Alaska Department of Fish and Game
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Festivals and Events
Alaska Hummingbird Festival — Ketchikan
Date: Month of April
Sponsoring Organization: U.S. Forest Service
Celebrate the return of migratory birds from Central and South America to the southern panhandle of Alaska. The male Rufous Hummingbirds begin arriving Ketchikan in mid-March and are seen at feeders and flowers throughout Ketchikan by mid-April.
Festival events include guided bird hikes, art shows, and activities for children. For more information, visit the Discovery Center webpage.
Gunsight Mountain Hawkwatch Weekend
Sponsoring Organizations: Anchorage Audubon and MatSu Birders
Where: Mile 118 on the Glenn Highway
Celebrate the return of spring migrating raptors. Golden eagle, red-tailed hawk, rough-legged hawk, sharp-shinned hawk, northern goshawk, American kestrel, peregrine falcon and merlin may be seen along the ridgeline at Mile 119.
For more information, visit the Anchorage Audubon — Field Trips and Events Calendar page.
Whale Fest Kodiak
Whale Fest Kodiak is a community celebration of the return of Eastern Pacific Gray Whales to Alaskan waters. Here on scenic Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska, nearly all of this population pass by on their journey north- and many grays remain around until the time comes to go back down south. For more information, visit the Whale Fest Kodiak website.
The Stikine River Birding Festival — Wrangell
Date: late April
Sponsoring Organizations: US Forest Service and City and Borough of Wrangell
The festival is the perfect opportunity for adventurous birdwatchers to observe millions of shorebirds, which migrate to the delta each spring. The area also attracts thousands of bald eagles, creating the largest springtime concentration in North America. Events are scheduled for all ages and interests.
For more information, contact 800-367-9745 or visit the Stikine River Birding Festival website.
Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival — Cordova
Date: early May
Sponsoring Organization: Cordova Chamber of Commerce
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 here during spring migration. The Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival provides the ideal opportunity for bird watchers to be part of this epic migration. Many activities, workshops and community events are offered throughout the festival, attracting visitors from around the globe. For more information, visit the Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival website.
Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival — Homer
Date: Early May
Sponsoring Organizations: Homer Chamber of Commerce and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Alaska's largest wildlife viewing festival celebrates the spring migration of more than 130 species of birds to the rich feeding grounds of Kachemak Bay. For more information, visit the Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival website.
Upper Tanana Migratory Bird Festival — Tok
Sponsoring Organization: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
This festival, now in its 13th year, has become a welcome tradition in Tok. Sponsored by the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge, the nearly week-long festival includes birding tours, kids' activities, a junior duck stamp art competition, a young naturalist competition, and a live bird presentation. More information to be posted on the Tetlin NWR Facebook page.
Kenai Birding Festival — Kenai
Sponsoring Organizations: USFWS, Kenai Watershed Forum, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Kenai Convention and Visitors Bureau, Keen Eye Birders.
This event for all levels of birders is designed to showcase and celebrate Kenai Peninsula birds. For more information, visit the Kenai Birding Festival website.
Yakutat Tern Festival — Yakutat
Phone: (907) 784-3359
Sponsoring Organizations: Yakutat Chamber of Commerce and U.S. Forest Service
The mission of the 1st Annual Yakutat Tern Festival is to highlight the extraordinary natural and cultural resources of Yakutat by hosting a festival celebrating Aleutian and Arctic terns. One of the largest and southernmost known breeding colonies of Aleutian terns exists in Yakutat – an area that is currently at the forefront of Aleutian tern research. Arctic tern, an aggressive high-profile species in the world of birds, nest in the same areas as Aleutians and are easily seen in key birding locations around Yakutat. Participants of the festival will enjoy birding activities, natural history field trips, art exhibits, educational events for kids and adults, Alaska Native cultural presentations and speakers with professional stature representing a wealth of information about the Yakutat area.
Yakutat Tern Festival Website
Potter Marsh Discovery Day — Anchorage
Discover Potter Marsh and some of Alaska’s wildlife at Anchorage’s most popular wildlife viewing area. This family-friendly event includes nature-related games and prizes, invertebrate sampling, birding activities, and more.
For more information, visit the Potter Marsh Discovery Day page.
BearFest — Wrangell
Celebrate the bears of Alaska with fun family and sports activities, workshops, a research symposium, a photo contest and more. For more information, visit the Wrangell BearFest page.
Autumn Wings Festival – Anchorage
Presentations with captive birds including owls, hawks, and songbirds. Family activities to learn about Alaska birdlife. For more information, contact the Bird Treatment and Learning Center at (907) 562-4852 or visit the Bird Treatment and Learning Center website for more information.
Wings Over the Wrangells — Copper Center
Sponsoring Organization: Wrangell-St.Elias National Park and Preserve
The festival includes a guided bird walk, live bird presentations by The Bird Treatment and Learning Center (Bird TLC), a scientific presentation by a park biologist and other related activities throughout the day.
Information on the festival will be posted on the Wrangell-St.Elias website: www.nps.gov/wrst
Tanana Valley Sandhill Crane Festival — Fairbanks
Date: late August
Sponsoring Organization: Arctic Audubon Society, Friends of Creamer's Field, Alaska Bird Observatory
Each August as thousands of Sandhill Cranes begin their southward passage from Alaska and Siberia the Tanana Valley rings with gathering calls. One of the best places to catch this spectacle is at Creamer's Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge in the heart of Fairbanks, Alaska where daily Sandhill Crane tallies regularly top 1,000. The best time to enjoy fall staging is late August and early September.
The festival includes talks, bird watching, nature walks, workshops and many other related activities with ample opportunities for observing Cranes and other fall migrants. A current year festival schedule is available in July. The schedule includes information on observing Sandhill Cranes throughout the Tanana Valley.
Date: early November
Sponsoring Organization: Sitka Whale Fest
Sitka residents and visiting attendees gather to hear an international lineup of world-renowned biologists and researchers share their current research and exciting experiences over our three day symposium. Participate in discussions with these researchers and attendees about marine mammal research and exploration. Whale watching tours, art and music round out the event.
View the Sitka WhaleFest website.
Alaska Bald Eagle Festival — Haines
Phone: (907) 766-3094
Sponsoring Organization: American Bald Eagle Foundation
Over 3,000 eagles gather along a four-mile stretch of the Chilkat River north of Haines, Alaska each fall to feed on a late run of salmon. This wildlife spectacle is the largest gathering of eagles in the world. The peak of the gathering usually occurs in mid-November. The festival is crammed with a full schedule of events catering to birdwatchers, photographers, and nature lovers.
View the Bald Eagle festival website.