Highly pathogenic avian influenza & other frequently asked bird health questions

Highly pathogenic avian influenza has been confirmed in both domestic and wild birds in Canada and the United States. The strain now present in North America has caused illness and death in waterfowl, shorebirds, gulls, and birds of prey. Birds that migrate to Alaska to nest and breed could be infected. Learn more including steps hunters can take to reduce infection risk and how to report observations/concerns. See also: Alaska Bird FAQ: if it's sick, abandoned, injured or dead

Alaska's Izembek National Wildlife Refuge lies between the highly productive waters of the Bering Sea and the Gulf of Alaska. The heart of the refuge is Izembek Lagoon, a coastal ecosystem that's home to one of the world's largest eelgrass (Zostera marina) beds. Hundreds of thousands of waterfowl, including virtually the entire population of Pacific black brant, visit the lagoon to feed on eelgrass and rest during migration. From brown bears to Pacific salmon, more than 200 species call this refuge home.

The landscape here is dynamic, with soaring peaks like Pavlof Volcano, the heavily-glaciated Shishaldin Volcano (Unimak Island), Frosty Peak, and the jagged spires of the Aghileen Pinnacles. Topography stretches from sea level to rugged volcanic mountains exceeding 9,000 feet, with coastal marshes and berry-producing, low-growing bush tundra interspersed with numerous lakes, ponds and alder brush-lined stream in between.

Visit Us

A visitor to the Izembek Refuge office takes a photo of the map display.

Travel to the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, near the tip of the Alaska Peninsula, is logistically challenging, but definitely worth the effort! The scenery, wildlife, and wilderness experiences that the refuge offers are truly unique - the experience of a lifetime. Most visitors access the refuge from the local community of Cold Bay, either by commercial flight from Anchorage or arriving by ferry with the Alaska Marine Highway System. Visit the refuge headquarters building to explore a mini visitor center with displays and exhibits, pick up information, and chat with staff.

Location and Contact Information

      Projects and Research

      Molting Steller's eiders to be banded and released.

      Refuge staff monitor several species to fulfill the refuge's mission. Working cooperatively with the State of Alaska staff assist with aerial surveys throughout the year to monitor the health and productivity of the Southern Alaska Peninsula Caribou Herd. Surveys of brown bear, moose, tundra swans, Pacific black brant, Taverner's and cackling Canada geese, emperor geese, other waterfowl, shorebirds and songbirds monitor population numbers and productivity. Since 1961, refuge staff have captured and banded Steller's eiders (a threatened species) during their molting period on Izembek Lagoon. The data generated by these studies provide wildlife managers with critical population and survival rate information.