Birds

Bird Festivals in Alaska

These annual and educational events celebrate birds across the state!
Multiple geese on in a wetlands complex
Check out the 2024 dates for Alaska's many annual bird festivals—including the Spring Migration Celebration in Fairbanks. Photo: Melanie Graeff

Ketchikan Hummingbird Festival

When: TBD (April 2024)
Where: Ketchikan
Celebrate the return of migratory birds from Central and South America to Southeast Alaska in this month-long annual festival. The male Rufous Hummingbirds begin arriving in Ketchikan around mid-March and are seen at feeders and flowers throughout the region by mid-April. Ketchikan Hummingbird Festival events include guided bird hikes, art shows, and activities for children. For more information, call the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center (festival headquarters) at 907-228-6220.

Gunsight Mountain HawkWatch and HawkWatch Weekend

When: TBD (April 2024)
Where: Mile 118.8 on Glenn Highway
Celebrate spring’s migrating raptors with this annual event put on by Anchorage Audubon Society, which typically oversees HawkWatch for the season at Gunsight Mountain. Additionally, Anchorage Audubon hosts a Gunsight Mountain HawkWatch Weekend. Migrating raptors that can be seen along the ridgeline include Golden Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks, Rough-legged Hawks, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Northern Goshawk, American Kestrels, Peregrine Falcons, Merlin, and occasionally Swainson's Hawk and Osprey. Bring warm clothing, binoculars, spotting scopes, lunch, snacks, and lawn chairs.
 

Stikine River Birding Festival

When: April 26 to 29, 2024
Where: Wrangell
The Stikine River Delta—located within the Stikine-LeConte Wilderness area of the Tongass National Forest—has the largest springtime concentration in North America of Bald Eagles, followed by Sandhill Cranes, and Snow Geese. Therefore, the Stikine River Birding Festival celebrates spring in Southeast Alaska and is the perfect opportunity for birders to spot millions of shorebirds, which also migrate to the delta each spring. Wrangell's birding festival spans three weeks and includes activities like bird feeder building, art and photo contests, guest speaker lectures, and exploring the surrounding islands and Stikine River flats.

Spring Migration Celebration

When: April 27, 2024
Where: Fairbanks
Celebrate the arrival of spring migrants in late April at the 2,200-acre Creamer’s Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge from noon to 4 p.m. There will be great viewing opportunities for Trumpeter Swans, Canada Geese, White-fronted Geese, and various species of ducks. Spring Migration Celebration activities include birdwatching and wildlife viewing, guided nature walks, falconry demonstrations, and kids' crafts for school-aged children, and Friends of Creamer’s Field works collaboratively with the Alaska Department of Fish & Game and other community partners to offer education programs. Attendees are also encouraged to visit the Farmhouse Visitor Center, the circa-1908 Creamer family farmhouse, which features interpretive exhibits on migratory birds and the historic dairy complex. For more information, call 907-978-8457 or email programs@friendsofcreamersfield.org.

Crowd on beach photographing flock of birds
Attendees of the Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival. Photo: Milo Burcham

Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival

When: May 3 to 5, 2024
Where: Cordova
In early May, the tidal flats of the Copper River Delta shimmer with the activity of hundreds of thousands of shorebirds. As many as 5 million shorebirds rest and feed in the Cordova area during spring migration. Organized by the Cordova Chamber of Commerce, the Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival provides the ideal opportunity for birders to be part of this epic migration. Many activities, workshops, and community events are offered throughout the festival. For more information, call 907-424-7260. 

Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival

When: May 8 to 12, 2024
Where: Homer
The 32nd annual Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival—organized by Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges and held at the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center—offers expert speakers, naturalists, and guides who will share their extensive wealth of birding knowledge. Enjoy field events, workshops, presentations, tours by boat, bus, and kayak, and several birding hotspots in and around the Homer area. When your day of birding and exploring Homer winds down, spend your evening enjoying the great line-up of entertainment for all ages. To find more information, contact the festival by email

Birding in Southeast Alaska.
Birding in Yakutat in Southeast Alaska. Photo: Courtesy of Yakutat Nature Society

Yakutat Tern Festival

When: May 30 to June 2, 2024
Where: Yakutat
The Yakutat Tern Festival is a celebration of the natural and cultural resources of Yakutat in northern Southeast Alaska. Yakutat hosts one of the largest and southernmost known nesting colonies of Aleutian Terns, as well as Arctic Terns, and up to 200 other bird species that nest in or migrate through the area. The festival is family-friendly and offers activities for birders as well as non-birders, including field trips, seminars, kid’s activities, keynote speakers, evening banquets, bird-banding demonstrations, and other programs.

Utqiagvik Shorebird Festival

When: TBD (June 2024)
Where: Utqiagvik
The Utqiagvik Shorebird Festival, part of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s Directorate Fellows Program initiative, is a collaboration between Audubon Alaska, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and other organizations to bring attendees a free, fun, and educational shorebird-centered experience. The festival has taken place in late June at the Utqiagvik Inupiat Heritage Center and offers activities like educational games and activities for kids of all ages, bird tours for birders of all levels, an artist workshop, and speakers from all over the world sharing their knowledge on shorebird and avian science and cultural importance.

Two Sandhill Cranes flying
Tanana Valley Sandhill Crane Festival Photo: Brad Lewis/Audubon Photography Awards

Tanana Valley Sandhill Crane Festival

When: August 23 to 25, 2024
Where: Fairbanks
Celebrate the abundance of fall migration at the Tanana Valley Sandhill Crane Festival. The free events (unless otherwise noted) include nature walks, a kids' crane walk, crafts, a crane calling contest, a drawing cranes workshop, a driving tour of Fairbanks birding hotspots, a live birds of prey program, bird research talks, and of course, crane watching. The festival is sponsored by the Friends of Creamer’s Field in cooperation with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the Alaska Songbird Institute, and the Arctic Audubon Society. For more information, call 907-452-5162, or email Friends of Creamer's Field.

Arctic Refuge Virtual Birding Festival

When: August 28, 29, and 30, 2024
Where: Online
The 2024 Arctic Refuge Virtual Birding Festival will be the sixth annual opportunity to learn about the science, culture, and art of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This incredible place serves a vital role for birds that make their way to all 50 states across the country. We hope you will join us, our partners at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and bird lovers from across the country for this online festival highlighting the wildlife of the Arctic Refuge. The theme, focal bird species, and partner wildlife refuges will soon be announced.

Alaska Bald Eagle Festival

When: TBD (November 2024)
Where: Haines
Celebrate one of the largest gatherings of Bald Eagles in the world at the Alaska Bald Eagle Festival. Daily busses and/or vans transport attendees to the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve to witness the annual Gathering of the Eagles. In the fall, more than 3,000 eagles can be found in the Preserve feeding on a late run of salmon. Other events include photography workshops, wildlife presentations, other tours, classes, and live raptor presentations. The festival also includes evening entertainment to round out. For more information, call 907-766-3094.

How you can help, right now