Birds are sensitive during the nesting season. Vegetation clearing, ground disturbance, heavy wake near shorelines and other site construction and recreational activities can destroy eggs or nestlings or cause nest abandonment. If you encounter an active nest, leave it be and give it space until young hatch and depart the area. Do not destroy eggs, chicks, or adults of wild bird species. Learn about the laws that govern migratory birds in Alaska including possible exceptions for subsistence gathering. More information on avoiding waterbird harassment and timing recommendations for construction activities to minimize impacts to nesting birds.

Alaska is home to more than 470 species of birds. Most are migratory birds for which the Fish and Wildlife Service is responsible under international treaties and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. While some of the birds stay in Alaska year-round, most migrate to Canada, Central America, South America, Asia, or the lower 48 United States. In fact, birds from Alaska pass through virtually every other state (even Hawaii) on the way to and from their nesting and wintering grounds! To help conserve migratory birds for future generations, we work with others to study, manage, and learn more about these amazing globetrotters and avian superheroes.

What We Do

We work to conserve and manage migratory birds by:

  • Monitoring population distribution and abundance
  • Identifying important breeding, brood-rearing, staging, and wintering habitats
  • Banding and marking birds to determine migration patterns, mortality, longevity and habitat use
  • Determining effects of catastrophic events such as the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
  • Working with Alaska Natives and the State of Alaska to co-manage the spring/summer subsistence harvest of migratory birds.
  • Maintaining databases and providing these, as well as other technical assistance, to other agencies, land managers and private organizations.
  • Helping administer conservation grant programs that distribute funds to the State of Alaska and Alaskan tribes from Congressional appropriations or excise taxes on hunting equipment
  • Identifying and protecting important bird habitats through implementation of conservation plans
  • Reviewing and issuing permits for activities involving migratory birds including scientific collecting and other educational uses
  • Educating the public about migratory birds

Our Organization

The Migratory Bird Management program is comprised of several sections that specialize in different groups of birds.

We work closely with partners along different flyways and with our tribal partners to coordinate conservation and management efforts.  We also participate in outreach and education programs and bird festivals to raise awareness about birds and the challenges they face. 

Our Species

If it has feathers and wings, we likely count it, study it, and manage it!

Projects and Research

Our research and projects focus on efforts that will lead to conservation actions for migratory birds for the continuing benefit and enjoyment of the American public.

Our Library

Learn more about what we do through our project, stories, and publications library.

Location and Contact Information