Alaska Fish & Wildlife News
March 2022

2022 Alaska Bird and Wildlife Festivals

By Riley Woodford
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Townsend's Warbler. Photo by Nate Pamperin

A number of birding and wildlife festivals are planned in coming months – including some that had been canceled the past two years due to Covid. In most cases, scheduling is still somewhat underway and specific presenters are being finalized, but most festivals will return to the general format of guest presentations, bird and wildlife viewing outings and guided walks and tours.

Alaska Hummingbird Festival

April 1 - 30, 2022

Ketchikan - Southeast Alaska Discovery Center

The rufous hummingbird is the most widely distributed hummingbird in North America, and the most common hummingbird in Alaska (Anna’s hummingbird is the only other, and a rare visitor at that). The rufuos migrates to Alaska every spring, traveling up the coastline from the Pacific Northwest, arriving in Alaska throughout April.

The Alaska Hummingbird Festival celebrates the return of the rufous hummingbirds to the Tongass National Forest. The Southeast Alaska Discovery Center serves as the hub for a series of events, including a juried art show April 1 highlighting birds, bird habitat, and bird migration. A call for artists is underway through March 25 – to submit and to learn more, see the contact below.

Scheduled activities include Saturday morning guided bird walks, the Friday Night Insights lecture series, and Saturday afternoon activities for youth and their families. All programs and activities are free to the public.

The April 1st art opening begins the celebrations. Plans include birding opportunities on Saturdays at 8 a.m. April 2 - looking for sea birds at Rotary Beach (tentative); April 9 potentially Birding at Ward Lake, April 16 & 23 TBA; April 30 possible Breakfast with Birds at Totem Bight State Park. Youth activities about birds and their adaptations are also planned for Saturdays


For more information contact Hazel Brewi at 907-228-6290 or

Spring Migration Celebration

April 30 Noon-4 pm

Fairbanks - Creamer’s Field

Organized by the Friends of Creamer’s Field

Creamer’s Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge hosts the arrival of migratory birds into Interior Alaska. A visit during this time ensures great viewing opportunities for hundreds of birds including Trumpeter Swans, Greater White-fronted Geese, Canada Geese, Sandhill Cranes, various species of ducks, shorebirds, and songbirds. Activities include birdwatching, wildlife viewing, meeting local outdoor organizations, guided nature walks, and crafts for school-aged children.

Friends of Creamer's Field: 907-978-8457

The Stikine River Birding Festival

April 22-May 8, 2022


Events will be happening over several weekends.

For more information, contact 800-367-9745 or visit the Stikine River Birding Festival website.

Wrangell Convention and Visitor Bureau, 800-367-9745, in Alaska 907-874-2829

Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival

30th Annual, May 4-8, 2022


The festival is located on the beautiful shores and waters of Kachemak Bay. With over 100,000 shorebirds of 25 different species migrating through in early May, this four-day event celebrates the return of spring and migrating birds. Since 1993 the Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival has offered great birds, excellent guiding, educational seminars and workshops, and children’s activities to thousands of birders of all ages and all skill levels.

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Dunlins take flight on the Copper River Delta. Photo ADF&G/John Hyde

Discover festival opportunities, register for festival events, and get updates at

Sponsoring Organizations: Homer Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges and Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge.

For more information, see Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival

Shorebird Festival coordinator, 907-226-4631

32nd annual Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival

May 5th-8th, 2022


In-person attendance: Early bird registration is $75 until April 30 - includes all presenters, classes, guided in-person birding, reception, discounts on third party classes and field trips, and more. The virtual festival: $50.00 to register for the virtual festival and enjoy access to presenters, classes, guided birding and more for up to 30 days after the festival. $25.00 for in-person student attendees aged 13-college. Children 12 & under are free, but please register so organizers have an accurate count of attendees.

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A trumpeter swan, the heaviest bird and largest waterfowl in North America. Photo courtesy Tim Bowman.

Festival guides and instructors include Caitlin Lenahan, Robert Masolini, Aaron Bowman, Thea Tomas, Milo Burcham, Bill Lindow, Kelley Weaverling and Pete Mickelson.

Featured presenters include Fernando Angulo Pratolongo, a Peruvian conservationist and shorebird expert, and Ana Agreda, an Ecuadorian wildlife biologist and shorebird expert. Additional presenters and workshops are still being arranged.

The birds are migrating north and will still be filling Hartney Bay, Alaganik Slough, and the surrounding Chugach National Forest, feeding and resting as they head to their breeding grounds. Birding outside is safe and healthy as long as basic social distancing and hygiene measures are followed.

Covid precautions: As of March planning, all attendees will be asked to wear a face covering during in person festival events. The Festival Committee will monitor covid related conditions and make changes accordingly.

Trusted "birding bubbles," or "pods" are encouraged; Visitors encouraged to rent a vehicle for their family/bubble in lieu of offering shared shuttles. Phone & online ordering with curbside pickup encouraged for visitors. Existing safety plans of all lodging providers and charter boat operators communicated with visitors. Strict social distancing and testing guidelines are in place for travelers.

Bird guides spread out at prime viewing locations for proper social distancing. Shared scopes disinfected between each user. COVID-Smart Cordova standards shared with festival materials.

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An arctic tern. Photo by Tim Bowman.

Yakutat Tern Festival

June 2 through June 5, 2022


Yakutat hosts one of the largest and southernmost known nesting colonies of Aleutian Terns, as well as Arctic Terns and up to 200 other bird species that nest in, or migrate through the area. The festival is family friendly and offers activities for birders as well as non-birders, including, seminars, specialty lunches, a barbecue, kid’s activities, and other programs.

