About Boreal Partners in Flight

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Boreal Partners in Flight is a coalition of individuals who are working together to help conserve bird populations throughout boreal regions of North America. Boreal Partners in Flight is the official Alaska state working group of the international Partners in Flight program. We also have many members from Canada because we share many of the same species, habitats, and problems. The international program was started in 1990 because of concerns about continental declines in populations of many landbird species. Initially the program focused on species that breed in North America and winter in the Neotropics (Central and South America) but it now addresses all North American landbirds and other species that use terrestrial habitats, such as shorebirds, owls and grouse.


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A female McKay's Bunting songbird standing on the ground

Female McKay's Bunting on St. Matthew Island.

(Credit: Rachel Richardson, USGS, Alaska Science Center. Public domain.)

Partners in Flight

Who are we?

Boreal Partners in Flight has over 100 members, including representatives from all the major federal land and resource managers in Alaska and Canada, state and provincial agencies, universities, Alaska Native corporations, and local environmental consulting firms. Nongovernmental organizations such as the Alaska Songbird Institute, Alaska Natural Heritage Program, and local chapters of the National Audubon Society play key roles. The foundation of the program, however, relies on the commitment of individuals. Boreal Partners in Flight includes biologists, land managers, teachers, and birders--a diverse, active, and dedicated group.

What are our objectives?

When Boreal Partners in Flight was first formed in November 1991, we were concerned with the downward trend in populations in other parts of the continent, and realized that we knew little about the landbirds that breed in boreal regions. We decided to combine our efforts to determine the status of northern bird populations. Our main objectives are to:

  • establish statewide bird inventory and monitoring programs,
  • conduct research on factors affecting the status of northern populations,
  • provide information about birds to land managers in Alaska,
  • educate the public about the conservation of birds and their habitats, and
  • share information about our birds with people who live where our birds migrate and winter.

How are we organized?

A sparrow in a bush

American Tree Sparrow in low to medium shrub thicket habitat.  This photo was taken on the Seward Peninsula.
(Credit: Rachel M.Richardson, USGS, Alaska Science Center. Public domain.)

Boreal Partners in Flight meets as a statewide group once a year, usually in early December. At our annual meeting we discuss what progress we've made during the past year and decide what new projects to work on during the upcoming year. We elect a Chair who serves for two years to lead the efforts of the group and represent us at regional and national meetings. Within the state we are organized into five Bird Conservation Regions (BCR): Aleutian and Bering Sea Islands (BCR 1), Western Alaska (BCR 2), Arctic Plains and Mountains (BCR 3), Northwestern Interior Forest (BCR 4), and Northern Pacific Rainforest (BCR 5). Each biogeographic region has a Chair who leads the efforts within that part of the state during the year. We also have Committee Chairs to coordinate different statewide programs for monitoring, research, and education.

Membership is completely voluntary, and there is no funding directly associated with Boreal Partners in Flight. Members simply combine their efforts and resources to accomplish common goals that lead to conservation of northern bird populations.

Boreal Partners in Flight Terms of Reference - November 2013

How can you become a member?

There are many ways in which you can help our efforts. Search our web site to learn about bird projects in your area. Many of these projects could use volunteers, and you can contact the project leaders directly. There are also a lot of educational materials available. If you wish to become a member of Boreal Partners in Flight, we will place you on our mailing list to receive more information and to be notified about upcoming meetings and events. Please send your name, affiliation, address, phone number, and e-mail address to:

Colleen Handel
Alaska Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
Anchorage, AK 99508


Logo for Boreal Partners in Flight

Logo by Bryce Robinson, ornithologi.com