Alaska’s Songbirds

Wandering Warblers

Tiny Migrant Songbirds with Arctic Aspirations

A close up of a Townsend’s warbler showing a splash of yellow color on its chest
A close up of a Townsend’s warbler showing a splash of yellow color on its chest
Townsend’s Warbler (Setophaga townsendi) is arguably the most striking warbler species that breeds in Alaska. 📷 Intermountain Bird Observatory/Zak Pohlen
a boreal forest cut by the porcupine river in Arctic Refuge
a boreal forest cut by the porcupine river in Arctic Refuge
Several species of warbler breed in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in the summer, all using the treed or shrubby habitats found in the southern portion as well as the Brooks Range and its foothills. Here, Arctic Refuge’s Porcupine River cuts through the surrounding boreal forest creating picturesque cliffs and canyons. 📷 USFWS/Callie Gesmundo
cranes migrate above with moon as backdrop
cranes migrate above with moon as backdrop
In the 17tth century an English educator named Charles Morton wrote the first extensive work on bird migration, in which he wrongly suggested birds migrate to the moon. 📷 Michele Lamberti via Flickr

Blackpoll Warblers

a blackpoll warbler singing on a branch
a blackpoll warbler singing on a branch
Blackpoll Warbler (Setophaga striata). 📷 USFWS/Zak Pohlen
map of north and south america showing relative abundance of blackpoll warblers in a moving, colored gif
map of north and south america showing relative abundance of blackpoll warblers in a moving, colored gif
This map shows animated weekly abundances of Blackpoll Warblers throughout the calendar year. The data used to create this animation was collected by citizen scientists who submitted sightings of Blackpoll Warblers to eBird.
close up of a geolocator on a warbler’s back
close up of a geolocator on a warbler’s back
Scientists use geolocators to collect light level data (i.e. daylight) to estimate an individual’s location. In order to collect the location data, the geolocator must be retrieved from the tagged individual, downloaded, and analyzed. 📷 USFWS/Zak Pohlen
close up of the bare spot on a warbler’s chest where scientists check the condition of their fat and muscle.
close up of the bare spot on a warbler’s chest where scientists check the condition of their fat and muscle.
Birds do not grow feathers on every part of their body, but rather in uniformed sections called feather tracts or pterylae. Scientists check a bird’s condition by lightly blowing along the featherless spaces (called apteria) to check the amount of muscle and fat present. 📷 Intermountain Bird Observatory/Callie Gesmundo

Wilson’s Warbler

Yellow wilson’s warbler perched in a spruce in Alaska
Wilson’s Warbler (Cardellina pusilla). 📷 USFWS/Zak Pohlen
map of North America showing relative abundance of Wilson’s warblers annually in a moving, colored gif
This map depicts the range of Wilson’s Warblers in the Americas throughout the calendar year, with red depicting their breeding range, yellow their migratory range, and blue their winter range. The data used to create this map was collected by citizen scientists who submitted sightings of Wilson’s Warblers to eBird.
yellow wilson’s warbler with a black cap singing in the bushes
male wilson’s warbler with a bright black cap and yellow body
Male Wilson’s Warbler in Anchorage, Alaska 📷 USFWS/Laura McDuffie
close-up of a wilson’s warbler that’s yellow with a black cap
Portrait of Wilson’s Warbler. 📷 Michigan State Bird Observatory/Zak Pohlen
weekly relative abundance of wilson’s warblers moving across the US. Map showing migratory movement in gif format
weekly relative abundance of wilson’s warblers moving across the US. Map showing migratory movement in gif format
This map shows animated weekly abundances of Wilson’s Warblers throughout the calendar year. Citizen scientists helped collect the data used to create this animation by submitting sightings of Wilson’s Warblers to eBird.

Arctic Warblers

brown arctic warbler in a spruce tree in alaska
brown arctic warbler in a spruce tree in alaska
Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis. 📷 USFWS/Zak Pohlen
map of alaska showing weekly relative abundance of arctic warblers in moving gif format
map of alaska showing weekly relative abundance of arctic warblers in moving gif format
This map shows animated weekly abundances of Arctic Warblers throughout the calendar year. The data used to create this animation was collected by citizen scientists who submitted sightings of Arctic Warblers to eBird.

Birds Connect Us

“There is symbolic as well as actual beauty in the migration of the birds, the ebb and flow of the tides, the folded bud ready for the spring.”

Stories from Alaska by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service