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Birds in Abundance

Why do birds return to Alaska every spring in such large numbers?

Tundra Wetlands near the Kuskokwim River

The Yukon Kuskokwim Delta supports one of the largest populations of geese in the world. Elders recall so many geese passing overhead, blocking out the sun and making a thundering noise. The ponds, lakes, streams and marshy coast is perfect habitat for raising young birds. Birds must eat a large amount of food in order to refuel from a long spring migration, raise their young, and prepare for fall migration. Alaska wetlands provide a rich source of food for migrating birds. The birds that arrive in the spring provide important food for Yupik communities.

“When long, hard winters emptied the people’s food caches too early, starvation loomed. Return of geese in April (Tengmiirvik) helped to save us. –Chuck Hunt, born & raised on the Y-K Delta “

Video Reflection Questions

  1. Why is the Yukon Delta one of the most important places for birds on Earth?
  2. Why are there so many different types of birds in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta?
  3. True or False, In Western Alaska, the density of breeding shore birds is higher than any other place recorded in the world.
  4. Why is it so important to protect the bird populations in Alaska?