Alaska Region Birding Festivals

Michael Quinton photographs the Shorebird migration on the Copper River Delta.

Michael Quinton photographs the Shorebird migration on the Copper River Delta.
Photo by Ron Niebrugge


Springtime in Alaska marks the annual migration of millions of birds that make their journey along the Pacific Flyway from southern wintering grounds in the United States and Mexico, and as far away as Central and South America. The excellent breeding habitats of the Chugach National Forest and Tongass National Forest serve as staging sites for this annual ritual. For residents and visitors in the communities of Cordova in Southcentral Alaska, and Yakutat, Wrangell and Ketchikan in Southeast Alaska, this annual event is a cause for celebration.



Alaska Hummingbird Festival

Ketchikan, Alaska - April 2020

Kick- off event: Friday, April 3, 2020 - 5:00pm to 7:00pm

Tongass National Forest


Hummingbird and Fireweed. 
A hummingbird enjoying the Fireweed.

Photo by of Bob Armstrong

A month-long celebration of the hummingbirds returning to Alaska! 


Ketchikan, Alaska is home to the Alaska Hummingbird Festival, a month-long event each April that welcomes back the Rufous hummingbirds from the southern United States and Mexico. Participants can observe the hummingbirds up close at special feeders that have been set up at the festival. The USFS Southeast Alaska Discovery Center is the location, and hosts guided bird hikes, film presentations, arts and crafts workshops, and activities for kids. 


The center serves as the backdrop for a juried art show hosted by the Forest Service and the Ketchikan Visitors’ Bureau. Alaskan artists of all ages submit entries that celebrate the return of migratory birds to Alaska.


Leslie Swada is the Center Director, 907-228-6290,


Maintaining and Improving Habitat for Hummingbirds in Alaska (PDF)



Stikine River Birding Festival

Wrangell, Alaska - April 29-May 3, 2020

Tongass National Forest

Stikine River Birding Festival


Shorebirds in Wrangell.Shorebirds on the Stikine River Delta

The community of Wrangell, Alaska is the gateway to the Stikine River Delta. The Stikine River and its tributaries are located within the Stikine-LeConte Wilderness Area of the Tongass National Forest. Each April, thousands of bald eagles and hundreds of thousands of gulls congregate to feed on little oily fish known as hooligan. Adventurous birdwatchers can also observe millions of shorebirds which migrate to the delta each spring.


The Tongass National Forest and U.S. Forest Service International Programs in partnership with the City and Borough of Wrangell, the Wrangell Convention and Visitors Bureau, the James and Elsie Nolan Center, and local sponsors, host the annual Stikine River Birding Festival.


The Nolan Center, Wrangell
Contact 800-367-9745,
The USFS contact is Corree Delabrue, 907-874-7550,


Birding Ethics





The 30th Annual Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival

Cordova, Alaska - May 7-10, 2020

Chugach National Forest


Shorebirds in Cordova.Shorebirds at Hartney Bay in Cordova. 
Photo by Haisman Photography

The Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival is the largest coastal wetland along the Pacific Coast, encompassing 700,000 acres of coastal wetlands. These wetlands support a variety of fish and wildlife species and is a major staging area for shorebirds, waterfowl and other migratory bird species. As many as  5 million shorebirds, primarily western sandpipers and dunlin, visit the Copper River Delta. These birds are coming from as far south as Peru, South America. Because of its importance as a stopover site, the Copper River Delta has been designated as a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network Site. This designation ensures that key habitats such as the Copper River Delta will be protected to sustain healthy populations of shorebirds.


To celebrate the amazing migratory feat of these birds the Cordova Ranger District, Cordova Chamber of Commerce, Prince William Sound Science Center, the Net Loft traditional handcrafts, and other local businesses have partnered up to host the Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival. This festival is located in Cordova, Alaska and provides festival goers with guided viewing excursion, expert speakers, classes, workshops, kids activities, handicrafts, and social events.


Erin Cooper, 907-424-4757,


Copper River Shorebird Facebook Page


Western Hemisphere Shorebird Network Reserve


CRIMBI Facebook Page


CRIMBI (Copper River International Migratory Bird Initiative)


News Release (PDF)



Yakutat Tern Festival

Yakutat, Alaska - May 28 - May 31, 2020

Tongass National Forest


Tern in Yakutat.
Aleutian Tern nesting.
Photo by Mike Denega

The Yakutat Ranger District and the Chamber of Commerce host the annual Yakutat Tern Festival. The first festival was held in 2011 with great success. The coastal town of Yakutat enjoys a rich diversity of habitats that provide birders with the opportunity to see more than 200 species of birds, 100 of which nest there. Located nearby is one of the largest and southernmost known breeding colonies of Aleutian Terns.


Aleutian Terns are rare and have a limited range in Alaska, eastern Siberia and Russia. Forest Service biologists and others have tagged them with geolocators to study migration patterns and population trends. 


The tern festival offers outstanding field trips, Native cultural events, wildlife photography workshops, boating trips, bird banding demonstrations, seminars and speakers, and numerous activities for kids relating to birds and cultural resources.


Bird Checklist (Offsite PDF)


Birding Info


Birding on the Yakutat Ranger District


Yakutat Area Birding Guide (pdf)


Yakutat Tern Festival




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