Species at Alaganik Slough

young male moose on the Copper River Delta-S.Frost

Alaganik Slough provides a wonderful opportunity for visitors to observe the wetland wildlife that is typical of the Copper River Delta. While observant visitors may spot glimpses of such large mammals as moose, brown bears or grey wolves, the bird life of the delta is the real attraction to this site. The following lists provide information on the mammals, birds and fish of Alaganik Slough.


Mammals can best be viewed in the early morning or late evening at Alaganik Slough. These twilight hours provide the greatest chance of catching a glimpse of these wetland animals. Remember, all wildlife is WILD! Never approach wild animals and use "bear sense" when travelling on the Copper River Delta.

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The bird life on the Copper River Delta is spectacular. Listed as one of the nation's best birdwatching sites, the delta is alive with a myriad of waterfowl and shorebirds. Over 235 species of birds have been recorded on the delta. Spring migration (mid-April to mid-May) is the best time to view a diversity of bird life on the delta. However, birdwatchers will see numerous breeding waterfowl throughout the summer. Access a thorough list of delta birds or download a .pdf file of a bird checklist.

The delta provides a unique opportunity to see several different Alaska birds that are found in large numbers or are found nowhere else.

Dusky Canada Goose (Branta canadensis occidentalis)

The "dusky" is a medium-sized, dark subspecies of the common Canada goose. Duskys breed only on the Copper River Delta and spend their winters in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. In the last 20 years, dusky populations have dropped from an all-time high of approximately 30,000 birds to approximately 10,000 today. Biologists have been studying dusky populations to develop management tools that can halt their further population decline.

dusky Canada goose -S.Frost

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Trumpeter Swan (Olor buccinator)

Over 7% of the world's population of trumpeter swans nest on the Copper River Delta. Throughout the summer, families of swans can be easily viewed from the Copper River Highway. At up to 40 pounds and with a 6-8 foot wingspan, trumpeters are one of the largest birds in the world. Once listed as a threatened species, trumpeter swans are recovering well. Approximately 7,000 - 8,000 trumpeter swans (80% of the world's population) nest in Alaska.

Trumpeter swans can be viewed throughout the year on the Copper River Delta. During fall and winter, a population of 100-150 hardy swans overwinter on Eyak Lake, just east of Cordova. Visit the "trumpeter swan page" to see more photos of swans and learn more about these majestic birds.

Adult trumpeter swan -S. Frost
Adult bald eagle

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

Our nation's symbol, the bald eagle is common on the Copper River Delta. In fact, there are more bald eagles in Alaska than in all the other states combined! With their white head and 6.5 - 8 foot wingspan, bald eagles are unmistakeable. This majestic bird can be seen throughout the year along riverways and in forests on the delta. Large concentrations of eagles can be viewed in early spring during the yearly hooligan (eulachon) run. Also several pairs often nest along the Copper River Highway providing a rare wildlife watching treat.

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Alaganik Slough is a highway for salmon. During the right time of the year, large runs of Pacific salmon can be viewed (and caught!) in Alaganik Slough. Look for the following fish at these times: