Alaska Raptor Group

Science Center Objects

Thirty-one raptor species, including 18 species of diurnal raptors (Orders Accipitriformes and Falconiformes) and 13 species of owls (Order Strigiformes), have been documented in Alaska, 23 of which are known to breed within the state.

Return to Terrestrial Ecosystems >> Landbird Research in Alaska >> Boreal Partners in Flight

For conservation purposes, Boreal Partners in Flight categorizes raptors as "landbirds," along with songbirds, woodpeckers, and birds from several other families, because of their strong associations with terrestrial habitats.  Many raptors are migratory or nomadic, spending nearly half their lives outside of Alaska, often in rapidly changing habitats.  Resident species face unique challenges including the cascading effects of a rapidly warming and changing climate. 

While raptors share many traits with other landbirds, their life history characteristics and the different methods used to study raptors set them apart.  Raptors are apex predators in many of the ecological systems in which they occur, often at the top of complex food chains.  However, learning about the status and trends of raptor populations is challenging, often requiring specific methodologies that do not transfer to other landbirds.  Alaska is a land of extremes and its raptors emulate that diversity; therefore, conserving Alaska’s raptor legacy will require a diversity of conservation strategies.

The Alaska Raptor Group was formed as a subcommittee of Boreal Partners in Flight in April 2008 to provide specific guidance on the study, management, and conservation of Alaska raptors and their habitats.

Checklist of Alaska Raptors - from the University of Alaska Fairbanks Museum

Mission statement

To promote the conservation of Alaska raptors and their habitats. Terms of Reference.

Large bird on a fence post

Closer view of Great Gray Owl on a fence post.
(Credit: Brian Uher-Koch, USGS, Alaska Science Center. Public domain.)

Goals

Provide a structured forum by which to facilitate, coordinate, and enhance the exchange of information regarding Alaska raptors.

Promote research, monitoring, management, and conservation relevant to Alaska raptors.

Specific objectives

Identify current and emerging conservation, management, and research issues concerning Alaska raptors throughout their year-round ranges.

Facilitate the development and implementation of Alaska raptor monitoring, research, and conservation programs.

Identify and implement effective methods for communicating the status of Alaska raptors, results of studies, and management and conservation issues.

Participation

Membership in the Alaska Raptor Group is voluntary and open to everyone. The Alaska Raptor Group includes representatives from a wide variety of public and private entities that support the conservation of raptors and their habitats.

New Alaska Raptor Group Mailing List 

Beginning in January 2017, the Alaska Raptor Group steering committee has created an email list that will also serve as our membership list! Emails will be sent from akraptorgroup@gmail.com, and if you would like to be added/removed please contact Chris Barger (chris.barger@alaska.gov) with your current information. Newsletters will focus on updating membership on current raptor news, events and publications.

Alaska Raptor Metadata Database

The Alaska Raptor Group recognizes the rich and long history of raptor research and survey efforts in Alaska, dating back to the middle of the last century. Collectively, these data represent a massive shared investment of time, money, and effort. However, the value of historical and current raptor projects is reduced if others are not aware of this work.

Therefore, the Alaska Raptor Group is asking all of you who conduct raptor research, monitoring, or surveys within the state of Alaska to share your metadata with others by entering the basic who, when, where, what, and why of your projects in the Alaska Raptor Metadata Database. This includes both past and present projects. The metadata contained in the database will then be available for general use to assess what has been done in the past and help guide future priorities and research. The database will also be a useful, straightforward means to summarize all raptor-related field projects that occurred within the state, annually.

NO ACTUAL SURVEY DATA OR RESULTS ARE REQUESTED. The database will only accept information about who conducted the work, where and when it was conducted, etc.

To submit your metadata, please email Chris Barger (chris.barger@alaska.gov) to obtain a user login and password. Then go to the Alaska Raptor Metadata Database site and complete the form.

Steering Committee

The Steering Committee is responsible for:

  • Assisting in organizing and planning Alaska Raptor Group meetings;
  • Soliciting and assembling agenda items from Alaska Raptor Group members to be presented at annual meetings; and,
  • Collectively prioritizing needs and seeking ways of getting work accomplished.

Composition. Six to 10 people serve on the Committee, including a Chair and a Secretary. The Committee strives to maintain a geographic diversity and representation from private, agency, and non-governmental organizations. Committee members serve a two-year term and there is no limit to the number of terms served by individuals. Service on the Committee is voluntary. The Committee seeks volunteers to serve on the Committee at least three months before the end of the term of each Committee member.

an eagle

A Bald Eagle on Juneau Beach in Juneau, Alaska.
​​​​​​​(Credit: Brian Uher-Koch, USGS, Alaska Science Center. Public domain.)

2017 ARG Steering Committee

  • Chair - Currently vacant
  • Chris Barger, Alaska Department of Fish and Game (Secretary) - chris.barger@alaska.gov
  • Travis Booms, Alaska Department of Fish and Game
  • Melissa Burns, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Steve Lewis, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • John Shook, ABR, Inc. - Environmental and Research Services
  • Denny Zwfielhofer, Retired U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Steering Committee Minutes

Meetings

The Alaska Raptor Group will meet at least once annually or as often as necessary to fulfill its objectives. Annual meetings of the Alaska Raptor Group will occur in conjunction with Boreal Partners in Flight meetings and the Alaska Bird Conference.

Minutes from Annual Meetings and Project Updates

Logo for Boreal Partners in Flight

Logo by Bryce Robinson, ornithologi.com