Events and activities in 2022 include charter boat based trips to Monti and Yakutat bays (four hours, $150, weather dependent and advance registration required); kayaking excursions in the Situk River (4-5 hours, $50, also weather dependent and advance registration required). Shore based tern viewing (road accessible colonies, 3-4 hours, vehicle and on foot; morning songbird walk (2 hours); bird viewing at Harlequin Lake (4 hours, road accessible, some walking); bird viewing at sites in town and Monti Bay (2-3 hours); Ankau River and Ocean Cape (3 hours, road accessible and some walking).

Other area activities include sight-seeing, hiking, fishing, surfing, canoeing and kayaking, wildlife viewing, and beach-combing.

The Keynote speaker for 2022 is Hob Osterlund. Bird banders, field trip leaders and presenters include Denise Turley, Gwen Baluss, John Zarnetske, Mary Bethe Wright, Laura Woodward, Amy Beich, Brady Skidmore, and Janelle Lopez. Call (907) 784-3359 for more on the Tern Festival

Alaska Bearfest

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A black bear fishes on Anan creek near Wrangell. Photo by Boyd Porter.

July 27-31, 2022


Presenters include bear biologists and researchers. Opportunties are available to travel to Anan Creek for bear viewing, up the Stikine River, and to the LeConte Glacier. Wrangell offers a number of opportunities for viewing other wildlife - bird, whales and marine mammals - as well as bears. Excursions can be easily set up with local operators during the festival. Free guided nature and bird watching walks will be offered. Covid precautions will be in place, and live events will be held at Bearfest. For more information: 907-874-2998

See Anan Wildlife Observatory website

Tanana Valley Sandhill Crane Festival

August 19-21, 2022


Sponsoring Organization: Friends of Creamer's Field and Arctic Audubon Society

The Friends of Creamer’s Field organizes events at Creamer’s Field in the heart of Fairbanks. In addition to the annual Sandhill Crane festival in August, there is a one-day Spring Migration Celebration April 30 Noon-4 pm

Each August as thousands of sandhill cranes begin their southward passage from Alaska and Siberia the Tanana Valley rings with gathering calls. One of the best places to catch this spectacle is at Creamer's Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge in the heart of Fairbanks, Alaska where daily sandhill crane tallies regularly top 1,000. The best time to enjoy fall staging is late August and early September.

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A sandhill crane. ADF&G

The festival includes talks, bird watching, nature walks, workshops and many other related activities with ample opportunities for observing cranes and other fall migrants.

Friends of Creamer's Field: 907-978-8457

Sitka WhaleFest

Nov. 3-6, 2022

Sitka - Harrigan Centennial Hall, 330 Harbor Dr.

Sponsoring Organization: Sitka Whale Fest

Sitka WhaleFest is a unique science festival to celebrate marine life. Sitka residents and visiting attendees gather to hear an international lineup of renowned biologists and researchers share their current research and exciting experiences over the three-day symposium. This innovative science outreach event gives future scientists and lifelong learners opportunities to meet and interact with the diverse group of speakers. Each afternoon, symposium participants and guest speakers will explore a daily theme connected to the overall theme of the symposium.

Surrounded by community and cultural activities, the weekend events include lectures, marine wildlife cruises in beautiful Sitka Sound, a marine-themed artisan market, music, local foods, art show, interactive student sessions, and a fun run/walk.

View the Sitka WhaleFest website Phone: 907-747-8878, ext. 2

Alaska Bald Eagle Festival

Nov. 10 – Nov. 13, 2022

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Spawning herring fill the waters off Kruzof Island (and Mount Edgecumb) near Sitka.


Sponsoring Organization: American Bald Eagle Foundation.

Eagle viewing within the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve - along the Chilkat River from many stops on the Haines Highway (10 mile to 26 mile, with biggest concentration between 19-23 mile). In some years more than 3,000 eagles gather along the four-mile stretch of the Chilkat River north of Haines in the fall to feed on a late run of salmon. This wildlife spectacle is the largest gathering of eagles in the world. The peak of the gathering usually occurs in mid-November.

Events at the American Bald Eagle Foundation Raptor Center and Natural History Museum at the intersection of Second Street and the Haines Highway. The center has 11 live raptors on site, (eagles, owls, falcons and hawks), and museum exhibits. Specifics are pending; typically there are presentations and featured speakers; Saturday night Nov. 12 will be a banquet and auction.

For information contact Director Cheryl McRoberts 907-766-3094

Website will be updated as presenters and events are confirmed.

More on the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve

Covid advice

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state: If you want to spend time with people who don’t live with you, outdoors is the safer choice. You are less likely to be exposed to COVID-19 during outdoor activities, even without the use of masks. Good ventilation can help prevent you from getting and spreading COVID-19.

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Harlequin ducks in Kachemak Bay. Photo by Tim Bowman.

In general, people do not need to wear masks when outdoors. In areas of substantial or high transmission, people might choose to wear a mask outdoors when in sustained close contact with other people, particularly if: They or someone they live with has a weakened immune system or is at increased risk for severe disease. They are not up to date on COVID-19 vaccines or live with someone who is not up to date on COVID-19 vaccines.

Riley Woodford is the editor of Alaska Fish and Wildlife News and produces the Sounds Wild radio program. He has delivered presentations at Alaska Bearfest and the American Bald Eagle Festival, watched eagles along the Chilkat River in Haines and crane-watched at Creamer's Field in Fairbanks.

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