Birds

Audubon Alaska's 2020 Bird of the Year

Results soon!

Voting has closed. We are tallying the results and will annouce the winner soon. Thanks to everyone who voted!  

Photo: Milo Burcham

CRESTED AUKLET:  I am a bit of an odd bird, if I do say so myself. I smell of tangerines, my bill fluoresces, and I practice some unusual mating rituals. But, don’t we all have our little quirks? I am used to living in huge, crowded, and noisy colonies, which teaches you a thing or two about tolerance. True, I spend a lot of time out at sea, but when I am nestled in on a seaside cliff, I reflect on how important it is to be accepting of others’ life choices and idiosyncrasies. Seabirds, shorebirds, and humans all behave very differently, yet despite our differences we do have things in common. One is that we depend on healthy coasts, especially here in Alaska. With more coastline than the rest of the U.S. combined, the climate impacts of erosion from storm surge due to disappearing sea ice is being felt by all who live here. These important habitats are our homes; it’s where we hunt, fish, forage, play, and raise our young. As Bird of the Year, I will fight for our precious coastlines for every bird, fish, and mammal! And, I’ll do it all while smelling quite lovely!     

Photo: Milo Burcham

RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD: Hello! I’ll be right back…Hello Again! I am in a bit of a rush, but I have time to tell you a few important things about me before I go. You may think it strange for me, a Rufous Hummingbird to be a candidate for the Alaska Bird of the Year. You may not think there are hummingbirds in Alaska. Well, you would be wrong! Rufous Hummingbirds nest farther north than any other hummingbird, all the way up to southcentral Alaska, in fact. And, I’ve got a really good reason to run for Bird of the Year. Do you know why? Wait a minute… be right back…. OK, I’ll tell you. I’m concerned about climate change—that’s why! Climate change is the number one risk to birds in North America. As temperatures change, so do the habitats we rely on. We need your help to slow things down, so we have time to adapt. As Bird of the Year, I will fight for immediate action on climate change and encourage each of you to take action at home. Do you doubt the impact a bird my size can make? I may be small, but trust me my friend, I am MIGHTY! 

Photo: John Schoen

GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW: I am a musician, more than a politician. My songs are popular and known by many people. Perhaps you’ve heard them? I like to keep them pretty simple, usually just three descending notes. Some of my greatest hits are “No gold here” and “I’m so weary,” which were especially popular during the Alaska Gold Rush. I even hear people whistling my tunes while they’re out hiking. I just love you humans! In fact, I am running for Alaska’s Bird of the Year because I feel a really strong connection to the communities here. Throughout the state, I see the challenges and hardships people face and sometimes even experience them myself. Impacts from climate change, including increased temperature, longer wildfire seasons, and eroding coastlines are being compounded by deforestation, oil development, and resource extraction. Not only do Alaska birds and other animals need help, so do the people and their local economies. That’s why these days I sing “Oh dear me!” As Bird of the Year, I’ll keep singing that song until the people, communities, and habitats of Alaska are safe from harm. I hope one day to write a new song called “All’s well here.” Until that day comes, let’s raise up our voices! Sing with me now, “Oh dear me, oh dear me, oh dear me!”

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