2017 Great American Arctic Birding Challenge!

Many birds that visit states across the country fly north in the spring to their breeding grounds in the Arctic. How many can you find in your state?
Stilt Sandpiper Photo: Dave Shaw

The 2017 Great American Arctic Birding Challenge is complete. Please stay posted in the spring for information about the 2018 Challenge!

During the spring, many birds travel from all over the United States and from all six continents in order to reach the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other ecologically rich areas of the American Arctic. Birds rely on these pristine habitats for nesting, breeding, staging, and molting. 

Birdwatchers across the United States can celebrate the importance of the Arctic by participating in our 2017 Great American Arctic Birding Challenge this spring! Recruit some fellow birders, grab a pair of binoculars, and find as many Arctic birds as you can in your state. The contest runs from March 15th through June 1st so that birders all over the country can spot birds as they migrate.

Great American Arctic Birding Challenge Checklist

Share this flyer with your Audubon chapter or birding club!


  1. Recruit your team (up to six people). Find a warbler expert, your friend with the top-of-the-line scope, or someone with supersonic hearing to identify those sparrow calls…or head out with your regular birding buddies.
  2. Download the Great American Arctic Birding Challenge checklist. Click here to download. 
  3. Record your birds. If at least 2 team members (on teams of 2 or more) identify a bird by sight or sound, mark it on your checklist.
  4. Submit your checklist. Submit your completed checklist by email by midnight (Alaska time!) on June 1 or have it postmarked by June 1. (Submission details below.) 

Try to beat the Challenge high count: 153 species in Alaska or 162 species in the Lower 48! 


There are two categories: Alaska and Lower 48. All sightings must be within the geographic boundaries of the categories. For the Lower 48, states must be contiguous. There will be First, Second, and Third place prizes for each category. Each member of the First, Second, and Third place teams will receive a prize. 

First Place: Alaska Author Bob Armstrong's Guide to the Birds of Alaska, with a foreward by Audubon Alaska's Executive Director Nils Warnock.

Second Place: Audubon Alaska Bird of the Year ball cap featuring Boreal Chickadees, Snowy Owls, and more!

Third Place: Audubon plush bird with authentic bird sounds.

‚ÄčArctic Refuge Bonus Prize: Since Audubon is celebrating the amazing Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, any teams that find 10 or more species that migrate to the Arctic Refuge (marked on checklist) will receive Audubon Alaska Bird of the Year stickers!

Please submit your entry form and final checklist via mail or email:
Mailing address
Audubon Alaska
C/O Elisabeth Gustafson
431 West Seventh Avenue, Suite 101
Anchorage, AK 99501


For more information or if you have questions, email Elisabeth Gustafson at

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Photo: Dave Shaw

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