Landbird Research in Alaska

Science Center Objects

On this page, learn about USGS work on Beak Deformities and Boreal Partners in Flight.

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Biologist looking through binoculars on the tundra of the Seward Peninsula, Alaska

USGS biologist Skyler Vold conducts a bird survey on Alaska’s Seward Peninsula.
​​​​​​​(Credit: Lance McNew, USGS. Public domain.)

Alaska Landbird Monitoring Survey (ALMS)

Alaska provides breeding habitat for >140 regularly occurring species of landbirds, half of which breed predominantly north of the U.S.–Canada border. The road-based North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) provides some data on population trends in Alaska, but most northern species are inadequately monitored by that continental program because of a paucity of roads. Boreal Partners in Flight developed the Alaska Landbird Monitoring Survey (ALMS) to monitor breeding populations of landbirds in the vast off-road areas of Alaska and to complement data collected from the roadside BBS.

Beak Deformities in Landbirds

The Alaska Science Center began research on a cluster of beak deformities in landbirds in Alaska in 1999. We have since identified more than 3,000 Black-capped Chickadees affected by this disease, known as avian keratin disorder, which represents the highest concentration of such abnormalities ever recorded in a wild bird population!  More recently, increasing numbers of other species, including nuthatches, woodpeckers, crows, and jays have also been reported with beak deformities by biologists and local residents.

Boreal Partners in Flight

Alaska Landbird Resource Information System, the official web site for Boreal Partners in Flight!  Here is the place to learn more about the Boreal Partners in Flight program and our efforts to understand and conserve northern populations of landbirds.