches K-12 youth about seabirds and gives these youth invaluable hands-on, science-focused learning experiences. In the classroom, online lessons and tools facilitate environmental education and research. Outdoors, Seabird Camp gives youth from both of the Pribilof islands in situ experience in research, monitoring, and place-based learning. The camp allows students to develop field skills, build confidence, learn responsibility, outreach, and build mentor/mentee relationships with members of the scientific community. The Network also gives tribal elders the opportunity to teach Pribilof Islands youth about their culture through language, harvesting, cooking, and story-telling. Destiny’s grandmother is one of those elders who keeps the culture alive by sharing her Aleut traditions. Destiny is eager to keep learning her tribal language and even participates in seal harvests. This summer, she hopes to take on a job researching traditional subsistence resources. Destiny is passionate and intelligent and well on her way to becoming a powerful advocate for cultural and environmental conservation. More on Pribilof Island Seabird Youth Network here: