World Connections

The Copper River Delta does not exist in a vacuum, however. The migratory birds that use this area come from all over the world. Of the 770 bird species that migrate to the U.S., over 350 winter in Latin America. Twenty percent of these species show declining population trends. The Copper River Delta lies on the Pacific Flyway, which is one of 3 major shorebird migration routes. Fifty-three shorebird species occur in the United States; 29 of which breed only in Alaska. Worldwide shorebird habitat loss is substantial and loss of migration habitats has been extensive. Shorebirds depend on a few key stopover sites, making these species very vulnerable to habitat loss. Nearly a quarter of the species listed in the U.S. and Canada National Shorebird Plans have undergone significant population declines since 1970.

Loss of wetlands also affects waterfowl. The northern regions of North America are particularly important waterfowl breeding areas. In addition to more typical lowland wetlands, we are discovering the importance of boreal forest wetlands. Up to 40% of inventoried waterfowl in North America uses western boreal forests in Canada and Alaska. Intensive development is planned for the vast regions of the western boreal forest, and the effects on waterfowl are unknown.

Pelagic waterbirds provide another link in the Copper River International Migratory Bird Initiative. Terns, gulls, loons, jaegers, and phalaropes all breed on the Copper River Delta. Because of their complex life histories and their offshore wintering habitats, pelagic waterbirds, as a group, are one of the least understood migratory birds.


Key Contacts

Chugach National Forest
161 East 1st Avenue, Door #8
Anchorage, Alaska 99503

Glacier Ranger District
P.O. Box 129
Forest Station Road
Girdwood, AK 99587
(907) 783-3242

Cordova Ranger District
P.O.Box 280,
Cordova, AK 99574
(907) 424-7661

Seward Ranger District
33599 Ranger Station Spur
Mile marker 23.5
Seward, AK 99664
(907) 288-3178

Sanderlings on the Copper River Delta

Sanderlings on the Copper River Delta

Pacific Flyway

Pacific Flyway

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