birds

Unalaska Christmas Bird Count Escapes Winter Storm

Dec 31, 2019

A huge and prolonged Northerly storm and wickedly bitter wind chills are gripping the Aleutians now, and we’ve battened down our hatches with care.  Our few seconds of longer daylight are barely meriting detection.   

Good thing we got our Christmas Bird Count pulled off a couple weeks ago, on Sunday, December 15th, 2019.

Hope McKenney/KUCB

A small group of Unalaskans learned to identify bird carcasses last week in an effort to help scientists track increasing mortalities on Alaska's beaches.

The training was held by the University of Washington's Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST), one of the organizations that monitored the state's fifth straight summer of mass die-offs.

Berett Wilber/KUCB

Thousands of dead seabirds washed up on Alaska's shores this summer, marking the state's fifth straight year of mass die-offs.

The carcasses have ranged from short-tailed shearwaters in Unalaska and Bristol Bay to auklets and murres in Nome and Kotzebue.

Suzi Golodoff

 

On December 15th 2018, Unalaska held its annual Christmas Bird Count.  The weather was brisk but decent, 30 degrees, partly cloudy with Northeast winds around 25 knots and 10 inches of fresh snow on the ground.  Seventeen adults and nine kids ventured out in eight field parties, driving, walking and skiing, covering a combined 34 miles of habitat, and tallying every bird within their designated sections.

Unalaska's Christmas Bird Count Is Sunday

Dec 15, 2016
(Josh Keaton/NOAA/NMFS/AKRO/SFD)

This Sunday, December 18, bird watchers in Unalaska will turn out for the National Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count. Twenty-seven birders in Canada and the Lower 48 participated in the first count in 1900. This year marks the 117th Christmas Bird Count.

Melissa Cady is a wildlife biologist with the Alaska Peninsula/Becharof National Wildlife Refuge. She says this count is the longest running citizen science project in the country.