Birds connect Arctic Refuge with the world


world bird migration

Birds seen in summer on Arctic Refuge migrate to all corners of the earth. Here are a few examples:

The 6-inch Northern Wheatear travels approximately 13,000 miles one way from its breeding grounds on the Refuge, across Asia and the Middle East, to its wintering areas in Africa. The bird then travels a similar distance back to Alaska in the Spring.

The Arctic Tern migrates almost the same distance (approximately 25,000 miles round-trip) but it flies in a different direction, traveling south to Antarctica to escape winter in the northern hemisphere.

Tundra Swans that nest on the Refuge fly more than 4,000 miles east in the Fall, crossing North America to winter on the Chesapeake Bay.

The Bar-tailed Godwit may have the longest non-stop flight of any bird. These shorebirds fly 7,200 miles across the open waters of the Pacific Ocean in a single, non-stop flight between Alaska and New Zealand during their Fall migration. On their return flight in the Spring, Bar-tailed Godwits rest for a month in Japan before returning to Alaska.

The following birds are highlighted on the map above:

1) Northern Wheatear to Africa
2) Bluethroat to southern Asia
3) Eastern Yellow Wagtail to Indonesia
4) Dunlin to Japan
5) Wandering Tattler to Polynesia
6) Bar-tailed Godwit to New Zealand
7) Arctic Tern to Antarctica
8) Sandhill Crane to western United States
9) Brant to western Mexico
10) Smith's Longspur to central United States
11) American Golden Plover to southern South America
12) Tundra Swan to Chesapeake Bay in eastern North America
13) Semipalmated Sandpiper to northeastern South America


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